The Sinking Ship & Three Nautical Engineers

Three nautical engineers were passengers on a cargo ship. They were in a good place for lots of nautical engineering discussion, going over many parts of the ship to point out its good and bad aspects.


The ship hits a reef, which create a gash in the steel below waterline. The engineers go below deck to see the water pouring in.


The first engineer sees how fast the water is rising. He goes topside with his trusty laptop and nautical engineering software. He pounds the keyboard hard and comes to a stunning conclusion: “The ship will sink in 8.5 hours”. To prove his point, he is quite adamant about his position: “There is nothing that can be done except prepare for emergency evacuation.” He admonishes any attempts to remedy the situation.


The second and third engineer help the crew secure bulkheads to help contain the leak to the broken section of the ship. They route emergency power to bilge pumps of that section. They put out the rescue calls. Their hands-on observation and technical expertise  engineering perspectives are very useful to the authorities to devise the best rescue plan.


“It’s no use,” cries the first engineer. “The ship is going down regardless of what you are doing.” He is already on the helipad with his suitcase packed.


After a couple of hours of smart and hard work, the two engineers and crew get the ship stabilized. It is still not able to operate on its own. But it is towable and should remain floating for a few days. The two engineers start discussing what happens when the ship reaches drydock.


“We’ll just put a new steel plate over the hole,” says the second engineer. “And we’ll throw in a few extra ribs in that section to give it extra strength. This ship has another 15 years of sailing in her.”


“Are you crazy?” retorts the third engineer. “Didn’t you see the nature of that gash? We have altered the stresses and strains of this ship so much that we no longer have the same ship! We need to learn from this accident to design and build a better ship.”


You are one of three nautical engineers on a sinking ship. But which one?




Dr. Rupert Green Added Dec 7, 2017 - 11:23pm
Perhaps off base, a professor once spoke to the need to overcome paralysis from analysis. or it was how to become self reliant. He said that in today's society we are so caught up with the division of labor that we engage in paralysis from analysis. He stated as a solution, if you have to plant a tree, dig the hole yourself, piss in the hole, and stuff the tree in. On certain jobs, I see, for example, if water spills on the floor and there is a nearby mop, you dare not mop up the spill if it is a multi-union job and you are not in the mopping union.
But I always cherished the professor's saying and passed it on to my students year after year. One day a student said to me, the poison in the urine will kill the tree. I stopped using the analogy.
As to your question I like the two that stuffed the hole.
Tubularsock Added Dec 8, 2017 - 3:08am
The difference between the first engineer and Tubularsock is that Tubularsock would had already left from the helipad and would be sitting in the nearest Tiki Bar radioing back helpful theories.
By the third Tiki drink Tubularsock would have forgotten which ship he had been on but would remember many a good seafaring story.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:10am
@Dave. Your article also speaks to self fulfilling prophesies. The first engineer was a good person in that regard. He could have killed the other two engineers or thwart their effort to make his point a reality.
Dave Volek Added Dec 8, 2017 - 12:14pm
Dr. Green
Having experience in handling cow manure, a little bit is helpful for the soil. But too much turns the soil turns bad. One pee in the hole will probably make a happy tree seedling.
The self-fulfilling prophecy was indeed a layer incorporated into the story. Good thing this engineer was not too fanatical in his approach.
Dave Volek Added Dec 8, 2017 - 12:17pm
Your inner nature is now clear for all to see. No hidden agenda whatsoever.
Dave Volek Added Dec 8, 2017 - 12:42pm
I have a business proposal for you. Can you use your power and influence to get me a job in the white house, polishing door knobs or tuning pianos or whatever. I will take notes of what I see and hear. When I get fired in six months (the average stay), I will hand the notebook to you and you can use your unique writing style to turn it into a best seller.
A best seller it will be. I can see many liberals and progressives gladly pouring over the salacious details from an insider. This beats reading about a system of governance that would never create this kind of drama in the first place.
We are going to be rich!
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 8, 2017 - 1:14pm
having dealt with engineers of various stripes over the years I can say that I would never board a sea-going craft with any nautical engineers present :)
Dave Volek Added Dec 8, 2017 - 2:38pm
There is some truth to that. Engineers often lack practical experience. But a few have that touch. 
I am currently watching a show about Canadian tow truck drivers moving accident wrecks off highways. Lots of forces for engineers to analyze, but the blue-collar guys have a lot of experience to work without any calculations. An engineer on location would probably screw things up.
Tubularsock Added Dec 8, 2017 - 3:43pm
Dave, Tubularsock, as Secretary of the Deplorables, does have the ability to find employment opportunities for you in the White House.
Truman’s daughter and later Nixon kept the ivories “tickled” while in the White House but Dump and the gang just can’t carry a tune worth shit. So the piano tuning is not an option at this time.
And presently the CIA takes care of all the door knob polishing so that is not available either in this current administration.
However Dave, “whatever” is available. Can you start Monday?
Tubularsock is counting the money already!
mark henry smith Added Dec 8, 2017 - 4:07pm
Ah, Mr. Volek, or zen master,
You have created a zen puzzle of which the accurate name escapes me at the moment. It is the sound of one hand clapping. It is the age old question of pragmatism in the immediate moment, as to pragmatism in an approach to the future. But in your presentation, the first engineer is the only one who is wrong and can't be proven right, so I would rather be the other two if just to prove a point. And where was the bet? This is America. The second engineer should have said to the first engineer, betcha a thousand I can make this baby float through the night until help arrives and get her back into port. That's right, I forgot, you're Canadian.   
Leroy Added Dec 8, 2017 - 4:13pm
The three engineers would be arguing as the ship went down.
The Burghal Hidage Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:16pm
bingo Leroy!
Leroy Added Dec 8, 2017 - 5:53pm
And I am an engineer!  LOL.
Dr. Rupert Green Added Dec 8, 2017 - 11:08pm
@Mark "And where was the bet? This is America. The second engineer should have said to the first engineer, betcha a thousand I can make this baby float through the night until help arrives and get her back into port. That's right, I forgot, you're Canadian.   "
A certain bet was made and as a result Americans in the land of the free and the home of the Braves (interesting spin, this is the land of the native Americans) have to strip naked to get on an airplane. Very soon, they must have a passport even to drive to another state.
United Nation: "Iraq has no weapon of mass destruction." President Bush: "I bet yah they do." Colonoscopy Powell: Massa, "Here is the proof." The rest is misery.
mark henry smith Added Dec 11, 2017 - 12:45pm
Dr. give me the news, I got a bad case of the blues.
That's all we have now, a giant crap table. Sorry, craps. Sorry chaps. No red, no black, the ball always falls on green.
And my dad went to MIT, second in his class, engineering then architecture, and he never argued. Clients used to wonder what meds he was on, but he was just raised Methodist. He was the worst handyman ever. Never bought good tools, never bought the right materials, would cobble things together out of scraps and use rocks for hammers.  Strange that his training at MIT couldn't undo his upbringing in a lumberyard, or my mother's carping.
That man could take a scream and raise you a vacuum of silence. More stoic than Chairman Mao. Did any of you ever hear Mao speak? Wasn't he trained as an engineer too?
Sorry, I digress. Involved in social engineering experiments today.   

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