Officers on Modern Ships


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Adam Lang

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Hello everyone,

Recently, I have been wondering about the amount of deck officers on today's liners. How many are there on the average ship today, like, lets say, the QM2 (besides the captain)? Are there 7ish like on Titanic (a little more, though, given its difference in size)? I'd guess that the need for deck officers hasn't changed much since then, but I'd still like to know if I'm right or not. Anyone have any input on this?
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-Adam Lang
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I can't really speak to that myself since my experience was with the military...a very officer rich environment. Some would argue overly so. (I wouldn't as the needs of the military are quite different.) The merchent marine get's by with far less. I think you'll find that my civilian shipmates would know a lot more about it, but overall, I don't think the numbers of officers have changed that signifigently over the past century.
 

Noel F. Jones

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May 14, 2002
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"Recently, I have been wondering about the amount of deck officers on today's liners."

Adam, we don't have any true point-to-point 'liners' these days; they have all been superseded by air transport. We have peripatetic things called cruise ships and we have ferries. Many ro-ro ferries are bigger than Titanic in terms of gross tonnage and the number of passengers carried.

The watchkeeping officer complement, both deck and engine, has expanded since Titanic's day to allow for the three-watch regime. Other than that the basic staffing remains the same. The radio officers however have been rendered redundant by the advent of VHF communications.

There are other changes such as the addition of specialist electronics officers but these are usually on the engine room staff.

Counter to this is the advent of the 'unmanned engine room' whereby engine movements are controlled from the bridge and which has reduced the need for engineer officers.

On short-haul ferries the crews work on a watch aboard/watch ashore basis on something like a thirty-day cycle. Also the deck officer complement is augmented to allow for them being on almost permanent 'stand-by' due to the short passage and heavy traffic conditions in seaways such as the Dover Strait.

This isn't the complete picture; it depends on how far you want to take this...

Noel
 
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Adam Lang

Guest
No, that's great; thanks Noel!

About the liners, I was thinking more about the Cunard liners, but those would be the same as your ordinary cruise ship the same size, speaking in terms of deck officers. I realize that the QM2 was the only ocean liner since 30+ years, but do you know if there are any others in operation (other than QM2, QE2, and the upcoming QV) perhaps by another company?

-Adam Lang
 

Noel F. Jones

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The vessels you mention are transatlantic 'liners' only insofar as they make positioning voyages to comply with their cruising schedules. The few token point-to-point passages they may make (QE2 usually) fulfil a very narrow demand at a particular 'fair-weather' time of the year (nobody these days is going to pay good money for winter passage with the prospect of punching through heavy weather for days on end!).



I'm not aware of any vessels offering line services in other parts of the world but that's not to say there aren't any. Possibly there may be services off the Australian coast which fulfil a 'cruise' market as well as offering straight passage to south Pacific islands; operators like Burns Philp if they're still going. Perhaps some of our antipodean contributors might confirm?

Noel
 
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Adam Lang

Guest
Hmm, I'm actually really surprised that some other smart line other than Cunard doesn't offer world voyages like QE2 does. The concept of riding on a classic-looking ocean liner and trotting globe would thrill me, but I don't know about everyone else. It would be interesting to see another line build actual ocean liners and do specifically world voyages.

But I guess that ocean liners must cost just a bit more to make than cruies ships, but that's just a guess, if anyone wants to confirm it.
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-Adam Lang
 
Dec 2, 2000
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I think that overall, you'll find that most of the market is oriented towards cruising because that's about the limit of what most people can afford. Round the world cruises aren't exactly what one would call super cheap and if you want to go on one, you best be ready to pony up one hell of a lot of cash for the privilege.

If more people could afford a round the world cruise, you might see a change in that but since most people can't, the shipping lines have to cater to the market that exists.
 

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