28 January 2019
Ship Engineer, Don Mare at the Engine room of the Pacific Lady.

Recalling a risky sea ordeal

In Gizo

Don Mare, a Ship Engineer from Shortland Islands started in the Profession as a Teenager in 1981. 

He served in about twenty Vessels to date.

His big challenge was when he worked with a Fast Craft called the Sea Hawk, returning from Nusa Tupe Island in Gizo Western Province to Honiara.

Weather Office had already issued warning of rough seas with Waves that would had reached Four Meters high. 

However, the Vessel took off despite of the warning. 

He said, when the Vessel reached a spot between Gatokae and Mary Island, the Engine came to a halt.

Mare who is now 54, said he only had five minutes to solve the problem, as the there’s possibility of being over turned by the bumpy waves if the ship is floated longer than that.

High Seas caused the Engines system to have air in it that stops the system from functioning.

He pointed out that, for a Small vessel to stop in a rough Sea in bad weather is a hard situation for engineers.

“That was when I saw that it only depends on me.

“Our filter has air in it, the filter is to clean the fuel, and the air caused the system to stop.

“I did the job within three minutes, I bleed the system and replace it with new fuel with the help of my assistant, restarted the Engine and then we sailed for Russel,” he recalled.

When they reached Russel Islands, they took shelter and waited for the next day before continuing on for Honiara.

Mare reported he had experienced three Ship wrecks during his career to date, one of which was at Vella la Vella when he was stationed in a fishing Vessel. 

He recalled during that situation all seamen in the Vessel found safety on the top roof of the Ship, before rescuers reached them.

The experienced ship engineer spends more years with National Fisheries Development (NFD) Vessels. 

He said, when he was with NFD he acquired more practical skills in the profession as the company provided trainings for Seamen.

Mare is now the Chief Engineer for MV Pacific Lady. 

The Small Vessel is owned by GF Company and is serving the People of Choiseul Province and the Shortland Islands.

He told the Sunday Star, that the best thing about the Vessel is that the Engine is a Mercedes OM 355 240 HP Engine, and Joining the Lady is his first time to lay hands on a Mercedes Marine Diesel Engine.  

He said, most of the Vessel in the Country were powered by Caterpillar Engines.

Mare said, dirty tanks are also main cause of blockage in the system, and so what’s important is to do regular checks on the main filter, as well as regular replacement of the strainer.