The Engine Room

The EMPRESS OF ASIA was steam powered.  The steam was produced in 10 cylindrical Scotch boilers.  Each boiler was filled with water that was heated by furnaces that passed fire through tubes that ran through the boiler.  When the hot gases had been expended the exhaust was vented through the shipís three stacks.

Six of the boilers were double ended and four were single ended.  Each end contained three furnaces, giving the ship a total of sixty-four furnaces.

The EMPRESS OF ASIA was coal fired.  Trimmers delivered coal through chutes and wheelbarrows to firemen who cared for the furnaces.  It was the firemenís responsibility to maintain the fires in the furnaces.  A slice bar was used to turn the coal to ensure a thorough burn.  Ash needed to be removed from the fires regularly. The boilers produced a pressure of 190 psi.

The boilers were capable of consuming 300 tons of coal a day. A typical round trip to the Orient would take approximately 6 weeks and would consume over 10,000 tons of coal.

The engines consisted of four Parsons turbines; a type designed by the British engineer Charles Parsons. The turbines were connected to the boilers and the steam passed first through the high-pressure turbine, then the intermediate pressure turbine and finally into the two low pressure turbines.  Each turbine was directly coupled to a 9-foot propeller that turned at the same speed as the turbine.  The EMPRESS OF ASIA engines were rated at 18,500 horsepower.

Additional turbines were fitted to the low-pressure shafts to provide astern propulsion.

 When the used steam exited the last turbines it passed into the condenser where it was returned to water by contacting cooling pipes circulating cold seawater.  The newly formed water from the condenser was returned to the boiler and the warmed seawater was discharged over the shipís side.  This discharge is often visible on photographs of the EMPRESS OF ASIA when the ship is underway.

The engine is maintained by a group of engineers and greasers who repaired and maintained the engines.

The engine room was labour intensive and required a large crew.  Typically the engine room would consist of over 150 men.  When the EMPRESS OF ASIA sailed from Vancouver on Feb 13,1941 bound for Liverpool, the Engine Department totaled 152 individuals.

 

Rating

Number

Electricians

3

Engineers

18

Firemen

70

Trimmers

42

Greasers

15

Stewards

2

Storekeeper

1

Donkeyman

1

 

ENGINE STATISTICS 

Boilers

Scotch

Number of Boilers

6 double ended and 4 single ended

Number of Furnaces

64

Steam Pressure

190 psi

Number of Engines

4 Parsons Turbines

Number of Propellers

4

Horsepower

18,500

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