The University of Miami’s Research Vessel F.G. Walton Smith will be one of two ships used to execute the elaborate plans that the CARTHE team has designed for LASER. Lucky, Captain Shawn Lake and the Smith crew have extensive experience working in the Gulf of Mexico. The R/V Walton Smith was actually the first research vessel at the site of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and has gone back several times since the disaster.
Captain Shawn shared with us some of the logistics involved for an extended cruise:
– Consult with Chief Scientist / Principle Investigator to develop a voyage plan. Some times this involves several meetings. In this case, it also included discussions with the crew of the second ship, MascoVIII.
– Loading of science gear 1-3 days before departure and integrating with vessel data systems.
– Provisioning. Plenty of coffee and ice cream. In reality, cost allowed per person is between $17 and $18 a day.
– Top off fuel, water, lube oils, and take on other supplies engineering and deck departments may require for repairs and general maintenance.
– Cleaning interior and setting up cabins for the scientists…Clean Linens!
– Purchase updated charts for new areas and update computer chartware.
– Establish dockage plans, if need be, while away from home dock. Fueling, provisioning and R&R taken at these dockages. LASER will make at least 2 stops in Gulfport, MS.
– Draw up contingency plans for weather and emergencies.
– Check out and inspect vessel running systems.
– Get plenty of rest before departure.