New York Times - Ships and Shipping

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Orchestrated manoeuvres in the dark

Royal Naval vessels orchestrated manoeuvres in the dark during a particularly tricky transfer at sea.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship Fort Victoria met up with frigate HMS Richmond in the Gulf for a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) – but the ships chose to do it at night rather than during daylight hours.
Even in daylight RAS serials are challenging because the ships gets so close during the refuelling and stores transfer.
Fort Victoria’s Navigating Officer, Second Officer Mark Bongartz, said: “Although we are experts at replenishment at sea, undertaking the serial in darkness adds a new dimension to it. 
"We have to be extra careful with the safety and the seamanship at night.”

We have to be extra careful with the safety and the seamanship at night.
Second Officer Mark Bongartz, RFA
As well as providing essential supplies to the Portsmouth-based Type 23, the RAS provided a great learning opportunity for RFA apprentice seafarers gaining experience with the ship’s Deck Department.
Chief Officer Angus Bissell, who supervises the training, said: “The RAS was a great chance for the trainees to get hands-on experience of this complex serial.
“It’s good for them to see the hazards for themselves and to learn to work safely under the supervision of our training team.”
Since her arrival East of Suez three months ago, RFA Fort Victoria has maintained a busy RAS schedule.
In addition to her role supporting the Royal Navy, RFA Fort Victoria has furthered the Royal Navy’s work with international partners by conducting replenishment serials with the navies of coalition partners in the Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.

Source: Royal Navy.

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