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Meet the team: Sinclair Ross

17/10/2014

Our Chief Engineer tells us what it’s like to work on Britain’s biggest ship

The Union Jack on Britannia's hull is the largest in the world. Watching it being painted on was incredible - says Sinclair

What does your job involve?

As Chief Engineer, I deal with the operations of the ship. It's my responsibility to look after the engine room and make sure we have enough fuel. I inspect every new piece of equipment to make sure it works and has passed the relevant safety tests. I also keep an inventory of everything on the ship, from air-conditioning units and engines for lifeboats to wastepaper bins and luggage trolleys.

 

Tell us a little about your background.

I started my cruise ship career in July 1989. I worked on Canberra before moving to the Royal Princess and then on to Oriana, Aurora and Arcadia. My last ship was Adonia, P&O Cruises smallest ship, and now I’m working on Britannia, the largest!

 

What has been the best part of your job?

So far, I’ve loved being based in Italy. It was a massive change at first, but it's pushed me to pursue new interests.

 

Tell us about Britannia’s progress.

The engine rooms are finished, and last month we turned her engines on for the first time while she was in the water. We’ve integrated the electrical and air-conditioning units and the dividing walls are up. All internal spaces have been marked out, too.

 

What's been your favourite part of Britannia's production?

Watching the livery being painted on was incredible. The 94m Union Jack on Britannia's hull is the world's largest, and the funnels have also been painted blue. The painters had to use extended rollers and work from a cherry picker to get close enough to the bow. They did a great job, but it apparently took 580 litres of paint to complete it all.

 

What's been the biggest challenge?

The sheer size of the project is enormous, so keeping track of everything can be quite challenging. To give you an idea of size, Britannia has two engine rooms. This is unusual, but it means that if there's a problem with one we can guarantee she'll return safely to port. It also means that the toilets, lighting and air-conditioning won't fail.

 

Was it daunting working on such a large ship?

No, it was exciting. It's been fascinating to see how Britannia has changed and developed. For example, originally she was only meant to have three pools on the top deck, but P&O Cruises decided to add another!

 

What will you do when Britannia is finished?

I'll carry on working on the ship, making sure that everything is running as it should. It'll be very exciting when we sail her back to Southampton in March. I can't wait to see her set sail on the high seas for the first time.

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