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Author Topic: Nautical "Strange but True!"  (Read 137936 times)

Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #375 on: July 14, 2009, 06:02:27 PM »

To me, one of the major delights of Sydney is the wonderful variety of sea-food. Our berth this time was somewhere beyond the bridge in a disused area of the docks. I guess no-one wanted a large tanker upstaging the little frigates! But again this was good news. We could actually walk ashore instead of having to wait for a boat. A local "Veterans Club" took a lot of the lads under their collective wing and really put themselves out to make the visit a great one. The idea of a "Veterans Club" is probably an American idea....and is certainly one of the better US imports into Aussie. It would be interesting to read of any experiences "foriegn" sailors may (or not) have when visiting the UK. I imagine our closest is the "British Legion". I'm always intrigued by a pretty large "clubhouse" on a main road into North Shields that has a big sign stating that they are " The British Limbless Ex-Servicemans Club". Perhaps it goes back to WW1, but from my observations of the place the word "Limbless" should be replaced with "Legless" (in a different connotation). But again, I digress.
Sydney. I like the "Rocks" and Manly is a town I could happily live in. But I shall plead the 5th Ammendment about what else went on in Sydney. Suffice to say a "good time" was had by all.
But we had to go on. Again we were lucky. The Rodneys had opted to go to Melbourne, but ages earlier I had stuck a spoke in the works and said we should go to Adelaide. On the (not unreasonable) grounds that The Aussie GP was on during that time period (a trick the Rodneys missed) and I'd like to see Mansell get his World Championship. I'd no idea that Adelaide and the surrounding area is so flat. It all looks a bit boring on the approach....line upon line of little bungalows hugging the beach (which, I'm sorry to say, isn't up to much)
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #376 on: July 14, 2009, 06:05:41 PM »

I'm sorry I had to stop there. Since I downloaded IE8 the bloody system won't let me write beyond the limits of "the box". So I'm going to do a System Restore and see what happens.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #377 on: July 14, 2009, 07:22:01 PM »

Bryan,

Yes, the problem is with IE8.  See: http://www.modelboatmayhem.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=18607.0;topicseen

The alternative would be to type it in your word processor in rich text format and then just paste it into the Mayhem box.

Colin
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #378 on: July 14, 2009, 08:01:12 PM »

Bryan,

Yes, the problem is with IE8.  See: http://www.modelboatmayhem.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=18607.0;topicseen

The alternative would be to type it in your word processor in rich text format and then just paste it into the Mayhem box.

Colin
Hmmm....Tried that bit about pasting awhile ago and all I got was a message saying I was forbidden access to the secret files of MB Mayhem. Remember that?
Thanks for taking the time to try and help though.BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #379 on: July 15, 2009, 08:11:57 PM »

Right. Lets try again.
The Aussie Navy arranged for 4 of us GP fans to have pretty good seats, and so armed with 4 bottles of good local "red" and an RFA ensign off we went. The seats were right on the corner where the Shoemaker shunted off Damon Hill a few years later. But we all know what happened and poor Mansell had to wait a bit longer to get his Championship.
These were the days when a certain amount of socialising actually took place between the drivers after the race. Adelaide had laid on a really stunning street party for all. A good night. But my abiding memory is standing somewhere quite salubrious getting rid of a gallon or 3 of XXXX or whatever when I realised I was surrounded by a bunch of dwarfs. But then I recognized the nose of Prost and realised I was having a widdle in the presence of the gods. As I said. A night to remember.
Next stop Freemantle.
Honestly. If you ever get the urge to go from the East of Australia to the West, fly, walk, hitch-hike or ride a bike. Never ever go by sea. The bottom end of Aussie has probably the most unremittingly awful bit of water I have ever traversed. The wind and water (waves) just keep on going around the world without a decent lump of land to stop it. Perhaps there used to be, but the wind and water probably got rid of it.
It really is odd how the world is arranged. The Med. is at 35*N and the Great Australian Bight is at 35*S. The similarities don't just end there. Both stretches of water cover as near as dammit 40* of longitude. I know which one I'd prefer to cross!
Eventually, after being pummelled by the head seas for 10 days into a state of weary acceptance of whatever fate had in store for us, we turned right to head up to Perth / Freemantle. "O" class tankers rolled a lot. But not usually this much. No wonder the Aussies are so good at surfing. If anything this was worse than the jarring and shuddering of the ship hitting the head seas. Seas? More like the hills of the Lake Disrtct had decided to go for a walk-about.
Battered,bruised and a bit bent we arrived at Freemantle....and the "social" life began almost immediately. Breath came back eventually and Freemantle was enjoyable (again). The crew paid visits to Perth, but the general consensus was that Freemantle was better for a visit. It helped that Freemantle was still basking in the glory of the Aussies winning the yacht race! But homeward bound next....with a few excursions. BY.
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Colin H

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #380 on: July 22, 2009, 04:27:55 PM »

Bryan,

I have just spent a few days re-reading this thread and would just like to say a big thankyou for all your time and effort. A really enjoyable and informative read.

Colin H.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #381 on: July 22, 2009, 05:09:35 PM »

Bryan,

I have just spent a few days re-reading this thread and would just like to say a big thankyou for all your time and effort. A really enjoyable and informative read.

Colin H.
Well, thank you kind sir! Yet to come is my very brief time on "Armilla", anothe trip that included Aussie, more trips (winter, of course) up the fjords, an interesting refit, a trip to the USA and my time in Croatia!. Keep reading ....as and when I get around to it. Cheers. BY.
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MikeK

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #382 on: July 22, 2009, 05:43:37 PM »

Well, thank you kind sir! Yet to come is my very brief time on "Armilla", anothe trip that included Aussie, more trips (winter, of course) up the fjords, an interesting refit, a trip to the USA and my time in Croatia!. Keep reading ....as and when I get around to it. Cheers. BY.

Did a couple of trips into Beira (for copper if I remember rightly) and did a book and film swap via her boat with the duty RFA ship wandering up and down outside. Can't remember her name now though (That was the Armilla Patrol, yes ?. Or was that the Gulf War ?)

Mike
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #383 on: July 22, 2009, 07:53:40 PM »

Did a couple of trips into Beira (for copper if I remember rightly) and did a book and film swap via her boat with the duty RFA ship wandering up and down outside. Can't remember her name now though (That was the Armilla Patrol, yes ?. Or was that the Gulf War ?)

Mike
Sorry Mike. The "Armilla" thingy was in the Gulf around the time the Iranians were using "Boghammers" (missile armed speedboats) to hit unprotected tankers. That was in the 1980s. The "Beira Patrol"  was in the 1970s. ...."Tidereach", remember?  That was the time "Bencruachan" lost (nearly) her foredeck.  You'll have to do some more crosswords or something to get the old brain back into kilter! Cheers. Bryan.
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MikeK

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #384 on: July 23, 2009, 08:37:51 AM »

Thanks for that Bryan, after I posted it I had a thought that we had mentioned the Tidereach in relation to the Beira Patrol. The Armilla patrol also rang a bell as we were on a run that included Dubai so had to pick up an escort in and out. I remember how it felt very strange to go back to coastal navigation at night without the comfort of the radar - switched off at the escorts request to stop beasties flying down the scanner ! (Or was that yet another 'Patrol' and maybe I am getting a little befuddled)

As for the suggested cures for a befuddled brain - thanks but no thanks, in this day and age I think it may be preferable to wander along in a happy daze  %%

Mike
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #385 on: July 23, 2009, 05:59:21 PM »

Thanks for that Bryan, after I posted it I had a thought that we had mentioned the Tidereach in relation to the Beira Patrol. The Armilla patrol also rang a bell as we were on a run that included Dubai so had to pick up an escort in and out. I remember how it felt very strange to go back to coastal navigation at night without the comfort of the radar - switched off at the escorts request to stop beasties flying down the scanner ! (Or was that yet another 'Patrol' and maybe I am getting a little befuddled)

As for the suggested cures for a befuddled brain - thanks but no thanks, in this day and age I think it may be preferable to wander along in a happy daze  %%

Mike
Welcome to the club. BY.
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #386 on: July 23, 2009, 07:53:50 PM »

It was a very odd feeling (although welcome) to be "allowed" to travel from Freemantle to the Arabian coast all on our own without "guiding light" sitting on the metaphorical shoulder. It was almost as if we had passed an exam of some sort. Were we now adjudged to be sufficiently profficient to be allowed loose on the worlds oceans without being shepherded by some kid who'd only read the BRs?. A BR is a multi volume of regulations that govern everything from how often you breathe to how to prepare a Hydrogen bomb. They would cover the walls of a fair sized living room and you'd still have a few left over. And woe betide you if even inadvertently, you fail to comply with even one scintilla of the wording.....even during moments of stress. Normally brought to your attention about a year after the event in question. This is possibly why all RN Officers appear to be formed from the same mould. Talk to one and then there is no need whatsoever to talk to another one.
It still intrigues me that I (yes, me, personally) was for a few years entrusted with the task of teaching young RN "Middies" the art of Ocean Navigation. And it is an art. (I was the Nav Officer at the time). Forget the new stuff like GPS and so on.No matter how good these whizzbangs are (and they can be very good), the little green wigglies will fail at some point. So in the event of an electronic shutdown a Navigator will have to fall back on the same skills his great-grandfather employed. Assuming "he" hasn't left these skills to lie dormant for too long.
I was reminded of this a little while ago when I saw an electronic chart for the first time. The young 2/Off knew how to operate all the bells and whistles, but he had never ever studied the chart he was "correcting" as it all appeared electronically. People of my generation got to know the world via the horrible and time consuming job of "chart corrections". It all sort of sticks in the mind. But if all that is required is to push a few buttons to update a chart you have vever laid eyes on.....then where is that rather deep knowledge of the world going to come from?
It wasn't all that long ago that I was given a guided tour around RFA "Wave Knight". What struck me most was not the sheer technical wizardry of the thing but its sterility. There was no "character", no "quirkiness" as there used to be. Nothing on that ship that said "this is my home". And I think that for a seafarer that sort of sense of belonging is important. Go to work in an office or car assembly plant then OK, you can go home at night. But a ship is not just your place of work, it is your home. The other crew members are not just your workmates, they are you neighbours. Some you get along with, and some you don't. But on top of that you have a largely self-imposed disciplinary regime that becomes second nature, no matter what rank you hold. So eventually the entire ships company evolves into a "unit". Nights in the bar. All get together for "film night"..all that sort of stuff. But this new RFA had TVs in every cabin. No social repartee between "deckies" and "greasers". Just sit alone in your well appointed cabin and watch a video, aaiting the next call to "duty"..appalling. If that is modern seafaring then I admit to being well pleased to be out of it.
Seafaring was always a pretty lonely sort of a job, but some modern "advances" seem to make it worse. Superficially all thes advances are quite excellent.....but at what cost to the psyche of the seaman?
But ignoring all that. We did manage to find our way up to the Arabian coast (only asked one passing dhow for directions). We had been earmarked somewhat malevonently to be the UK rep in another "Exercise Saif Sarifa"....which largely consisted of us being buzzed, strafed and otherwise obliterated by fast jets. Which we duly ignored. I'm sure the pilots enjoyed it. The other ships had all peeled of for a week in Karachi. I hope they all got the "runs", because when they all came out again and re-stored it was found that "Fort Grange" had "forgotten" to load any fresh veg. and salad stuff for us. Thanks a lot guys.  Eventually we got to Gib, only to find that the base had "run-out" of "fresh" because the frigates etc. had got there first.  We were supposed to go to Devonport, but all the Rodney ships piled into Guz and Pompey so for some reason we were shunted off to Rosyth. Who were not expecting us. (huh?).
So we anchored off somewhere near St.Andrews for a couple of days. One hell of an end to an eleven month "round the world" trip.

Leaving out the "ship business", I enclose a copy of the final issue of the ships "Daily Orders". You may (or not) find the details interesting.

1.  It is hoped to anchor late this morning, however whether we do or not is weather dependent. The situation should clarify this morning. Listen for the pipes.
2.  "Olmeda" is expected to move up to the Rosyth inner anchorage tomorrow (Dec.18 1986) and HM Customs will board to clear the ship. We will then berth alongside during the afterrnoon  watch.
3.  "Global '86"...wasn't it fun. We did 204 RAS(L)s and steamed 58,863 miles from Gosport to Rosyth taking in the world en-route.

4.  Loading and issuing fuels as follows.
                                          Diesel                       Avcat                      FFO

Issued                                 48,123                      7091                      18146
Received                              43,870                      5247                      19283

That works out at 0.8 RAS(L)s per day including "in port" time and 1.24 cu.metres (all grades) issued for every mile steamed.

I'll leave it there as the rest of it is not really relevant to this forum.
But from the above statistics it should be clear that all is not "play", and the ship worked pretty hard from "day 1".
RASing is only a part (although a major one) of what a "Front Line" RFA does. In 1986 we only had "Chaff" and 4 ancient 20mm cannon to use as self defence. This was 4 years after the Falklands War. The new ones are more akin to warships than their ancestors, but the RFA is still civilian manned. Last year the RFA celebrated (if that's the word) 100 years of its founding.
Navies around the world use the RFA as a role model (including the USN). And please don't say they all use it as an example of how not to do things!. BY.

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Shipmate60

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #387 on: July 23, 2009, 10:43:43 PM »

Bryan,
I couldn't agree more with the demise of the messes.
On my ship everyone has a TV/dvd/stereo in their cabin so the social life on board has suffered.

Bob
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #388 on: August 04, 2009, 07:00:00 PM »

As the next episode is about my 1987 appointment to RFA "Tidespring" I thought that perhaps a pic of her nearing the end of her 1987 Falmouth refit would be a good start point. Jeez. For someone who doesn't like tankers very much I certainly get my share of them!
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #389 on: August 04, 2009, 08:13:52 PM »

You may have gathered from previous posts that I much preferred "dry" ships (Stonnery excepted...but I could live with them)...basically on the grounds that having been weaned in dry-cargo things I would rather see "things and stuff" being transferred from one ship to another rather than just gazining blankly at a length of pulsating rubber pipe. Thats a bit lower than boring.
Anyway. To the ship itself. The 2 "improved" Tide class turned out to be a bit of a stop-gap between the old "Tidereach" class  and the new swanky "Olmeda" type (talking 1966 here). I suppose the old Tides did the job they were built for and worked hard for many years, but being non-aviation compatible they were a bit of an anachronism in thier latter years.
Plus the fact that they were literally falling apart.
However, the hull design was superb and made for very good "sea ships". So the new Tides were built around a similar but enlarged hull form. Unfortuneately the MoD encumbered them with such an awful lot of top hamper that they always felt a bit "twitchy" (other seafarers on this forum will know what I mean).The accomodation wasn't much to write home about either, considering what standards commercial shipping companies of the time were fitting. Who would have thought that 8 oficers sharing 2 showers (and 2 toilets) in the 1980s was acceptable? Obviously, not all at the same time....but now and again I had my doubts.
"Tidespring" and "Tidepool" (always referred to in the USA as "Tadpole".....but what do you expect from a country that pronounces "buoy" as "booie"....I rest my case) were built with aviation in mind. Hence the large (for its time) single hangar, a good sized flight deck and some (limited) aviation workshop facilities...and some very cramped "mess-deck" accomodation for the embarked rating RN personell. But, as always, the MoD were a bit behind the times. The hangar could only accept 1 Wessex but the "parking deck" was evidently based on the size of the Wasp. MoD had the sme problem when the large Merlin began to replace the Sea King)
Weapon stowage had also been forgotten or (more likely) ignored. Actually, weapon stowage in this class is worth a closer look.
We had a very limited space on the stbd side of the flight deck for pyrotechnics and so on, but that was it. But the aircraft we were supposed to be able to support were anti-sub aircraft. Which means more than one aircraft, sonar buoys and aerial torpedoes. Nowhere to put this stuff.
The space under the amidships block on all "traditional" RFA tankers was given over to the stowage of all the gubbins that the ship needed to function properly....and the lids for the forward cargo fuel tanks were there as well. The bright idea that weapon stowage areas could be built into this potentially hazardous area was given the nod by MoD. OK in theory, if the magazines had been built to even the lowest standards. What was not expected was 2 rows of what appeared to be cow/horse stables but without doors. Naturally, the bosun took advantage of this and as we weren't at war with anyone over the years the whole place became a deck store.
Until 1987.
You may notice from the pi that there are 2 types of fuelling rigs. 2 are fixed and are known as "Jackstay" rigs, while the 3rd one is a derrick...oddly enough called the "Derrick" rig. Both have the same function of pumping some sort of fluid into another. The recipient decides on the method. But nowadays more often than not the receptor will prefer the "probe". This is a large nozzle which slides down the jackstay and slams into place. Pumping proceeds automatically as the hose is already charged.
The ship is looking pretty clean with the exception of some bulkhead staining resulting from the testing of the pre-wet system. This is a sort of high pressure shower thing that's supposed to wash off any nuclear, chemical or biological residue that may have landed on the ship. Fat chance. If we were that close then the enfolding waves would wash it off first. I was once told "by a man who knows" that an exploding nuclear depth charge could create a vacuum bubble up to 1 mile in diameter. Then the sea comes back in. Think about it. BY
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #390 on: August 15, 2009, 06:34:21 PM »

Although the old "Spring" was getting on a bit and was definetely showing her age most of the discomforts were more than adequately compensated for by having a great crew....many of whom I knew from previous ships. It's amazing what "hardships" can be laughed off when you are in a "happy ship".
Being in the main a fully experienced RFA complement the "work-up" was a doddle. Been there, got the "t" shirt and all that. I guess that it was a bit like re-taking your drivers test and putting right unwanted habits. So (as always) we only got a "Sat" from the FOST Staff. Good enough. Many RN people can go through their entire (short) career and never do a work-up...even more just do one or two...but us lot who outlived many of the ships we sailed in (on?) were frequent "guests" of FOST. But I've vented off about work-ups in previous posts so no need to iterate. But this time FOST gave us a couple of extra little jobs to do which sort of broke the "here we go again" attitude. The first one was to act as the towing ship for a target for both surface and airborne attack. No doubt many of the "attackers" would have preferred us to be the target, but what with courts martial and the dreaded letter beginning "we fail to understand etc etc" they attacked the target. Naturally the target was towed well astern of the ship. 1000yards comes to mind (about half a mile....sounds a lot but when you have a hot-shot pilot howling in at 400 mph then 10000 yards would be better. The aircraft were using dummy bombs, but it can still cause a sphincter closing moment if he gets it a bit wrong. Perhaps that should be "opening" rather than "closing". At least the surface ships were just using their "close quarters" weaponry. If they were using "out of sight" stuff then I wouldn't want to be in the same hemisphere.
Towing a "splash target" for aircraft is not uncommon. The sequence is that once the target is deployed (a little thing about 6' square that sends up a couple of plume of water) and a "spotter" is positioned (normally the ships FDO) the exercise can begin. Obvioulsy the aircraft pilot has no way of telling how close or far he was from the target. May be different if there was a socking great bang coming from just behind him. Hence the "spotter. The "target" is imagined to be at the centre of a clock face. Distance from the centre is harder to judge. But if you have a series of imaginary concentric rings then a rough estimate of accracy can be given. For instance a report saying "2200 number2" would tell the pilot that he was quite close but off to the top left. Latterly we would be working with the "Harrier". They would come in on a shallowish dive, "toss" the bomb and immediately climb away. All good stuff. I only twice ever saw a splash target actually hit....and they were both done by "Buccaneers", but they were made for the job. Wonderful to see their low level attacks. But even with dummy bombs, a hit on the towing ship would cause a real "bad hair day".
The other 2 exercises were reasonably routine.
We would pretend to be a hi-jacked commercial vessel and the SBS would tear up alongside (generally at night which severely affected the days alcohol intake), do their own boarding procedure ....although with a couple of ships staff as safety numbers (a worthwhile thig to do do as it was after all a training exercise. Then these very sinister looking boarders would storm the ship. During pre-exercise briefing "some people" had been shown around the ship and I presume plans of the ship had been perused before the exercise began. This could then become very scary even though it was an exercise. Not often does one get a sub-machine gun jabbed into ones neck by a guy dressed from head to foot in a black wetsuit. I think I could almost feel a bit of pity for any genuine pirate/hi-jacker coming face to face with this bunch.
The other was an aerial assault (for the same reasons) but by the SAS. But as this was a sort of "beginners" lesson it was conducted during daylight hours. Just as well, really. As usual we "fouled" the Flight Deck (NOT that way) with obstacles. Not to prevent the aircraft landing (not part of the game), but to exercise the pilot and his crewman in positioning the aircraft...as they would have to do for a commercial ship. Again, a couple of ship-supplied safety personnel were present. So the SAS guys had to abseil (rapidly) down a rope. About 6 men on the rope at the same time. Alas. The first man down got caught up in the loose coils of rope and fell over. With the others landing on top of him. Sub-machine guns skittering all over the place. Bloody funny that was. So we cleared the flight deck, landed the helo (Sea King), re-embarked the chastened troops and did it all again. Perfect.
Both the SBS and the SAS teams had to spend a few hours with us....a good chance for them to enjoy some food. When they were all dressed up they were seriously scary even during an exercise. But once the hoods were off and they were all noshing into the scran they proved to be quite a pleasant bunch of blokes.
After that, for some reason that escapes me, we went off to the USA. It must have been for some exercise or another; but all these exercises seemed to blend into each other.
Funny thing about exercises. We, as (nautical) foot soldiers never got to read the outcome or the lessons learned. To me that is stupidity. So it isn't really surprising that the ships companies found it all a bit boring and "run of the mill". I do recall ruffling a few feathers when I put in writing that when a ship was "sunk" or "damaged" or whatever that ship should be taken out of the "game" for a day or so. If nothing else it would concentrate the Rodney mind and perhaps they could learn how to take better care of their lifeblood (fuel). I got hauled over the coals for that, but I still think I was right.
The usual visits followed. Norfolk(Virginia), Mayport (Jacksonville,Florida) and Fort Lauderdale(Florida) for a bit of R&R. And I got paid for this. Who needs a cruise with Bunkerbarge!
One incident on the way home stands out. We were re-fuelling one of the USN "Saipan"(?) class of assault ships when she decided to do an emergency breakaway . Except she didn't tell us. So there was this 50,000 ton ship peeling away from us at a rate of knots with the hoses still connected. Our 6" hoses contracted to about 3" before the coupling on our deck gave way. This all happened very quickly and without warning...so we were still pumping. "xxxxx". Took us 3 days to repair the damage and re-rig...not nice in the middle of the N. Atlantic.
But the Gulf and the Hurricane that never was was looming. Cheers, BY.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #391 on: August 16, 2009, 02:27:48 PM »

Bryan,

SBS 'attacks' on North Sea installations were - and probably still are - not uncommon. Although pre-warned, it must still have been un-nerving for the average bear to find them coming over the rail. Just how they were able to scale the steel or concrete legs from sea level I never found out. There are not too many hand-holds. How they got to location was also never revealed.

I had some contact with the SBS when trialling a recovery system for extracting persons from the water to a vessel. Our MD had contacts within the MoD and a SBS troop was "volunteered" (they must have done something really, really, really, bad) to act as guinea pigs.
It involved travelling on a converted trawler to the Northern North Sea in suitably bad weather before jumping over the side and thence being scooped out. Trawlers are lively at sea and this was no exception; the SBS were soon shouting down the great white telephone and regarded it as something of a relief when they were thrown overboard; being extracted back on board was a mixed blessing. The video recording of the recovery operation made hair-raising viewing for those back at base. To recover them, the ship had to get very close and seing the bows lifting an falling as it approached must have raised certain thoughts e.g. why didn't I join the SAS?

To get maximum value for money, they were also used to test new lifejacket designs which again required them to be thrown into the oggin in some less than nice weather.  (Different lifejacket colours were also tested for visibility at long range. Surprisingly the winner was not the universally used bright orange but a bright acid green which, as far as I know, has never been adopted for LSA.)

When the SBS were finally released back to dry - and stable - land, they probably vowed never to put themselves in a position to be volunteered for anything. I don't blame them.

Regards,

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #392 on: August 16, 2009, 06:18:41 PM »

Barry, nice response. When you mentioned a "recovery system" I immediately imagined a scoop net sort of thing.....you didn't elucidate further. But if the guys in the water were that close to a pitching bow perhaps the idea was to put a ladder over the ships side and let them climb up it. Funny that no-one thought of that before.
As far as finding "the target" goes....the SBS does love a submarine. That subject may well come up when I get to 1991!
I agree with you about the "Lime Green" visibility. For some reason Orange doesn't work as well as people think. But having said that I would be more than a little bemused if I was trying to find a lime green object in the middle of the Indian Ocean with perhaps a square mile of flourescing plankton around me!. Thanks and cheers. Bryan.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #393 on: August 16, 2009, 07:06:05 PM »

Bryan,

It was a 'Dacon Scoop' - a device that is now standard on most Rescue Vessels operating for the oil companies in the North Sea. See  http://www.dacon.net/default.aspx?avd=03&catid=41

Regards

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #394 on: August 17, 2009, 06:49:17 PM »

Bryan,

It was a 'Dacon Scoop' - a device that is now standard on most Rescue Vessels operating for the oil companies in the North Sea. See  http://www.dacon.net/default.aspx?avd=03&catid=41

Regards

Barry M
Barry, just read your link...and I find I wasn't too far wrong. But surely the "capture" is still very much to do with extremely good ship handling in very adverse conditions. Are you really confident that those skills are universal? It would be very expensive, but perhaps a small helo would be a better bet. Of course that would mean scrapping some of the outdated fishing boats that are (sometimes) employed...but would make for a more effective system. Something on the lines of the USCG perhaps? BY.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #395 on: August 17, 2009, 08:29:42 PM »

Bryan,
Successful operation of the scoop is the result of good shiphandling, the correct installation of equipment and a practised crane operator. Constant drills aim to achieve a high prospect of recovery and an actual rescue was accomplished in a Force 11. The first line of survivor recovery from a North Sea rescue vessel is via fast Rescue Craft (FRC) which can be launched day and night in less than five minutes. However, FRC have weather limits and that is when devices such as the scoop come into play.

In respect of recovery by chopper, every live rescue in the North Sea (+105) since ca. 1977 has been performed by a Rescue Vessel (or standby vessel as they were formerly known) and none by helicopter. The latter have always operated in support of the marine assets, transferring survivors when required. Even in-field SAR choppers need about 20 mins to get airborn and by that time - in most instances - survivors have been picked up by the Rescue Vessel. This is not to decry the helicopter but it is complementary to the Rescue Vessel and does not replace it.  BP recently had to admit this when it tried to get rid of the marine assets; a cost-cutting measure although they denied it.

As far as "outdated fishing boats" are concerned, you are correct. They are outdated and they have gone. I suggest you have a look at http://www.errva.org.uk for a briefing on the current position.

Advances in maritime SAR in the North Sea have too often been driven by tragic incidents and some operators will still go for the cheapest vessels but the responsible ones - and these are in the majority realise that safety pays and provide a good service.

Between 1980 and the mid 90's, North Sea rescue vessel specifications, crew training standards and conditions of service  were progressively raised. This was charterer-driven because frankly the dayrates were such that few (but not all) owners could or were prepared to commit to investment.

How do I know the above? Because from 1977 until 1996 I was employed by a major oil operator and responsible among other matters (1980 - 1996), for the specification, chartering and direction of all our standby vessels/rescue vessels in the Northern and Central North Sea - some 30+ vessels when the relief vessels were counted in. The Industry Guidelines for Vessel Specification/Operation and crew employment in force since 1997 are based on those that I created for my own employer while I sat on the industry committee that produced the Crew Training Guidelines. Incidentally, don't be fooled by that term "Guidelines". The offshore operators have undertaken not to employ any vessel that does not meet the Guidelines or can be proven to achieve the same objectives albeit by differing means.

Just to wind this up, before scoops were introduced I had been approached by the manufacturers to undertake a trial. This was arranged and although the results were promising I could not get financial approval to develop the project. Then there was a helicopter crash. The weather was too bad to launch FRC.  The only way to recover survivors was for the crew to reach over the ship's side and attempt to grab them as they drifted past.  In the subsequent debrief, I shall never forget the sight of  a hard-bitten bosun reduced to tears as he described grasping a man by his lifejacket becket only to see him slip through the webbing and drift away to his death. 
Very quickly two things happened: a) aviation lifejackets were fitted with crotch straps - a move which the aviation boys had resisted because of fears over snagging during aircraft evacuation and b} I had a very large budget to get scoops fitted and crews trained in their use plus the provision of any other bit of kit I thought useful.

Incidentally the USCG did (does?) send its crews for training to the same Stonehaven-based Training establishment that trains Rescue Vessel crews.

I hope you find this useful.

Regards,

Barry M
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #396 on: August 17, 2009, 11:05:36 PM »

Barry.
Now THAT is the sort of reply that any serious question deserves. Erudite, educational and "not talking down".  Thank you. BY.
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BarryM

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #397 on: August 17, 2009, 11:16:27 PM »

Bryan,

You might say that but I couldn't possibly comment - we engineers are far too modest...  ;)

Cheers,

Barry M
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Roger in France

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #398 on: August 18, 2009, 07:12:05 AM »

Thanks Barry and thanks Bryan. What a super thread this is.

Roger in France
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Bryan Young

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Re: Nautical "Strange but True!"
« Reply #399 on: August 18, 2009, 05:28:04 PM »

Wow Barry, is the combination of a fishhead and a clankie gettin a fan club? That turns generations of something on its head! BY.
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