Imagine you’re steaming across the Pacific Ocean on a container ship on a great circle course to the San Francisco sea buoy. The sea is confused and you’ve been running the ship’s slow speed diesel engine hard to meet your ETA. The vibration reverberating through the hull gently trembling you to sleep when, without warning, the sound stops. Minutes later, the Chief Engineer calls to inform you that the PLS Dosage Pump supply valve has failed and your ship is now dead in the water, a seriously overpriced pontoon, until you can get the part to fix it. As Captain, you don’t know what a PLS pump is but, from the grumpy tone of the chief’s voice, you are sure he doesn’t have a spare or any way of making the complicated part in the ship’s machine shop. Your shipment will be delayed, money and resources will be lost and the office will be calling soon on the satellite phone asking for answers.
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