Author Topic: HMCS Montréal part of navy trial to experiment with reducing crews  (Read 45405 times)

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Offline Not a Sig Op

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Most large commercial vessels, you'll find two on the bridge at most, usually one (officer of the watch) with a ordinary seaman as a look-out (Who may or may not be on the bridge, may be elsewhere on the ship with a radio, particularly on transits). Two on the bridge, maybe three when entering and exiting a busy port.

Over night, most modern vessels will not have any engineering crew in the engine room, with the vessel operating in UMS mode, and the engineering staff only responding to alarms.

More importantly, modern predictive maintenance and a properly run planned maintenance system, coupled with planned maintenance periods can reduce unexpected downtime to a minimum, but it needs to be implemented right out of the yard to be most effective, other than that it's mostly window dressing.

Obviously, the navy needs a substantially larger crew than a commercial vessel, if only for damage control, but, if you're looking at future ships, there are a great many very RELIABLE technology options to help reduce crew requirements.

Offline Underway

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I literally chuckled when I read this. We already sail with only 7 people on the bridge of a CPF! And quite often I had less!
We had:

1x OOW
1x 2OOW
1x Bosn's Mate/Port Lookout
1x Helmsman
1x QM/Throttleman/Stbd Lookout
2x NavComms

Often though, if nothing was going on, I would send one of the 2 Nav Comms down to the CCR, which would leave me with 6. Further, when I was on deployment, we had junior MARS officer trg every morning at 0900 in the Wardroom, and I was required by the NavO to send my 2OOW down for those lectures, leaving me with 5.

I once accidentally sent 2 people to the heads at the same time, also forgetting that I had one of the Nav Comms down in the CCR, which left me with 4 during the First watch. I was startled by it but quickly came up with a plan and briefed my team on how to conduct a MOB with the 4 ppl I had (I'd hit the bong bongs, make the pipe, and conn at the same time).

It can be done!

EDITED: for spelling.

And of course the MCDV's do it with 3-4 on the bridge regularly.   OOW, POOW, helmsman and lookout.  The POOW is often off doing some rounds or sumsuch.

Offline IN ARDUA NITOR

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And of course the MCDV's do it with 3-4 on the bridge regularly.   OOW, POOW, helmsman and lookout.  The POOW is often off doing some rounds or sumsuch.

That is a well crewed KIN Class - IAW SSO only OOW, POOW and Lookout make up the watch on Deck - POOW does rounds hourly. The other "on watch folks" consist of 1 X NCIOP (OpsRm), 1 X NAVCOMM (CCR), 1 X EOOW (MCR) and 1 X Eng Roundsman (MCR/Rounds hourly). This assumes REMAR of 31 and 4th degree of Readiness (1:3 watch rotation). Keep in mind too that the REMAR considers the CBM the third POOW and the SRNCIOP the third ORS.

For IMSRT (NR1 WUPS) in prep for FE we will sail with a crew of 38 or 39. The additional folks vary, but will certainly include 1 X MED Supt (PA or MedTech), 1 X PA Rabble (1 X PAO or 1 X Image Tech), 1 X NCIOP, 1 X BOSN and 1 X BWK. Each formation also funds 1 X NAVCOMM (I assume MARLANT still does). That leaves 1 or 2 bunks for others - nowadays normally AMOC Cert2K trainees.

EDIT to Add : Related to the manning crunch I suppose it is worthwhile mentioning that I sailed for RRI and Sea Trials with 8 (or more) empty bunks.... so 8 OJT/FG opportunities lost.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2016, 14:50:02 by IN ARDUA NITOR »

Offline NavyShooter

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SDM = SHINNADS Dual Military

Same as:

SHINNADS  (SHipboard INtegrated NAvigation Display System)
ECPINS (Electronic Chart Precise Integrated Navigation System)

SHINNADS is an ECPINS.

SDM is the 'upgraded' SHINNADS, which is still an ECPINS.

The blue console on the bridge has "ECPINS" on it, even though it was made by OSL (Offshore Systems Limited) so people (OOW's) call it ECPINS.

Or SDM

Or SHINNADS.

Insert disclaimer statement here....

:panzer:

Offline Colin P

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And of course the MCDV's do it with 3-4 on the bridge regularly.   OOW, POOW, helmsman and lookout.  The POOW is often off doing some rounds or sumsuch.

We ran our cutters and icebreakers with just a OOW, quartermaster and one roaming watchkeeper. Engine room had at least 1 on duty for the smaller ships and maybe 2-3 on the larger.

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If, I'm hearing it correctly, they're going to sail with around 160-165.  That is a substancial drop.  I'm sure it will all go swimmingly, until it doesn't.   :nod:

Offline kratz

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No problem, it's only been 46 years since HMCS KOOTENAY's incident. Even with automation, I believe a crew of approximately 160, would suffer death or injury higher than the 26% suffered in that example. 42 sailors out of 160 crew based on the rates in KOOTENAY's example.
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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I tend to agree, having seen more than my fair share of fires at sea.

With a small crew, your options get limited awful fast.

If you cannot control the damage within the first hour or two, you may well lose the ship, just because of crew exhaustion.

Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Katz, you can't compare the Kootenay explosion (it was not  an "incident") to current attempts at crew reduction risks.

First of all, seven of Kootenay's 9 death were directly attributable to the engine room fireball incinerating the engine room watch. So in an automated unmanned engine room situation, they would not have died. Two more and many of the injured came from the compartment just above, the main cafeteria, which couldn't be evacuated fast enough due to a lack of emergency exiting routes. This was later re-designed on all the St-Laurent's, including the addition of the very useful ladder to the upper deck by the galley survery - which was not present on the Kootenay.

There is no evidence that anyone in Kootenay suffered as a result of a shortage of personnel. There was hard work and exhaustion, for sure, in those that fought the fire afterwards, but in an automated environment, such exhaustion and hard work would only come after the automated system would have failed to stop the fire.

And Colin, I don't deny your post, but with all due respect, the Canadian coast guard is just a government run merchant service. In my (albeit limited) experience with the CCG, any time something even slightly out of the most basic routine occurs, the captain is on the bridge and personally handling everything - just as on a merchant  ship. We don't operate like that in the Navy. If you go through pictures of Canadian warships at sea on the internet, you will see flying from them a white and blue (vertical stripes) pennant flying with  letter flag (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.) flying under it: It means the Captain has handed the whole maneuver over to the XO, the Ops O, the Nav O , etc. When was the last time you saw a captain in the coast guard tell the fourth officer: you do the alongside in Quebec City today! Navy C.O.'s do that all the time [Primary duty of a CO is to train his/her replacement - As C.O., I never handled more than about 40% of all close quarter maneuvers or alongsides]

Offline Half Full

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The great smash that's coming with the engineering side is going to be what kills me or really torpedoes my morale I fear.

Let's not start circling the wagons and protecting empires before even studying the possibility of merging the Engineering trades.  We screwed up royaly years back by not merging the combat trades...but hopefully that gets back on track soon.  We need to adapt to technology, and use it to make our lives easier.  If we continually resort to, "that's not the way it was done in my day" arguments, we'll end up failing to adapt to reality. We have to be able to recognize that maybe there is a better way to "skin the cat" because we NEED to get personnel numbers down.  As a Force we are currently unaffordable moving forward.  Personnel costs are more than 55% of our budget.  And we won't be getting any influx of cash from the government.  If you want a balance, agile, effective force you need to drop that personnel percentage down to the 30-40% range.  Ideally you'd have 33% personnel, 33% O&M and 33% capital projects.  This is never going to happen with the number of people we currently have.  If it means we need to do less, than so be it, however, with only a few exceptions, I would bet that with technology, we could have less people doing more, more effectively than the many people we have now doing what we are doing.
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Yes, I'm quite sure that will the correct balance of automation, risk assessment and reassignment, capability considerations, roles, manning and modifying procedures for fighting/sailing the ship, almost anything will be possible...  in vessels that are designed as such.  CPF are not such a beast.

And don't kid yourself, it's being studied.  Has been for a considerable time in fact.  The decision on the way ahead will be made this spring, then implementation plans will commence.

Maybe my fears are groundless.  Hopefully they are.  I am, however, at a loss to understand how it will be easier to try and do what was already a struggle while adding new roles and tasks on top of less personnel to accomplish it all.  Perhaps I'm just thick.




Offline NavyShooter

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Well,

I'm 4 1/2 years into the W Eng conversion....when I was one of the Senior Instructors at CFNES following the change (about a year after) I made a conscious decision...I refused to sign a course report that had the word "TECHNICIAN" in it.  I made the instructors use the word "MAINTAINER" because we simply have not made a new Technician at CFNES in 4 1/2 years.

It's interesting to note that apparently the RMS trades are splitting again...I guess the common trade didn't work when it came to specialized knowledge? 

Does that sound familiar?  Are there trades onboard that have specialized technical knowledge?

Hrm. 

Truth be told though, the amount of times you need more than just a maintainer has been small (so far) but as the HFX class get older, there will be more things breaking, and things that don't normally go bad, will (see ARC-FLASH program for an idea of what can go wrong with old high voltage power systems.)

Can you sail a ship with less people than the normal 210 base complement of crew?  Yes.

Will you be able to do everything that you could before when you go down to 160?  No, or at least, not for as long (sustainment will be an issue for large evolutions.)

I know there's people onboard who are truly not very busy, but knocking 50 people out of the ship...wow....that's going to be interesting.

NS

Insert disclaimer statement here....

:panzer:

Offline George Wallace

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Can you sail a ship with less people than the normal 210 base complement of crew?  Yes.

Will you be able to do everything that you could before when you go down to 160?  No, or at least, not for as long (sustainment will be an issue for large evolutions.)

I know there's people onboard who are truly not very busy, but knocking 50 people out of the ship...wow....that's going to be interesting.

NS

I wonder if this is nothing more than what we used to do in the RCD in Germany.  Man the tanks and Recce vehicles minus on crew member on some of the vehicles, and then fill those slots when deployed on Gun Camps, Exercises, etc. ?  In this case, crewing the ships with less pers, then topping them up when deploying on a six month, or longer, deployment?
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jollyjacktar

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When I was a Mo Gunner, we used to have a 5 vs 7 (as prescribed) man crew.  We did with what we had and found a full crew a pain as the extra 2 guys were underfoot.   We normally sent them back from the gum position to the stand easy.  I'm sure if we were really doing sustained operations it might have needed 7 men.

Keeping a warship going on the other hand is something different indeed.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2016, 19:26:28 by jollyjacktar »

Offline MARS

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Can you sail a ship with less people than the normal 210 base complement of crew?  Yes.

Will you be able to do everything that you could before when you go down to 160?  No, or at least, not for as long (sustainment will be an issue for large evolutions.)


And this, in my opinion, is the crux of the issue.  "Fight-Move-Float" isn't a just a catchy phrase, it is the spectrum of Command priorities at any given moment in time.

Does every ship in the RCN need to be able to Fight at all times?  Absolutely not.  Does it even need to be able to Move at all times?  Nope.  It does need to Float though.  But most of the Navy appears to be locked into the all-seeing, all dancing, must be capable of a full spectrum of operations All.The.Time.

Damage Control requirements do differ somewhat, depending on whether your requirement is to Fight, Move or just Float.

I've seen it too often: a Standard/Normal Readiness ship going off to do a FISHPAT, or Op CARIBBE or whatever non-High Readiness mission, and there it is...  the friggin Starboard butter-cutter listed as a CRITICAL shortage.  CCFL was completely correct a few years ago when he told all of us COs to cut that crap out.  "Watch and Station Bill requirements" was no longer an appropriate justification in a personnel shortage message.

Its a simple matter of the Operational Planning principles, namely Restraints, which in this case is a shrinking establishment that is going to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Does a FFH need to be able to conduct a Heavy Jackstay on Op CARIBBE?  Even a night RAS?  24/7 help ops?  Not at all.  Frankly, the mission isn't important enough.  And if that FFH suffers a massive blackout due to a lack of maintainers and techs, and sits dead-in-the-water for a whole bunch of hours (BTDT), and eventually is towed into port for repairs and the rest of the mission is a scrub: so what?  That is the kind of risk we must be willing to accept.

Like Chief Stoker wrote a few posts ago, KINGSTON-Class CO' Chief Engineers, indeed from the MS-level on up, have been managing this risk since the inception of the Class.  I don't recall hearing any howls of discontent over the last 20 years of their existence.  This "new trial" for the FFH's has been the reality of the little ships since forever.  It's about time, as ER Campbell has pointed out many times, that the Navy, as an institution, start coming to grips with the fact that for some, less critical missions, we are going to have to accept an 80% (or less) solution in terms of mission accomplishment.  And we are going to have to start accepting manageable risk to equipment and yes, personnel.  Again, as a KINGSTON-Class CO, that was my day to day.  Chief Stoker and I would discuss these issue at length in my cabin, understanding the grim reality that in the event of a multi scene DC situation, we were likely going to lose some of our crew. 

Having briefed both Fleet Commanders back in June about making further reductions to KINGSTON-Class Engineering personnel, I can assure you that the Admirals get it at least.  How well we manage to come out of this inevitable reality will depend wholly on the backbone of the Navy - the Chiefs and petty Officers.  It will be their ideas, their their expert opinion based on years of experience that will generate the best, safest and most effective solutions to doing more with less.  However, if the Chiefs and Petty Officers choose not to engage and hope that the trial will somehow prove to be a failure, then we will have lost.  Because this trial won't fail.  I think 'trial' is probably the wrong word.  It implies that status quo might remain an option,  It won't.

My 2 cents.
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Offline Dimsum

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MARS, you're also comparing a ship that is built to commercial standards IIRC, not as tech heavy, serviced under an in service contract.  The AOPS will be more along that line of design and intent will be designed, built and equipped with a smaller crew from the get go.  Hell, for that matter it's not even intended to go into combat. 

A heavy is a different bird.  They can pare down, but that will come at costs.  I cannot speak for the non-engineering side of the house as that is not my area of experience.  Yes, sure you be able to cut into the engineers to some degree.  But you can only spread the butter so far so thin.  These ships are getting older and like any older vehicle they get harder and harder to maintain.  Most of my sailing as been on the tankers, we were rarely it seemed to be able to get to the PM as the CM was always knocking on the shop door and it only got exponentially more so as they aged.  The CPF are getting the same in many respects as they age from my experience.  Of course, we will reply "Aye, Aye" and carry on as directed.  We always do.

As I said earlier, I'm sure it will all go swimmingly.  Until it doesn't.  I believe that will be as true tomorrow as it has in the past. 


Offline Nuggs

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Land the coxn first, that'll save you one bunk.
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Offline Colin P

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Katz, you can't compare the Kootenay explosion (it was not  an "incident") to current attempts at crew reduction risks.

First of all, seven of Kootenay's 9 death were directly attributable to the engine room fireball incinerating the engine room watch. So in an automated unmanned engine room situation, they would not have died. Two more and many of the injured came from the compartment just above, the main cafeteria, which couldn't be evacuated fast enough due to a lack of emergency exiting routes. This was later re-designed on all the St-Laurent's, including the addition of the very useful ladder to the upper deck by the galley survery - which was not present on the Kootenay.

There is no evidence that anyone in Kootenay suffered as a result of a shortage of personnel. There was hard work and exhaustion, for sure, in those that fought the fire afterwards, but in an automated environment, such exhaustion and hard work would only come after the automated system would have failed to stop the fire.

And Colin, I don't deny your post, but with all due respect, the Canadian coast guard is just a government run merchant service. In my (albeit limited) experience with the CCG, any time something even slightly out of the most basic routine occurs, the captain is on the bridge and personally handling everything - just as on a merchant  ship. We don't operate like that in the Navy. If you go through pictures of Canadian warships at sea on the internet, you will see flying from them a white and blue (vertical stripes) pennant flying with  letter flag (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.) flying under it: It means the Captain has handed the whole maneuver over to the XO, the Ops O, the Nav O , etc. When was the last time you saw a captain in the coast guard tell the fourth officer: you do the alongside in Quebec City today! Navy C.O.'s do that all the time [Primary duty of a CO is to train his/her replacement - As C.O., I never handled more than about 40% of all close quarter maneuvers or alongsides]

With 2 of the Captains we had, we would have been better off had the Mate being doing the docking  [:p
I know it's apples and oranges and we had a fair share of issues with multiple tasks as well. On the R class if the Captain trusted the Mate then he would, on the 1100's the Captain would be on the bridge, the good ones would allow the Mate to bring the ship in as a way to learn. Plowing through light ice the Captain I was with let the Mate run the ship with instructions to call under certain conditions.

Offline Lumber

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Question:

What do merchant vessels do for line handlers? When we come alongside, we have 6 lines with 4-5 ppl per line, plus a 3x part-ship ICs and a 3x part-ship safety officers, plus the Buffer and DeckO. That's already triple (quardruple?) the crew of a merchie!

Recommendation:

Switch to IMPs, no more need for cooks, stewards, and maybe even a storesman. Who needs morale?  ;D

Seriously though, I'm really curious as to who they're going to take out to get down to 165. I've sailed with that few, but it was just a cruise to St. John's an back.

Ditch the ping-bosns? Limited watchkeepers to the Decko, NavO and CISO.plus 3 trainees? No more phase 6 engineers? Only 1 pay clerk? 

For exercises/operations where you aren't expecting any combat, you could literally get rid the entire Ops room. If you're going on a constabulary mission like Op Carribbe where you need enhanced tracking and basic self defence, you could go with:

1 x ORO + 1 xASWC on a 1-in-2 rotation;
2 x Track Sup on 1-in-2 rotation;
2 x NESOP for Elisra in a 1-in-2 rotation;
And whatever you need for a minimum TAS team.

Look, I just cut the combat department in half.
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Offline NavyShooter

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Minimum TAS team: 
3 in OPS + CSE team (4 pers) in Towed Array comp't, but they're not closed up all the time.

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Offline Hamish Seggie

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I'm a land lubber but it looks like some Good Idea Fairy has reinvented "do more with less".
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Offline Nuggs

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You can drop about 10 Nav Comms
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Offline Occam

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You can drop about 10 Nav Comms

Until the first time your internet, DWAN, CSNI or any other network link craps the bed...

And who are you going to get to configure radio equipment and circuits?

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You navy guys seem to spend a whole lot of time baling, compared to the civvies.  Maybe you would be better off finding builders whose boats didn't leak.   >:D
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