While powering the electrical appliances in a ship and propelling it forward is certainly possible with the aid of one diesel generator of the appropriate kilowatts, it will be foolhardy to not share the load between 2 or more generators. Just last week, on the 30th of July to be more precise, Aviation Week reported the breakdown of a ship service diesel generator (SSDG) in the ‘USS Freedom’.
The problems identified were primarily with the coolant. The cooler had somehow been damaged, and so was the piping affixed for the coolant flow inappropriate. The fixes for the same were not in place and the crew had to call upon the services of the vendor. Thankfully, the ship housed three more generators.
Now, if the ship had just one, or considering the ship’s size, two generators, this apparently small dilemma would have balled up into a major crisis. Regardless of the political problems of the country adversely affecting the combat ship, generators are manufactured by humans. And like humans, there are bound to be faults with the generator as well. Not deliberate mistakes, but faults that showcase the human limitations.
We, as customers, need to overcome these maladies in order to ensure a desirable output. If the entire load of powering a ship is put on a single generator, the chances of the device breaking down are higher. Distribution of the load between 2 generators will result in a smooth sail. And in cases of an inadvertent disruption, it is better to be equipped with three diesel generators.
While the present situation of the ‘USS Freedom’ may be unknown, the navy officers state that the two fixes, and some more, will be incorporated in the follow ships of that variant.