Börje Jansson, repairman, has found a method of easily and safely draining condensation water from helicopter fuel tanks. “The other repairmen who do this job think it’s great,” he says.
Now and then, the Swedish Maritime Administration icebreaker Atle has a helicopter landing on it. It could be a visitor, a delivery of spare parts or one of the Maritime Administration’s rescue helicopters. To refuel such aircraft there are two fuel tanks located on the weather deck.
Condensation gathers inside the tanks and to prevent contamination tanks must be drained every week – a procedure which until last year was both tedious and sometimes downright dangerous. Ball valves with pipe stubs were fitted on the top of the tanks and motormen had to get up there to drain off unwanted water.
“In the best case they used a stepladder, but sometimes they took a shortcut and climbed up onto the railings to get access,” says Börje.
Börje wondered if there wasn’t a better and safer solution, and after some consideration he came up with what he could do. The knobs on the ball valves were moved, then he made extension tubes that were put on the valves. These days all drainage takes place from the deck, without needing a stepladder or any climbing. Börje also arranged for a pipe to be installed to the bunker station where spilled fuel is dealt with.
”Now we can do this without taking any unnecessary risks, at the same time as eliminating any spills and messes,” he says. “I am a bit of an inventor and I think it’s fun to fix things that benefit others.”
Börje, who will be 64 in December, thinks that he has the best job of his whole working life on Atle. And yet he was in his upper 40’s before he went to sea for the first time. After a few years as a repairman on a housing platform in the North Sea, he started with Gorton Line. That was before he worked with several other shipping companies and finally came to Atle. He intends to stay here until his pension.
“Many of my friends who work ashore are not happy with their jobs and every Monday is a headache. But I really enjoy my job.
I like being the wise old man for the young ones and helping them with my experience. Plus the work is varied and my workmates are good. That sort of thing means a lot.”
Börje says that he has always been something of a problem solver and now he has also started to submit his inventions to the reward department of the Mercantile Marine Foundation. On 11 May this year he went to Gothenburg and received SEK 10,000 for his tank draining system.
“I would have made these things even without the reward, but it is very nice to be appreciated for what you do,” he says.
The ice-breaking season is over for this time and the last blocks of ice in the Gulf of Bothnia are melting away. On board the Atle, service and maintenance is starting for the next winter.
“Right now we are overhauling the main machines. We have five with a total power of 25,000 horsepower so there is quite a lot to do. But she is beautiful, despite the fact that she’s over 40 years’ old.”
Family: Widower, children moved out
Lives: House in Arvika, Värmland, the same town where he was born and grew up.
Currently: Recipient of Mercantile Marine Foundation reward
Background: Worked in a foundry when his children were young. Moved on to a shipyard that built ships for the Swedish Sea Rescue Association, amongst other clients. Housing platform in the North Sea, Gorton Lines, B&N, then Wallenius and another ten years in the off-shore business before he came to Atle in 2011.
Work environment tip: Be sure to use tools for heavy lifting. You’ll spare your body and do the work more safely.