All Hands On Deck: Milton CAT Keeps the American Independence Cruising

In the world of luxury cruise vessels, reliability and timely maintenance are crucial to ensure passengers have an uninterrupted and enjoyable experience. When American Cruise Lines' American Independence, powered by two CAT C32 marine engines and three C.9 generator sets, required an emergency engine overhaul before embarking on an eight-day voyage along Maine's scenic coastline, Milton CAT was called to the rescue.

Two days before the ship’s departure, engineers onboard noticed excessive "blow-by" or pressure in the starboard side engine, requiring Milton CAT's intervention. The Scarborough, ME, team was called in and quickly dispatched a field service technician to diagnose the issue. They discovered that one of the engine’s 12 cylinders had failed, necessitating a full rebuild of the engine—before the next voyage was scheduled to depart.

“It was all hands on deck,” Scarborough Service Manager Darren Carr explained. “Employees from across the territory joined forces and gave up their weekend time to get the American Independence back up and running. It was incredible to see the teamwork involved.”

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Three Day Engine Rebuild

Typically, engine rebuilds take four to five weeks, but the cruise line’s tight turnaround schedule meant that the Milton CAT team had to complete the rebuild in a matter of days. To accomplish this task, five Milton CAT service technicians worked inside the ship's small engine room, where they had to completely disassemble, service, and rebuild the engine.

One of the biggest challenges was sourcing the hundreds of parts needed for the job. While every Milton CAT location has a large parts inventory, parts that are not used often are not stored on-site, so more frequently used parts can be stocked. Nonetheless, the Scarborough team worked closely with other Milton CAT parts departments and private couriers to deliver all necessary components from different locations and the Caterpillar Parts Depot in York, PA, to the technicians on the ship. “We wouldn’t have been able to pull off the rebuild if we didn’t have access to Milton CAT’s outstanding parts network,” Darren Carr explained.

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Smooth Sailing Ahead

The rebuild process was arduous, with the team working long hours in challenging conditions to ensure the engine was up and running within three days. However, thanks to Milton CAT's experienced and knowledgeable service technicians, the rebuild was completed in just 210 hours and the American Independence was able to set sail on Sunday night.

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“Milton CAT’s responsiveness was critical in this situation,” American Cruise Lines Director of Engineering Robert Brinck explained. “I am very grateful for the prompt and efficient service that I received from Milton CAT. The team went above and beyond to help get our cruise ship up and running.”

We’d like to extend a special thank you to the Milton CAT Scarborough team for working hard to quickly complete the engine rebuild. We’d also like to thank the team at American Cruise Lines for trusting us to get the job done.