When a tightly scheduled repower for the Kodiak-based trawler Sea Mac
in early December took a very bad turn, Mike Fourtner used his 25 years of fishing experience and leadership to pull together a team at Cummins Northwest to solve the problem. For the past year, Mike Fortner
has been Marine Regional Sales rep for Cummins Northwest. “The new engine had crossed oceans from the factory by ship to Columbus, South Carolina. It was hauled thousands of miles across North America by truck,” he said, “then, within sight of the shipyard at Everett, Washington, the driver took a wrong turn and tried to back up. The trailer with the engine went over a bank and flipped.”
When the tow truck arrived, the flat bed was on top of the brand new Cummins KTA38-M engine. It was not looking like a good day. In anticipation of the new engine, the crew at Hansen’s Boat Co. had removed the old engine through a hole cut in the side of the hull. The owners of the 91-foot trawler were under pressure to be back in Kodiak and ready to go for a mid January season opening. “I called Sam Mutch, one of the owners,” Mike, who crewed on the Bering Sea crabber Time Bandit and skippered the boat for tendering herring and salmon, explained, “And told him, ‘Sam, I can empathizes with you exactly, and I know how sickening this is. We are going to do everything in our power to get an engine for you.’”
The truck and trailer had rolled at about 5 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. By the time that the Cummins crews got to Everett that morning the engine had been moved to a storage yard. The first chore was to arrange with the insurance company to move it to the Cummins Up-fit center in Renton Washington. A day of phone calls and e-mail first got the engine moved to Renton for a full assessment. Once there, Up-fit Manager Nick Sewell and his crew took over. The trailer had rolled at slow speed onto a soft grassy embankment. Fortunately the team found that all damage was confined to exterior fittings. Late Thursday afternoon they got the go ahead from the insurance company. “Friday we went online and through the Cummins global network we were able to source the required parts including new turbos to be on the safe side,” explained Nick Sewell, “The parts came by overnight delivery from various distributors and warehouses worldwide, some from as far away as Belgium.”
In the meantime, Cummins Northwest had brought in a similar engine that would have required extensive engine bed modification, from their Portland, Oregon warehouse for backup. They had also checked the tolerances on both ends of the crankshaft of the engine that was involved in the accident and found them to be at factory specs. All the required parts had arrived at the Renton up-fit center by Saturday morning. It was a very long day for the team but by Sunday there was only a couple of hours of touch up to be done in anticipation of the move to an independent dyno test cell for testing on Monday.
It is at the dyno test cell that Mike, Nick and the Cummins Northwest crew would find out if their busy weekend had been successful. After several hours of testing, including two hours at the full 1,800 RPM and 1,000 HP rating, the engine was declared perfect and a full dyno-report was issued for the owners. Taking no chances, Mike Fourtner and Nick Sewell rented a flat bed truck and personally delivered the engine to the shipyard. Co-owner Matt Hegge, was at the yard overseeing some other work on the Sea Mac. “It was a huge process and the people at Cummins did a very good job of making it all happen,” a relieved Hegge said.
Gary Hansen, has seen a lot of challenges in his years building and repairing boats at the highly-rated family-owned shipyard. He had got the Sea Mac all prepped for the engine delivery on the previous Wednesday. Now, after only five days in the Cummins Northwest shop, he had it in the yard and the job was back on schedule. “They did a stellar job of making a bad situation better,” he said, adding, “This speaks very well for Cummins.”