[QUOTE=freighterman;171602]Two questions, neither of which have to do with the late tragedy, but concern risk assessment and safety culture in a nuts-and bolts sense:
I’m curious as to what “weather routing” services various companies use. In the company I work with, operating 260’ LOA, 1900 IGT palletized freighters in the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, we use Bon Voyage Software (BVS), by Applied Weather Technology (AWT). Several downloads of data per day. Amazing accuracy. Simple but detailed graphics. It simply lays down a proposed trackline to follow to avoid bad weather, based on the waves and wind you want to avoid, and your destination. With every download of data it revises the trackline.(This is not a testimonial. I just wanted to give an idea of how it works).
Years ago when we first started using BVS I admit I was doubtful as to its accuracy, in a part of the world infamous for frequent and volatile low pressure systems. I soon had to eat crow. Its routing suggestions were beating our experienced captains’ ideas on weather routing, more often than not. Captains came to respect its accuracy very quickly. It has revolutionized our operation, which, while not as time sensitive as other maritime trades, still rotates around a rigid schedule.
My question is: How many competitors does AWT have? Does anyone have experience comparing Bon Voyage to another competitor’s system? Which is better?
Separate question (and again, this has nothing to do with the recent tragedy):
On deep-sea vessels are changes in speed still reserved for the captain alone, in any circumstance? What is the practice in other trades (tugs, GoM?)
As a captain operating in the PNW/Alaska area, I tell the mate that the throttle was there to be used, early and often, to avoid danger. Especially on the traffic-filled and rock-strewn Inside Passage of BC and SE Alaska. I tell mates that if they find themselves in a tricky Rules of the Road situation, or in a navigational situation they think they can’t handle on their own, to call me to the wheelhouse immediately and then SLOW DOWN. If they simply want more time to assess a situation I tell them they can slow down, or even hove-to, and not bother calling me. [U]Absent hauling a barge[/U], you can posit all sorts of situations where slowing down a vessel might increase the level of danger, but there are far more cases where slowing the vessel down will reduce the level of danger, giving you more time to suss things out. I have never had cause to regret this standing order, and if I hear the engines reduce RPMs while I was off-watch I always know the mate is being attentive. Nor have I ever had anyone abuse the “privilege” by simply going slow ahead all watch, etc. Certainly on the high seas in bad weather in our trade the mate is expected to change speeds quite often during a watch, and if anything, if the mate catches Hell it’s because it isn’t being done enough.
When I sailed deep-sea for awhile as mate myself, I found that the throttle was sacrosanct, never to be touched by lesser mortals than the captain. A captain told me there was nothing to be gained in any circumstance by slowing a vessel down on the high seas, outside of bad weather. Hyperbole, but he made his point. Don’t ever touch the throttle without his express permission–and I wasn’t going to get that outside of a gale. Certainly, that particular vessel was a steamship (the old Ready Reserve fleet container ship [I]Diamond State[/I]. Changing speed involved all sorts of men and valves in a steamplant which, at the time (First Gulf War) was notoriously touchy.
I’m not making a point here. I’m just interested in the differences in maritime culture and why they come about.[/QUOTE]
This sounds excellent. What does Bon Voyage cost? How do you get the updates? Email? Sat broadband?