Tuesday, 27th November 2018

Totalling about 50 tonnes, the new arrival of three high tech diesel engines at South Shields Marine School are to be worth their weight in gold to trainee mariners.

They will allow the hundreds of cadets who study at the world-leading maritime centre every year to experience refreshed levels of training versatility.

In an operation lasting four hours, the final engine – an MB430, estimated at an impressive 16 tonnes – was winched into place from its low-loader transporter.

Moved by road, it joined two others that arrived on site in July – a nine cylinder Mirrlees Blackstone ESL Mk2, and the larger, 430mm bore, MB430.

All were donated by MAN PrimeServ Academy, an engineering training centre in Stockport, Cheshire.

The MB430 was broken down into its main body, pistons, liners, con-rods, flywheel and platform to ensure its safe removal from its academy housing.

The engines are commonly used on modern Merchant Navy vessels and will allow marine school experts to further enhance their already exceptional cadet training offer.

Kevin Lund, Head of School - Marine Engineering, said: “I was a cadet here at South Shields in 1975.

“At that time, we famously housed the only fully functional, large bore, marine diesel engine at any college in the world. This was an invaluable tool for training engineer cadets at the time.

“This engine was donated to the Anson Engine Museum in 2006 to make room for more modern equipment.

“When I was contacted by the head of MAN training academy regarding these engines, I jumped at the opportunity for these to find a new home in South Shields.

“These engines are widely used on merchant ships and will be invaluable for future Engineer Cadet training here at South Shields.”

Despite taking less than four hours to be transported at 50mph from Stockport, the delivery was over a year in the planning.

Started in October 2017, it involved close coordination between Bill Craik, senior technician at South Shields Marine School, and Flavio Nicotra, Head of Operations at MAN PrimeServ.

The engines represent a significant boost in training delivery for the marine school, which has the largest workshop capacity for training marine engineer and electro-technical officers in the country.

Existing equipment includes operational boilers, two fully functional High Voltage Marine switchboards, a modern fully automatic pollution prevention system and state of the art integrated bridge electronic equipment as well as the UK’s largest marine simulation suite.

Marie Flatman, Head of School and in charge of workshops, said: “We pride ourselves on the quality of our workshop training here at South Shields Marine School. We have the most varied equipment, mechanical and electrical, and are continuing to ensure that our workshops are world class.

“The addition of these engines will further enhance our training, allowing cadets to learn and practise their skills on actual engines that they will meet in their future careers at sea, ensuring that South Shields Marine School continues to develop the best cadets in the world for our merchant fleet.”

Marine school staff travelled to Stockport to dismantle the MB430 for its move to South Shields.

As part of the partnership with MAN PrimeServ Academy, some of its learners will come to the marine school to train on the engines.