About Boats Whose Names Start With The Letter
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Submitted by Site Visitor
Dirk van Oudenol

After WWII, the Delta King was put in the San Francisco boneyard, with absolutely no preserving work being done.

In 1952 & 53 an aluminum smelter was being developed in the wilderness country at Kitimat, B.C..

Kitimat Constructors, the developers of the site, desperately needed accomodation for a huge number of men. Two large bunkhouses were built, but more bunks were needed in a hurry.

The Delta King was secured against the elements, and towed to Victoria, B.C., where two more steam turbine driven DC generators were installed and hooked up, but not tested, to run if needed, with the three original steam turbine DC generators. Some early work was started on turning the ship into a self contained construction bunkhouse.

It was then towed to Kitimat, B.C., where a rock breakwater was built around it to secure it in a floating pond. Water was hooked up, the boilers were fired up on diesel fuel (thus bypassing the need to operate on bunker oil and the fuel heaters).

I was one of the engineers on the ship. When work on accomodations was complete, there was room for 400 men. The steam plant ran continuously. We ran one generator in the daytime, two at night.

It wasn't long before water was running out of the leaking boiler tubes (under steam pressure) faster than the wheezing boiler feed water pump could pump it in. I personally assisted a skilled boilermaker retube both boilers, after which we could really put out the steam.

The extra DC generators? Were we ever glad of someone's foresight. The AC deisel generating plant on shore consisted of three units. One was down for repairs and the other two burned out, as they couldn't handle the load.

The Superintendent and the Chief Electrician came on board and asked me if we could do anything to help. Being young and adventurous, I thought why not, and reminded them it would be lights only, as it was DC power.

By the time we forced the firing up of the second boiler and had all five DC generators turning over, the electricians had a temporary line hooked up between the switchboard on the Delta King and the header line on shore.

Then came the 'moment of truth' as I wound the turbines up to speed and started closing the breakers. Everything worked perfectly! The Delta King generated all the power in Kitimat for three days.

I was there for 8 1/2 months, and never heard what happened to the ship after that.

I hope this will add constructively to the history of the Delta King.
Dirk van Oudenol


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