[FoRK] The World Is Not Flat

Marty Halvorson marty at halvorson.us
Fri Jan 22 12:57:32 PST 2010

Aaron Burt wrote:
"Transferring containers to/from a stack on a pitching ship deck took
some amazing skill."

Not to disparage Aaron's friend, when a ship is tied to a dock, it moves 
very little.

While I was serving on an ammunition ship, we regularly rearmed other 
ships while under way (i.e. in the middle of the ocean and moving). 
While my ship was a relatively stable platform, it still moved quite a 
bit.  When the other ship was a destroyer (or destroyer escort), the 
other ship moved a lot, particularly in rough seas where a tin can could 
roll 10-30 degrees.

The way it worked was; we would send a haul wire over to the other ship 
which was 20-50 feet away and alongside.  They ran the haul wire through 
a pulley and sent the end back.  This was then attached to the carrier 
hook which already had one wire attached.  There was one boom for each 
wire.  The carrier hook was attached to the load of new ammunition which 
could consist of anything from small arms to 8 inch shells.  The load 
was lifted up over the rail, and transferred to the other ship by one 
man operating two winches (with in and out capability), one for each wire.

There was one bosun's mate who never put a load in the water.  He was 
always called on to run the winches when the water was rough.  That's 
saying quite a lot because on a tin can the deck, where the load landed, 
was very close to the water line.  Now that's truly amazing skill.


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