Sunday, May 10, 2015

All @ Sea! Photo of the Day 10 May 2015

This is what we do, here aboard John Lenthall.

Today's photo is of the Australian replenishment ship HMAS Success taking on fuel and supplies from Lenthall.  Running less than two hundred feet apart, the two ships pass lines across the water rushing between them.  Teams on each deck handle the lines, which allow them to pull thick wire-rope "wires" over to make a substantial link; it is across these wires that fuel hoses and pallets of cargo will move.

This process is called Underway Replenishment, or UNREP.  Only a few minutes after rendezvous the fuel is pumping and stores moving; hundreds of thousands of gallons of aviation "avgas" or distillate (DFM), hundreds of pallets being transferred efficiently to our customer.  In the case of Success, we topped-off her DFM load and sent her on her way in just a few hours; a smaller ship such as a destroyer or cruiser takes considerably less time to replenish.

Watching an UNREP in progress, or being involved in one, is almost mesmerising.  Hose teams at work, forklifts moving cargo to and from transfer stations, even helicopters "picking" netted bundles of pallets from our flight deck and slinging them over to the receiving ship--it's a noisy, complicated ballet, carefully choreographed and well-rehersed; it's the process of naval logistics, and it's what makes the Fleet work.

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