From John Ingram
I remember Fred Stein with his head in his hands every time BURKE needed to take on fuel. It was so bad that step number one on his refueling checklist was to draft the oil spill message report.
The as-built compensated fuel system had several flaws which almost guaranteed that fuel would be spilled or that filling the tank groups to desired high percentage levels would be difficult if not impossible to achieve, especially when taking on fuel at sea. There was almost zero system back pressure at the fueling deck connections, and the intent was to attempt to control flow from the oiler by observing pressure there at the connection. With a back pressure of less than 5 psi, and the specification by NAVSEA of a 0 to 200 PSI pressure gage at the connection, you could not be blamed for thinking the engineers and designers must have had a few screws loose!
Also, the flow into the tanks of each group was at such high velocities that the oil churned up the water in the tank, causing an oil and water mixture to be pushed out of the tank discharge and eventually overboard long before 90 percent fuel levels were reached for the groups.
All this was fixed by changes that installed orifices at the refueling connections to create a measurable back pressure, and installation of eight-inch copper nickel diffuser piping that ran the length of the tanks at the inlet and discharge (top and bottom) which reduced the flow velocities and cut down the oil/water mixing. This was A LOT of industrial work in completed tankage, with not a whole lot of room to maneuver!
People who can’t integrate the complexities of ship design and shipbuilding with the operational concepts of the ship systems might miss something as simple as this being such challenge on a lead ship.
I was an MPA in my earlier in my Navy career too, and I remember thinking I was glad I wasn’t Fred when it was time to gas up!