Thursday, 3 November 2011

Multi Tasking

Okay, so this is about a lot of self promotion.

The bridge of the ship is one of the major positions that has to be filled. Many of my wingers hated to have to sit up there because when you are on the bridge, the CO says something and he wants it NOW! When they are in the CCR, they can easily say "Yes Sir, I am right on it" and hang up the phone.

Up on the bridge, I had to listen for and respond to the CO, the Officer of the Watch and the various chirpings from the 3 or 4 radio stations that were being monitored. One of those radio stations was VHF 16, the international distress and calling station.

Now, here comes the self promotion part.

Our ship had just come to anchor, about 10 miles north of Prince Rupert. The anchor had been let go, the chain had been paid out, the ship was secured to the sea floor - safe and snug, ready to have everyone settle in for a quiet night. The CO gave the command to secure the anchor, turned and left the bridge. I was securing my station, collecting bits that didn't need to stay and generally making things tidy. I had just sent my junior hand down to the CCR with a load of publications. She had just left the bridge, dogged the door.....

"MAYDAY RELAY......" comes out of the VHF radio. Oh shit, so much for a quiet night. I drop my armload of books, grabbed a pencil and started writing. The first thing that came across was the location. As the latitude and longitude comes across I recognize that the site is right close. The OOW takes the position and finds out the location is about 10 miles away. He looks at me and tells me to not to answer that call.

Really Sir? I have only been doing this particular position for 10 years, I am very well aware that I don't answer the phone you pompous waste of skin. (This particular officer was a real piece of work, no one liked him)

He makes a call to the CO, and to the rest of the ship to prepare to haul up the anchor.
The CO makes it back to the bridge and asks what the $#(& is going on OOW? The OOW points at me and I let the CO know what has come over the radio. He says right, tells me to answer the call and ask Rescue Center wishes us to help. Rescue Center tasks us to assist, anchor is pulled and away we go.

By this time, my junior hand is back and she is transcribing all that is coming over the radios - all 5 of them. My boss is directly behind me, making a no entry zone behind me. No One is permitted to bother at this point as I now have VHF channels 16, 83A (rescue center), 22A, 8(our rescue boat) and a UHF channel talking to  an aircraft. I litterally am the center of attention on the bridge. With everyone going back and forth getting the ship to where it needed to be, the rescue boat launched and the other bits, I have to keep track of all the radios, the CO and the OOW and get all the relevant info to the appropriate people. If you have ever scene a photo of the telephone operators, that was me, only I didn't have any head phones.

2 hours later it was all over. It turned out a small boat with a load of drunks ran aground at a navigational beacon. The last of the logging was finished - I must say I was very impressed with my juniors writing capacity. I was told to dismiss the aircraft, and got the rescue boat secured. Things got back to quiet, we went back to our anchoring berth, dropped the anchor, got things secured and made neat for the night and I got to shut down all the extra radio circuits. I was relieved of my post and went to the upper decks and vibrated for a couple of minutes. Once I got myself back to breathing properly, I went below and was given the Bravo Zulu by the CO.

All in all, not a bad way to end the days work <g>

And that is what multi tasking is all about

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