Morning’s Bridge Watch (0730-1130)
At 0800, the 0730 to 1130 Bridge Watch team of the TS Kennedy was met with some excitement as the tanker vessel Mariline was spotted on the radar computer. This was later visually confirmed by 4/C Kevin Graves (MTRA-Ryneyville, KY), who made visual contact on the port side flying bridge with his pair of binoculars (seen 2 points off the port bow. The call sign (LAIY), length (174 meters), and destination (Cristobal) could all be seen using the publicly-accessible AIS (Automatic Information System) data on the ship’s computers. To understand the ship’s intentions, 1/C Charlie Malone (MTRA-Media, PA), who was the acting COOW (Cadet Officer on Watch) at the time, contacted the ship before the nearest point of approach. “This is the Training Ship Kennedy,” he said over the radio before inquiring as to what their desired course of action would be. This exchange was under the careful supervision of Mate Kelly (Mate on Watch), who offered suggestions to the COOW. Once the port to port passage was decided upon by the representatives of both vessels, 4/C Eric Brosnan (MENG-Manchester, CT) was relieved from his duties as helmsman by a senior cadet to ensure the maneuver went smoothly. During the closest point of approach, the vibrant-orange Mariline was 1.8nm (nautical miles) away from the TS Kennedy.
Shortly following this event at 0819, another ship of a different class would make a near-approach to our ship. The vessel Monarch, a passenger ship bound for Colon, Panama, appeared on radar and two points off the starboard side. Once again, 1/C Malone made contact via radio with the Monarch to ascertain the best course of action. He began by saying, “Motor vessel Monarch (x3) this is TS Kennedy (x3) Channel 13, over.”
With an adjustment in course by the helmsman to a bearing of 076 degrees. Using a radar transfer plotting sheet, the course of each ship relative to the Kennedy’s path was marked down on paper for later reference by one of the 1st Class cadets. Like before, the CPA of the Monarch would be 1.8nm from the TS Kennedy. With 4/C Shae Smith (MTRA-Groveland, MA) on the helm altering our course to 050 degrees, the cruise ship safely passed alongside starboard to starboard.
As an aside, all 4/C cadets operating the steering mechanism on the helm of our ship are supervised by an upperclassman at all times.
After the fervor of these approaches had passed, Mate Kelly posed a question to his the sophomores and seniors on the Bridge: “Is anyone else out there or is that going to be our two exciting targets for the day?”
With 584 nautical miles of ocean left to traverse to reach Curacao, the TS Kennedy sailed through 8 - 10 foot seas at approximately 12 knots. Each of the 4/C cadets on the Bridge Watch had the opportunity to steer the ship during this cycle. Over the course of the day, the seas would settle and our speed was increased to 15.2 knots. Hopes and dreams are all set on reaching Willemstad tomorrow morning.