And, since I brought it up…
Yes that is what the XO (or Chief Officer on a merchant ship) is supposed to do, but the question is about their ability to do so competently. IF the CO (or Master) is always there and in charge when the ship is entering and leaving ports, or in all difficult situations, how does the XO (Mate) get experience?
I know from the Offshore industry that the Master were/are frequently the only one to actually handle the boat during anchor handling and mooring operations. The Chief Engineer would be the only winch operator.
Some Masters looked at this as “job security”, in other cases it was standing instructions from the company. The result are frequently badly fatigued boat handlers and winch operators.
As sole Rig Mover I would be the same. 36 hr. without sleep would not be unusual, but far from safe.
Then I came on a Norwegian AHTS to witness their handling of anchors in >2000 m. of water off Papua, Indonesia. The Master and Mate did their regular 6 hr. rotation, with the 2nd Mates assisting and operating the winches, also rotating ev. 6 hrs.
Going alongside at the base or the rig was left to the 2nd Mates, but with the Master or Mate on the bridge. A VERY unusual thing for me, who were used to “the way it had always been done”.
You may gain knowledge from schooling and some experience from simulators, but only hands on operation prepares you for the day you are in command.
I know, I have been there and became “instant expert” the day I took command of my first ship, in 1971, (Also in Papua by the way)
One of the jobs of the CO is to ensure that the XO is ready to assume command. Often times the XO of a DDG will “fleet up” to become the CO when the current CO leaves, then the Navy will assign a new XO.
I’ve seen COs let the XO run evolutions from the bridge and just act as a backstop in case things go south, but of course the CO is always there for such things.
If a CO’s not setting up the XO to take over, then they’re already failing in their duties as a CO.
Maybe not in the Navy but I’ve heard of it happening in the offshore fleet (on an AHTS to be exact).
It’s apparently not only on board their warship the US Navy have problems:
Being on a “new” ship myself, yeah there’s problems in the shipyards, at least the one I was at for a year.
In dealing with the current malaise that seems to be afflicting the U.S. Navy I think they should consider taking a page from the playbook of the British Navy back in the 18th century, when Britannia Ruled the Waves: Shoot an Admiral!_ It seemed to work for them back in 1757 when they shot Admiral John Byng, the British Admiralty stating that it was meant to emphasize to Royal Naval Officers their need to “do their utmost”. Voltaire sardonically commented that it was necessary for the British Navy to shoot an Admiral from time to time in order to “encourage the others” Seemed to work. I am pretty sure that shooting a U.S. Navy Admiral would at the very least gratify some personnel in the lower ranks.
As the French describe the process: Pour encourager les autres
For those who haven’t already decided that they KNOW what’s wrong with the Navy and why they get hit by merchant ships, this interesting article, reflecting on some Royal Navy history and command philosophy. I’m not expressing any opinion about whether this author is right or wrong…in fact he seems to not be sure himself…but it is nevertheless an interesting read worth reflecting on. For one thing, it reminds us that the Navy’s primary mission is not, in fact, safe navigation. Not to say that it’s not necessary to their primary mission, but getting the ship and it’s burden safely from point A to point B is NOT what the Navy is about. Draw you own conclusions. It’s an enjoyable sea story anyway.
(sorry, it’s a long winded link, but it works!)
Using that logic, no vessel’s primary mission is safe navigation. We all have an ulterior motive to be going where we are going, but it is “fundamental” I believe you said, “necessary.” I feel there is a slight but important difference.
Fundamental- forming a necessary base or core; of central importance.
(ie.something that is always present and utilised while accomplishing something else)
Necessary- required to be done, achieved, or present; needed; essential
(ie.something to be achieved so then you can proceed to engage to something else)
Certainly in the context of battle a Captain may knowingly take his ship into harm’s way, but that is a horse of an entirely different hue. A good Captain also wouldn’t abandon seamanship in the process.
It was a good read.
A multi-million dollar weapons platform in a stateside dry dock isn’t useful.
While the Navy’s primary mission may not be safe navigation, unsafe navigation certainly is costing them a lot of valuable time and money NOT accomplishing their primary mission. We get it, they gotta go shoot at and spy on stuff, but they can’t do that with a big hole in their hulls.
I entirely agree that “fundamental” is different and a good choice here. If I had been reflecting about it more, perhaps “necessary and fundamental” might have come to mind.
And make no mistake, I did NOT intend to suggest that different primary mission as a justification for any errors like the unfortunate recent events. I was presuming to interpret what the author appeared to be suggesting in the article: that maybe the war fighting mindset that underlies the training and operational philosophy might explain some things. Which does not necessarily justify them.
It would appear that it explains why they don’t transmit on AIS, and thank God they have rethought that one a bit!
Thanks for the comment.
Neither is any other ship. A survey ships primary mission is surveying, a tug is towing, a MSC tanker is unrep, etc.
As others have said, it certianly is fundamental, and being such should be held in the highest regard, especially when it is causing more damage than the enemy.
Warships in general, and Destroyers in particular are synonymous with speed and manouevering. Being dead in the water is bad for business. Therefore safe navigation is very essential.
Thanks for the comic relief.
If a Navy ship can’t get from A to B then it isn’t worth much when B stands for Battle does it?
What you wrote is like saying that a fighter pilot’s job is to shoot down the enemy or drop bombs, not to know much about how to fly an airplane to the field of battle.
Willy JP used a double negative, He is saying safe navigation IS necessary.
Just going by what he wrote, not what he or someone else might think. Words have meanings, internet grammar is notoriously bad, and text does not convey feelings unless the words match them.
Maybe that is why emoticons were invented …
I understood, that he meant safe navigation IS Necessary.
I just felt it was MORE than necessary, that it was “fundamental.”
Shooting free throws is a fundamental of basketball. Imagine Shaq’s stats if he had ever learned that fundamental. Free throws were “Necessary” so he went through through motions.
That’s the difference to me.
Minor point, but tankers transport and oilers unrep.