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On Monday my Vessel Ops class and I had the wonderful experience of going on a tour of a cruise ship. I was very excited because I had never even been near a cruise ship before Monday. As soon as we chain locked all our belongings and tied off Indy alongside what seemed to us a very sketchy port we went to get checked in. At the front desk besides being bombarded with tons of security we were greeted by a lovely young lady named Tabea Nele Bouwman. Tabea is A college student back in Germany. She goes to a maritime college which I admire because I would like to attend a maritime college as well. Tabea is an apprentice and has only a year left of college which is just a year at sea. She just finished a month on this cruise and has 5 more months to go off her contract. Tabea’s schedule consists of an 8am-12pm shift with an hour break for lunch and then her shift continues 1pm-7pm. She is allowed to dine at most restaurants but isn’t allowed to use all the amenities that the ship has to offer like the swimming pool. I found to have some similarities with Tabea like we both share a love and passion for Tall ships. Tabea has worked with Fair Transport which is a company that takes experienced and inexperienced people out on sailing cargo ships and teaches them all about being responsible global citizens. Its an opportunity for people to learn more about the industry while also learning skills and disciplines that have grown too old to be used in today’s maritime industry. Tabea took part of this adventure for an astonishing 8 months. Tabea is planning on going back on Nordly which is an engineless cargo ship. She plans her return once she graduates college this upcoming year.
On September 13th, our class went on one of the Hornblower cruises around lower Manhattan. We spoke to Captain Jose and asked him how his experiences were. He told us that he really enjoyed his job. I asked if this was a union company and he told me it was not. I’m used to working at union companies so it was surprising to hear that they were not in the Union. When we went on this trip,k we had a break from all the stress from school so it was nice. This picture shows the beautiful view aboard Serenity.
This right here ladies and gentlemen is me (Bri) doing a typical hourly deckhand engine check at New York Water Taxi. Yes, every single hour one of the two deckhands have to go down to the engine room and make sure there are no signs of anything wrong. So after you come down the ladder with gloves on your hands and ear protection on (the picture to the right was a pre-underway engine room check therefore the engine wasn’t running) you take a look around. Do you see anything wrong? Do you smell anything out of the ordinary? Do you hear something weird? After you do that and everything is secured , make sure all the valves are all the right way especially for the manifold system and fire pump set up. If you see something that is alarming and could cause harm then let the captain know right away, if everything is well then still let the captain know the condition and log that into the book.
The Annual Tug boat race on the North River was such an amazing event; this was my second year attending. My first year was on the vessel Sea Wolf with fellow classmates Terence, Bri, and Steve. The first year I was more of a spectator watching the crew do all the work. This year, I was the crew. The boat that I was crewing was none other than the South Street Seaports W.O Decker. The day started off with a morning muster at 0800 aboard Decker. The muster was led by first mate Lisa. She gave us the breakdown of how the day was going to go. At the morning muster, I learned that I will be representing W.O Decker in the line tossing competition. Instantly my heart dropped and my legs began to shake. But I brushed it off and stayed focus on the muster at that moment. After the muster we all had a quick breakfast provided by Captain Aaron. Then as soon as we were done, we dropped lines and left
The day started off with a quick little boat parade. All the boats lined up and got introduced and headed up the river. Directly after the parade is when the real crave started. The horn blew and we were off. Instantly W.O Decker fell behind all the other vessels. We turned more into a spectator boat. We started to get washed around the wakes of other tugs. However, it was fun while it lasted. After the race we did a little head to head to see which tug has the most power and could push the most. W.O Decker went against Capt. Brian McAllister; the newest boat at the race. We lost, the McAllister boat wasn’t even pushing ahead and we could barely move it. After we had the good old tug tug battle, it was time for the moment of truth, the line tossing.
The line tossing is the ultimate bragging rights. I was going against so many great people and had a lot to prove. One of the boats I was going against was Susan Miller and Catherine Miller. Susan Miller and Catherine Miller were two of the boats I worked with over the summer, they were part of my internship at Millers launch. They also are the ones who helped me perfect my line tossing. Having them watch me was a tremendous amount of pressure. Before the line tossing actual started, I had to get some practice in. I practiced on the bow bit on the boat. The eye of the line was huge. It was the same size of me. That did not help me out at all. I was rusty and nervous, a bad combination in a competition. At the moment I was stalling and trying to get as much time as I can. Finally Captain Aaron asked me if I was ready and my response was “it’s now or never”. We started to go in and everyone is super hype. So many eyes on me. Everyone on the boat was calling my name.” Bryan you can do it”(Elijah), “no pressure Bryan except if you miss you let everyone down….just joking everything will be fine”( Lisa). The horn sounded and the clock was on. The way the line tossing works is you get three chances to toss it on to the bit and if you miss you lose. My first toss was off to the left and the whole boat had to reset. We backed up and approached again. “Port side toss” was what I was told. That’s exactly what I tried. But once again I missed. This was my third and final try. I look around and see classmate Steve and I know I wouldn’t miss now or he will go back and tell the whole school. I looked him in the eye and whispered this one is for you. I tossed the line with everything I had. It seemed like everything was in slow motion. Cheers still going “ Bryan Bryan”. I missed my throw and final toss. I held onto the line just a little too much and fell short of the bit. I pulled the line in with my head down ashamed. I was so upset letting the pressure get to me. Then I hear give it a good round of applause for Bryan. That is what Maggy said on the microphone. That was music to my ears. She told everybody who I was and what school I was from and everyone started to cheer. Not the type of cheering I wanted but I took it and ran with it. Suddenly I start to feel better and went on with the day super happy.
Toward the end of the day we had an award ceremony. That was also the time I got to see a lot of old friends and co-workers from Millers Launch. Everyone gave me a warm welcome and asked me how I was doing. After the little reunion we went on with the awards. W.O Decker got the most vintage tug award. Not the best award but an award none the less. After the award ceremony we got a tour of McAllister’s newest boat. And then the day was over.
This summer I had the privilege of spending a week at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. Our every move was strictly controlled and every minute of the day was accounted for. The program (AIM) was to give us a taste of what life at the academy will be like. It was both mentally and physically challenging but I walked away feeling so accomplished and even more sure of the future I want in the Coast Guard. Everything we did had a purpose and a goal to teach discipline. Nobody was an individual, my fellow aimsters and I were one unit. Our days began at 5:30am and ended at around 9pm. We had to square our corners & our meals and had to look forward (eyes in the boat) at all times unless we were told otherwise. We were taught how to walk and how to stand, how to greet respectfully, and even how to make our beds. Our showers, using the bathroom and even getting water were all timed. Our Cadre forced us to let go of being an individual and learn strong discipline. I found my experience to be highly rewarding although it was very difficult. I made new friends from different states and shared a bond that others who have not experienced AIM won’t understand. I’m so greatly for this opportunity because it made my love for the United States Coast Guard grow times ten.
USS O’Bannon (DD-450) is a Fletcher-class destroyer laid down on March 3, 1941. She served the United States Navy (USN) in World War II. She was sold for scrap on June 6 1970 with 17 battle stars including the Presidential Unit Citation.
During her World War II service, she briefly trained for war in the Caribbean and participated in the Pacific campaign against the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). She fought in the Guadalcanal campaign in which her assigned squadron, Destroyer Squadron 21 (DesRon 21), was securing the American held Solomon Island. She escorted USS Copahee (CVE-12) on a run to supply depleted American Marines with supplies to continue holding a key airstrip named “Henderson Field”. O’Bannon sighted enemy submarines and fired at them with her 5-inch main battery armament. On Novemeber 12 1942, 16 Japanese torpedo bombers attack American convoy ships. 11 were shot down and O’Bannon fired at 4 of the planes. Word came that a Japanese attack force of battleships, cruisers and destroyers were going to bombard the Americans off the island, and O’Bannon with a underpowered task force, were set to try to turn away the attackers. During the attack, O’Bannon boldly fought Japanese battleship Hiei, getting so close that Hiei guns couldn’t depress far enough to shoot the destroyer. Combined attacks from other American ships, Hiei was set to be scuttled.
On April 5 1943, O’Bannon sighted the Japanese submarine RO-43 on the surface and made to ram it. At the last minute, officers aboard the destroyer decided the sub might be a minelayer and turned hard to avoid the collision. The action brought the destroyer along side the sub. Japanese mariners attempted to man their 3-inch gun battery, O’Bannon deck hands grabbed potatoes out of a supply shed and pelted the potatoes at the Japanese crew. The Japanese believed that the potatoes were hand grenades and threw them back, instead of manning the 3-inch battery. As soon as O’Bannon was far enough away, she opened up with her 5, 5-inch gun batteries and damaged the sub’s conning tower. RO-43 submerged but O’Bannon’s depth charges eventually sunk the sub.
At the end of World War II, she joined her sister ship USS Nicholas, USS Missouri and USS Taylor into Tokyo Bay by order of Admiral William Halsey. She was later decommissioned after overhaul on May 21, 1946.
As the weather gets warmer, the Vessel Operations CTE program is going underway more often. The Sophomore Class of Vessel Operations has been training and working on the cranes on Privateer. The importance in keeping communication consistent between crew members is very important in any boat we are underway in. However, the difference in what is communicated on Privateer is quite different from what is usually said on other boat such as Indy 7 amd Virginia. Privateer has an A-frame crane that is often used to lift big, heavy objects. If not handled properly, these large objects can become loosened, can swing around, and possibly damage property and even injure crew members and/or passengers. Communication and repeating commands is very important and many people have overlooked the importance of it. Communication should be reinforced at all times on the water, whether we are docking, picking up moorings, not just when we’re operating cranes.
On May 30, the sophomores and juniors of the Vessel Ops program took an interview for a CTE summer internship involving working on the water at the MAST center. This internship would involve working on the docks or underway on a boat. While were underway we will capture more experiences and learn more tools, helping us become more equipped for the future. We get paid $11 or more an hour, 25 hours a week, for 6 weeks. I plan on using the money to save for college tuition in 2 years. I look forward to this internship, learning new methods of functioning on the water, and exploring new waters.