CORAL SEA (NNS) – Midshipmen, visiting the forward-deployed Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), were given the opportunity to serve as conning officers during a replenishment-at-sea, Aug. 5.
Sailors and midshipmen manned the bridge's watch stations as Shiloh pulled alongside the fleet replenishment cargo ship USNS Charles Drew (T-AKE 10). The underway replenishment (UNREP) began after the two ships reached a mutual pace, and had a distance of 160-180 feet between them.
The event was used as a teaching tool on the importance of maintaining safe speed and distance during a replenishment-at-sea, as well as introducing the up and coming officers to their future watch stations.
Midshipman 2nd Class Kevin Duc Dinm, of the Merchant Marine Academy said, “Capt. [Adam] Aycock [Shiloh’s commanding officer] taught us about the Venturi Effect. It is the reduction in fluid pressure that results when a fluid flows through a constricted section.”
The Midshipmen learned during a replenishment-at-sea, when the ships are moving in close proximity, the Venturi Effect can cause the two ships to inadvertently move closer to one another and collide. As the ships propel forward while parallel to one another, more water moves at the forward end of the ships and less water moves at the aft ends. The movement of water creates high pressure up forward and low pressure back aft. If the ships move closer together, they can be sucked into the low-pressure zone, like a vortex.
Lt. Amanda Burd, Shiloh’s Operation Officer, explained consequence of not maintaining a 160-180 feet distance from the Charles Drew, if the ships were to come closer together an emergency breakaway procedure would begin and the ships would immediately sail in opposite directions to prevent collision.
After the evolution was complete the midshipmen met with Capt. Aycock, who explained the significance of their practice as conning officers.
“For a few minutes, a 1.5 billion dollar warship and 370 souls were in your hands,” said Aycock.
The experience as conning officers aboard Shiloh will be added to the list of knowledge gained during the midshipmen summer cruise. After the meeting, the midshipmen continued with their daily set of tasks, continuing to grow, learn and become future officers.
Shiloh is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.