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Yesterday evening there were a series of presentations and stands about various aspects of Ventura in the atrium. I visited and had chats with a couple of the engineering officers.

First, some background. Ventura has six engines – two big one ones, and four huge ones. All of these are connected to generators (described as alternators) and it’s the power generated by these that is used for pretty much everything, including propelling the ship. What I learned was that Ventura has to use no less than three different fuel types for the engines, depending on her location. At sea she uses heavy fuel oil, but in northern European waters a special version of this has to be used – a low sulphur version. I gather that this is more expensive than the normal version so it’s only used when required – whenever possible Ventura burns normal fuel oil. When in port, however, neither type of heavy fuel oil can be used to power the engine (or two) that Ventura keeps running to provide power for non-propulsion uses. In port, she has to use normal diesel fuel because this is less polluting than either type of heavy fuel oil. The point of all this is that the same engines have to be able to burn all three fuel types.

Then I learned something about the fresh water supply. I knew that Ventura has a desalination plant, referred to as an evaporator. What I didn’t know was this can only be used at sea. This is because it uses the hot water/steam from the main engine cooling systems to heat the sea water in the evaporators. When the main engines aren’t being run then the evaporators are out of use. When we were in Venice we were facing 36 hours in port, which for the relevant technical officer meant 36 hours with no fresh water being created, so he arranged for 200 tons of fresh water to be brought on board from a bunker vessel. This topped up the water tanks to 2,700 tons (of a maximum of 3,000 tons) at the start of the Venice stay. During the three-day passage back across the Mediterranean all the engines were running and the evaporators were in full use to the point that fresh water was being discharged back into to the sea because the tanks were already full.

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