USNS Lawrence H. Gianella maintenance takes teamwork

USNS Lawrence H. Gianella (T-AOT 1125) is currently completing maintenance and repairs at Signal Ship Repair in Mobile, Alabama. The overhaul is being managed by three family members – Todd Jacobsen, Port Engineer OSI; his father Robert Jacobsen, Port Engineer OSI; and his brother Terry Jacobsen, Gianella’s chief engineer. The following blog interviews Todd about the overhaul and his family’s tradition of service in the maritime industry.

Jacobsens at Signal

Have you always had an interest in the maritime industry? What is one professional belief that guides you?

Yes, my father had started working at Lockheed Shipbuilding and Drydock in Seattle, Washington, when I was about four years old. He had exposed me to the industry very early on and I was quite certain at an early age this would be my profession.

One professional belief that guides me is “To do what is best for the ship,” as doing what is best for the ship is what is best for the mariners who depend on her at sea, and best for the owner/operators who expect her to be mission ready at all times.

What are your duties and responsibilities during the USNS Gianella overhaul?

I am the Port Engineer and Project Manager for USNS Gianella, responsible to create the work item package and ensure the items are completed as per the specifications. [These include]:

       1. Track costs and change orders
       2. Evaluate condition found reports for corrective action
       3. Liaison with ABS and USCG for class compliance
       4. Provide and supervise Service engineers for critical systems overhauls
               a. Main Engine; b. Main Generator; c. Stern Tube Seal; d. Turbo Charger; e. Framo Cargo Pumps
       5. Assemble the drydock management team to insure all repairs are inspected and accepted.

How do you interact professionally with your father and brother on the job?

For this project I am working with Robert “Jake” Jacobsen (OSI Port Engineer), my dad, and Terry Jacobsen (Gianella Chief Engineer), my brother. Collectively we have over 100 years in the maritime industry and for those 100-plus years, we have all worked for the same company – Ocean Shipholdings Inc. Our personalities differ, however we all have one common belief, “To do what is best for the ship.” This belief acts as a compass and keeps our course true regardless of any personal conflicts.

How do you resolve professional challenges as a team when thing gets tough? Please give an example.

We handle professional challenges as a team with communication, dedication and perseverance. Our family trust is strong; we respect one another’s capabilities and are confident each will act for the sake of the team.

We had a small challenge the other day when a telescopic tube for the Main Engine got bent so severely it could not be removed from the engine, and the service engineer needed immediate action to resolve the problem.

I arranged for additional industrial assistance to remove the entire water box from the main engine and transport to the shipyards’ machine shop so the bent pipe could be drilled out on the horizontal milling machine. Terry cut a piece of an old telescopic pipe and supplied this along with detailed drawings so the machinist could set up the milling machine to cut just the bent pipe and not damage the water box.

Jake contacted our OSI Property Manager to arrange for spare pipes from our shore-based spares in Houston to be transported to the shipyard for immediate use.

All went well and the main engine is back together and ready for sea.

What lessons have you learned about working together in the same organization?

I have learned that successfully working for the same organization greatly depends on the organization itself. We have been very fortunate to have an organization  that has allowed each of us to act on the company’s behalf to do what is best for the ship.

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