A day in the life of…Olly Blay, ABP Maintenance Fitter in Southampton

Other Businesses

ABP Property

Our property division brings together an unrivalled land bank spanning 21 multi-modal locations around the country, with 960 hectares of port-based development land.


Drawing on 60 years of experience, ABP Marine Environmental Research (ABPmer) provides specialist marine environmental research and consultancy services.

UK Dredging

UK Dredging (UKD) operates the largest British-owned dredging fleet and specialises in the provision of reliable and cost effective port maintenance dredging services.

My name is Olly and I successfully completed my Engineering Apprenticeship in 2019, after which I secured a full-time role as a Maintenance Fitter in Southampton. Work within the maintenance is varied, but to give you an example of the daily tasks I am usually involved in, I will focus on the procedure when checking for faults with cranes.

First – I need to make sure I am wearing full 5-point personal protective equipment (PPE) which is an ABP requirement to ensure the safety of all employees working in operational areas. I ask myself - have we got safety boots, high-vis gear, a hard hat, gloves and glasses? If the answer is yes, it’s okay to proceed with the task. It’s important to note that I need to have read all ‘Risk Assessments’ and ‘Safe Systems of Work’ information for maintenance on cranes prior to undertaking any actions on the crane.

Some cranes, such as our Gottwald cranes, have automatic grease pumps fitted around the crane to keep the components lubricated whilst in use. This is a vital part of prolonging the life of parts such as slewing rings and bearings along with parts of the jib like the jib heel pins.

Using the diagram shown in the picture below, we can locate different parts of the pump that the grease must go through. The control piston is what controls the amount of grease pumped out with every spurt of the pump.

By loosening off the counter-nut, we can open the window for more grease to be allowed out. If the counter-nut is too tight, the grease won’t be able to be released through the pump and therefore the fault will be displayed as “lube distribution failure”.

This is a relatively simple fix for a fault that can be quite tricky to locate.

I enjoy my role, as no two days are the same. I would certainly recommend the apprenticeship route to anyone looking for a career in Engineering. Olly Blay ABP Maintenance Fitter in Southampton