Monday, July 14, 2008

July 11, 2008 - Security Check

Yesterday all the scientists on board had a security briefing. Being in an isolated place such as this research vessel, surrounded only by the blue, near-freezing Southern Ocean, requires special attention of all of us. We need to be prepared if an emergency situation occurs, such as a fire, people falling in the water (‘man overboard’), or in an extreme case, abandoning the ship if it is sinking. Abandoning the ship is the last thing we all would like to see happen. But if deemed necessary, we need to be prepared and trained for it. The chief mate Sebastian explained the importance of the survival suits, which are giant orange rubber suites that make us look like Gumbi. We put them on if we need to leave the ship by jumping into the water . In the pictures you can see our top models Rhian Waller (Univ. of Hawaii) and Brian Pointer (North Carolina State University) struggling to get into the survival suits.

We also had to practice our ‘emergency plan’ for boarding the life boat. This small boat fits 40 people and contains food and water for 4 days. This time span also represents the most likely time interval for being rescued by another vessel; after four days it is much less likely that the boat would be found. Listening to all those statistics make us even more cautious with safety procedures aboard the ship. We must all be very careful with the flammable chemicals, of which there are lots on board.

After all the security meetings and briefings in the afternoon, people had free time to loosen their minds and bodies. Some of them went to the gym, others went to the Lounge room to watch a movie, and others found some space to play basketball in the empty helicopter hanger. Yes! It is true! We do have space for that on the ship. Craig Smith, Dave Demaster and their
students went for a match on the O3 deck from 8:00 pm until 10:0 pm. Time long enough for an ankles turned a finger jammed but no serious injuries. Take care guys; we need those bodies ready to rock in a few days when real work starts!!

Today at 3:00 pm, our first scientific meeting is scheduled in the Conference room. The Principal Investigators Craig Smith and Dave DeMaster will assign people into two 12-hour watches and give them their main tasks during the watch. We will be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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