CLASS RECORD: Captain Conrad’s dilemma PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 May 2014 11:14

BY Christine Y. Guinacaran


The ship captain was at his wits end!  He was given a notice by the port control in a Guatemala wharf to move out from the berth because another ship would  be docking in their quayside.

But what was he to do when the four cranes of his ship would not operate due to some problems in the governor of the generator engine?

Nothing that his brilliant ship engineers fixed, could synchronize the two giant generator engines which could make the cranes grab the sacks of corn, from the cargo holds, to the waiting trucks.

They would have been done loading in five-hours,and leave port, if only the cranes were just working.

For three days already, they have been troubleshooting the problem but of no avail. They have ordered very expensive spare parts from the company, but still nothing happened and Captain Conrad was desperate.

And if they still  go on anchorage before finishing their loading,the owner of the ship  would spend a very big amount for wharf rent, and it would be a very great loss for the company.

So the frantic captain summoned all his engine men, from the chief engineer down to the least cadet for a meeting.

“We are faced with a dilemma,” he cried.  “I do not not care about your rank.  What I need is a solution!” he exclaimed, banging his hands several times on the table.

So with a paper and a pen on his hand he demanded each trembling crew his suggestion.  The chief engineer repeated his obsolete solution, and the rest  mumbled their ideas. The poor captain was exasperated as he wrote down their useless suggestions, for almost all of it have been experimented on, already.

Too disheartened now, he did not even bother to write the idea of the cadet for after all he was just an apprentice. He looked at him barely listening. “The fuel line might be clogged. If we clean it, the fuel can flow out smoothly,” was his simple suggestion.

When they opened the fuel line it was indeed dirty and in less than thirty minutes of cleaning, the engines gave a mighty roar as the two powerful generators synchronized! In five hours the loading was completed,and the ship of Captain Conrad,smoothly sailed out of harbor, resembling a swan, graceful and white on a beautiful night.

This is a very true story, related to me by the captain himself. What would have happened if the cadet did not put in his two pence worth of thought for fear of being ridiculed, or if the captain no longer bothered to listen to the suggestion of the least man in the group? All all them in that ship would have lost their jobs!

Captain Conrad recommended for the on-board promotion of that cadet, and several years later, he learned that, that cadet became a chief engineer at twenty-seven years old.