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British Trader Poop Deck

British Trader Poop Deck

Down aft on the Trader, taken in Lake Charles, Louisiana on the 3rd of July 2003.
Note that all the ropes are on winches - none on bitts. This is of course the norm for all new ships built today, and simplifies mooring operations greatly.
All the ropes were 'Steelites', that meaning they were essentially a single, thick, high tensile core made from Nylon, surrounded by smaller stranded Nylon which protected the core. The rope was only a few inches thick, but had a breaking strain of circa 60 tonnes, basically the same as a wire (as used on most other ships of this size and above). However there are of course advantages over wires in that they do not require constant greasing and are a lot easier to stow.
Neither do they damage the deck when dragged across. However, the Steelite isn't flexible enough to use on bollards, so a small eye is made in the end, and then a standard mulitplatt polyprop tail (15-20 ft) is shackled to the end, this is then placed on the bollard.
All the winches were controlled from a control box, with the boxes sited on either side, indeed one can be see just forward of the lifebuoy at the top of the picture.
In practice, this means the Officer is in overall charge, with the Pumpman/Senior AB/Fitter on the control box, and the rest of the lads feeding them through the leads or stowing them on the drums.
Today, E/R crews are used for mooring alongside their deck counterparts, and on BP Ships that meant the 4 E/R Ratings, with 2 forward and 2 aft. So it would look something like this:

Forward:
C/O
Bosun
AB
AB
OS
2 x Oilers

Aft:
2/O or 3/O
Pumpman (if carried)
AB
OS
OS
Fitter
Oiler

The Red box houses the ships Emergency towing gear. Basically it's a long length of nylon towing line secured to the ship by a chain, which is in turn secured to the deck (as can be see). The other end is attached to a lit buoy, which is dropped through the panama lead and picked up by an attendant tug, who then heaves up and makes fast the towing line.
The system is designed for one man operation, all you have to do is throw the buoy over the side with the tug doing the rest. This came in as a result of several Tanker groundings, e.g. Braer, Sea Empress etc.
Being an LNG tanker, we took tugs at each port, normally a minimum of 3, despite having a powerful bowthruster. However we didn't take the tugs lines onboard and secure them to bits, there were in fact small bits inset to the hull just above waterline level, which the Tugmen made fast to themselves. Incredibly helpful to both sides given the high freeboard of these ships.

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Interesting photo Jim,

All the tankers that I sailed on were motor ships, but they had steam winches forward and aft.

Cheers Frank
 

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ex-Denholm Moderator
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Very interesting indeed Jim.
Thanks for keeping us up to date with current practices. (Applause)

I presume the winches are all self-tensioning?
 

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Malim Sahib Moderator
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Thanks for the comments Gents.

Ray: From what I remember they weren't, or at least it was never switched on if it was fitted. We did however have a computer in the Cargo Control Room which told us how much tension was on each line. We didn't use that either, much preferred the use of the Mk 1 eyeball and a well placed kick!
 

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ex-Denholm Moderator
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Yes, I tend to agree with you Jim.
Automated systems are excellent when they are working but can be a nightmare when they become a bit "iffy!" (Thumb)
 

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Great series of pictures Jim and what wonderfully lucid explanations to go with them. I expect to learn something when I log on to SN but these posts are exceptional even by this site's standards. Well done and sincere thanks.
Regards,
Alastair
 

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I think you may be mistaken regarding the emergency towing arrangement. The arrangement shown here on the stern of the vessel is for towing another vessel, not for this vessel to be towed by another. The procedure is generally stated, but the buoy and line is picked up by the vessel in distress and led to one of the bow chain stoppers usually used for mooring to an SPM. The towing vessel can then theoretically tow the disabled vessel to safety.
 

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Malim Sahib Moderator
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Orbitaman,
I'm not mistaken, it's the same fit on all BP tankers and has been for circa 10 years.
You may be mistaking the system for one that is suitable for long term towage - it isn't, there was a separate chain stopper up at the bow with its on lead for that.
As I mentioned in the description, this system is purely for Emergency towing, i.e. being towed away from danger, the theory being that you'll always end up head first when aground/in collision.
For anything more long term then a chain would be passed to the fo'c'sle.
 

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Very interested to read about modern practices but I see that the old tradition of Chief Mate forward and Second Mate aft still seems to stand? In my time, over 30 years ago, the Third Mate was usually on the bridge for entering/leaving port. Wonder how that all started because I thought then that it would have been a good idea to have the C/O on the bridge understudying the Master.
 

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