Author Topic: 'Driving' QE2  (Read 4995 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Twynkle

'Driving' QE2
« on: Jun 08, 2010, 12:09 AM »
About working on the Bridge of QE2
There must have been a significant contrast between day and night duties on watch, and perhaps at dusk and dawn too, in inshore waters and the open sea, as well as during sea days and days in port etc

It's interesting to think that here, daylight must make a difference - or does it?
Was working on the Bridge at night more difficult or just different?





Offline Bob C.

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #1 on: Jun 08, 2010, 02:56 AM »
Not too difficult for a kid (me) during the daytime!

But seriously, having driven USS NIMITZ, it is more difficult at night trying to pick out what angle you are looking at other ships and then there's the ships/boats with no lights that you don't see - yikes!  Plus the closer to shore the more boats there are.  The Straits of Malacca were the worst for me - seems everyone had a death wish playing chicken with a 90,000 ton aircraft carrier.

Thank God for radar and AIS (electronic ship ID system) though.  Still have to watch out for those little lightless buggers...

However, I'd love to hear how it was from a QE2 merchant marine perspective too.
« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2010, 03:07 AM by Bob C. »

Offline holynougat

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #2 on: Jun 08, 2010, 04:27 AM »
In some ways driving a ship a night is easier in terms of identifying the aspects of other vessels because of the fixed arcs of Navigation Lights.

On small slow ships situations take a while to develop, even in busy areas, but when you are on a large passenger ship, particularly one as fast as the QE2, you usually find yourself taking action before other ships because you have a much large 'comfort zone' in terms of how close you want to get.

On the whole to a trained navigator operating in the dark poses no more difficulty than a day watch, the only issue as Bob C has alluded would be small boats without lights.

Before RADAR, would have been different.. modern equipment makes a HUGE difference to how navigation is approached. The degree of accuracy in which the QE2 was operated from a Navigation stand point would have changed massively over her service life. In 2003 she was fitted with a bridge system that was as modern as any other passenger ship built at that time.

Offline Twynkle

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #3 on: Jun 10, 2010, 07:54 PM »
This has the beginnings of really interesting 'stuff'!!

Thank you both - it will be fascinating to learn more.
It's very fortunate that you are here :)

On her last night in Southampton, QE2 needed to be 'backed up', in the dark - with lots of small lightless boats all round her,
it was being on the water alongside that set me wondering!

How do you manage to steer /con QE2 (or a ship of similar size, and design) when needing to go astern and swing round at night - if you needed to do it without tugs?!
After all, there are no wing mirrors, and if she's all lit up, and it's a bit windy - it would be hard to use the Bridge wing(s)
and maybe there'll be a few slower lightless vessels still about - say in the winter....
Assuming that the maneuvering is directed as usual from the Bridge with the Pilot et al
then - how many officers and crew would you have at the stern -(can they see each other? If they could would it help?!)
and - is it important as to who takes precedence in providing information to the Bridge?

(An afterthought! Are there any CCTV cameras these days for you to use?)

Online Peter Mugridge

  • Queens Grill Diner
  • *****
  • Posts: 3590
  • Total likes: 3416
  • At Mach 2 three days after being on QE2...
Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #4 on: Jun 10, 2010, 11:32 PM »
I believe they had a crew member at the stern who was in radio contact with the Bridge when we left Ajaccio, which was an extremely tight turn around even with the tug assistance.
"It is a capital mistake to allow any mechanical object to realise that you are in a hurry!"

Offline Bob C.

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #5 on: Jun 11, 2010, 08:18 PM »
On her last night in Southampton, QE2 needed to be 'backed up', in the dark - with lots of small lightless boats all round her,
it was being on the water alongside that set me wondering!

How do you manage to steer /con QE2 (or a ship of similar size, and design) when needing to go astern and swing round at night - if you needed to do it without tugs?!
After all, there are no wing mirrors, and if she's all lit up, and it's a bit windy - it would be hard to use the Bridge wing(s)
and maybe there'll be a few slower lightless vessels still about - say in the winter....
Assuming that the maneuvering is directed as usual from the Bridge with the Pilot et al
then - how many officers and crew would you have at the stern -(can they see each other? If they could would it help?!)
and - is it important as to who takes precedence in providing information to the Bridge?

(An afterthought! Are there any CCTV cameras these days for you to use?)

In driving the carrier in tight spots we had two "spotters" on the bow and two in the stern with radios and laser range finders.  We also had our First Lieutenant stationed on the side fo the ship to give his "seaman's eye" distance from the pier estimate which was always spot on.

Backing down into the blackness without tugs would be a serious challenge but if presented the problem, I'd make heavy use of the pilot (assuming he was competent), the spotters and would consider putting one or two of the ship's boats in the water to get a waterline viewpoint.  If it was too difficult, we would not do it or wait until daylight but even then maneuvering in similar situations you are often "blind" on the bridge relying only on those in place with radios and range finders.  We also ensured the spotters had spare batteries for both!

Offline Cruisemarsh

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #6 on: Jun 22, 2010, 11:03 PM »
Steering a ship at night, such as the QE2, represents a bigger challenge to the officers on the bridge. For instance, you are having to rely on radar etc if there are adverse weather such as heavy fog to pin point where other ships are. With a much better visability during the day, you get a much better sense of positioning. More difficult at night but with a good training and more reliance on modern technology, I am sure officers now relish the chance of commanding the bridge at night.
Queen Elizabeth 2: Legendary Grand Dame of the Seas.

Offline Paul White

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #7 on: Jul 03, 2010, 09:47 PM »
About working on the Bridge of QE2
There must have been a significant contrast between day and night duties on watch, and perhaps at dusk and dawn too, in inshore waters and the open sea, as well as during sea days and days in port etc

It's interesting to think that here, daylight must make a difference - or does it?
Was working on the Bridge at night more difficult or just different?

Day and night duties on the bridge of any ship are the same. The main duties being keeping a lookout and navigation.

QE2 (and many other large, fast cruise ships) was different to most other types of ships in that she had two officers on each watch.

While I was there each watch consisted of a 1st Officer and a 2nd Officer, both of whom were Master Mariners (Captains in their own right!). In general the 1st Officer had the 'con' while the 2nd Officer backed him up by plotting positions and looking after internal and external coms.

There was also a Quartermaster assigned to each watch who kept the movement book and force fed the two officers huge mugs of hot strong tea every half hour whether you had finished the last one or not. A strong bladder was a definate advantage for QE2's deck officers!

In busy waters, fog or under pilotage the bridge team would be further supplemented by a second quartermaster and the Captain and/or Staff Captain.

On quiet watches, say mid Atlantic with no other traffic, one of the Officers would be in the chart room catching up on paper work and dealing with the duties they had on top of the vessel's navigation.

Watch keeping at night is not much different to daytime. An experienced deck officer is perfectly at home in pitch darkness and will pick up details that most other people will miss. The hardest part of keeping a night watch is your first couple of watches on a new ship. You are not familiar with the positions of all the important bridge equipment (kettle) and need to keep using a torch. Once you are familiar with the bridge you know where everything is by feel.

As pointed out above, modern radar and other aids make life easier, but it is still vital that a ship's officers are looking out of the window and are not totally absorbed by the screens and technology in front of them.

I hope that answers some of your questions.

Paul
Paul

1996 - 2001
Chief Officer

Offline Paul White

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #8 on: Jul 03, 2010, 09:58 PM »
This has the beginnings of really interesting 'stuff'!!

Thank you both - it will be fascinating to learn more.
It's very fortunate that you are here :)

On her last night in Southampton, QE2 needed to be 'backed up', in the dark - with lots of small lightless boats all round her,
it was being on the water alongside that set me wondering!

How do you manage to steer /con QE2 (or a ship of similar size, and design) when needing to go astern and swing round at night - if you needed to do it without tugs?!
After all, there are no wing mirrors, and if she's all lit up, and it's a bit windy - it would be hard to use the Bridge wing(s)
and maybe there'll be a few slower lightless vessels still about - say in the winter....
Assuming that the maneuvering is directed as usual from the Bridge with the Pilot et al
then - how many officers and crew would you have at the stern -(can they see each other? If they could would it help?!)
and - is it important as to who takes precedence in providing information to the Bridge?

(An afterthought! Are there any CCTV cameras these days for you to use?)

On QE2 there would be a 2nd Officer stationed on the mooring deck aft. His job was to take charge of the mooring operation there and to report distances etc. to the bridge by radio. This system works well and is used on most (if not all) UK merchant ships. Deck Officers become very accurate measuring instruments during the course of their careers. He would normally have 6 - 8 crew with him to handle the mooring lines.

The officer aft could see all the way around the stern and could walk from one side to the other quickly enough to give reports from both sides.

When QE2 was being manouvered in port it was always from the bridge wings regardless of the weather. It was impossible to see the quay or astern from the wheelhouse. It always struck me that really heavy down pours were quite often seen as an opportunity for the Captain to give the Staff Captain or Chief Officer a go at berthing the ship for 'training' purposes. He would give occassional comments and prompts from inside the bridge door while staying dry and drinking tea!

Paul
Paul

1996 - 2001
Chief Officer

Offline Cruisemarsh

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #9 on: Jul 05, 2010, 05:57 PM »
Interesting stuff, Paul. Would have liked to have been on the bridge of the QE2 at night, would have been fantastic and so atmospheric too.
Queen Elizabeth 2: Legendary Grand Dame of the Seas.

Offline Rod

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #10 on: Jul 24, 2011, 09:54 PM »
With all due respect to the "Oil and Water" syndrome, Paul will explain. It has to be mentioned that ALL deck Officers have secondary duties, ON TOP of their 8 hours of watchkeeping. Boats Officer, Safety Officer etc etc.
So if they get a chance on watch to do paperwork for their secondary duties.....GO FOR IT!

So many passengers do not realize what is involved in keeping up with the rules and regs regarding safety.
AS Chief Engineer of a hotel in Florida, I spend at least 10% of my time keeping up with the regulatory requirements!
I was never part of that oil/water thing...could never understand it

Offline Rod

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #11 on: Jul 29, 2011, 12:35 AM »
On QE2 there would be a 2nd Officer stationed on the mooring deck aft. His job was to take charge of the mooring operation there and to report distances etc. to the bridge by radio. This system works well and is used on most (if not all) UK merchant ships.

Paul

I agree, until the Deck Officer drops his $1500 radio into Southampton Water.

Come on QE2 Deck Officer, you are on this forum...OWN UP!

Offline Twynkle

Re: 'Driving' QE2
« Reply #12 on: Nov 10, 2011, 07:33 PM »
Just a thought...!

On QM2, during Atlantic crossings, there's a also great 'voyage' that takes place in the wheelhouse!

The small model of a ship is moved along a 'track' (by the Deck Cadet, or OOW) across the equivalent 'mileage' of 'ocean' daily, between the Union Jack and Stars and Strips flags, and vice-versa.

Did this happen first on QE2?

 

Shipping costs driving inflation

Started by Isabelle ProndzynskiBoard Sea Shanties

Replies: 0
Views: 286
Last post Mar 30, 2022, 09:51 AM
by Isabelle Prondzynski