Sunday, February 7, 2010

Even the Russians know they suck, Part II

B. The ship.

1. “Presence on board of unnecessary, but potentially dangerous objects and materials”.

French officers paid attention to the presence on board the BPK of a large number of:

- large mirrors (which can shatter during explosions and seriously cut people standing nearby; and the shards are potentially dangerous);

- plastic and wooden surfaces (which burn well and put out toxic smoke).

The sauna is potentially dangerous.

In the French Navy, the presence on board of dangerous objects and materials without good reason is categorically and strictly controlled. (Note: Big handwritten exclamation mark here).

2. “Slippery decks: both the weather decks and the interior spaces”.

The metal decks, especially when they are wet or covered in salt, are very slippery. There is a great probability of falling and receiving serious injury during pitching. The guests often slipped. The decks on French ships (as well as on American, British and Norwegian ships) are covered with a rough paint which limits slipping even when wet. The ladders also have a special coating, kind of like emory board, that limits slipping.

3. “Many commands given on the 1MC”

Only reveille and the command to begin damage control training and the man overboard drill were announced over the 1MC on the Tourville. All underway evolutions, including watch change, happened without a command. The crew acted on their own in accordance with the plan of the day. (Note: Handwritten exclamation mark here).

4. “Radar detection of air targets didn’t work all the time”.

The air search and surface search radars on the French ships were on in active mode constantly, monitoring the air and surface picture. (Note: Bit exclamation mark in the margin here). On the BPK, the air search radar was periodically switched off, resulting in the detection of a British Nimrod and a British civilian helicopter only after they made a low altitude flyby.

5. “There is no accessible and clear way to deliver ship wide information to the crew”.

Russian liaison officers were invited to briefings held once per day on board the Tourville and the Latouche-Treville for the officers. Briefing topics included: weather forcast, disposition of foreign forces in the sailing area, the plan of the day for the current day and a provisional plan of the day for the next day, training events for the joint training and a supply and armament report. Information was presented in the form of slides, projected on the screen with interesting photographs made that day. There is a television in the central corridor on which the whole crew could watch information about the briefing.

There were similar events on board the BPK twice a day. Information was provided to the underway staff officers only, using maps. The French liaison officers weren’t invited. No notes were given to the crew.

6. “Hygiene on board the ship”.

On board the more than thirty year old Tourville, there was hot and cold fresh water in all the compartments and showers all the time. (Note: in the margin, someone scribbled “No comment!!!”). The Tourville boils about a hundred tons of fresh water a day.

French officers were surprised that onboard the most modern Russian ship, provision of hot water to the staterooms wasn’t even planned for and that cold water was available once a day for ten minutes.

The entire crew (450 people) washed once every ten days, over the course of eight hours. Each man had three to four minutes in the shower. The French officers paid attention to the appearance of the Russian sailors. By the end of the deployment, lice was found on the sailors. (Note: Exclamation mark in the margin).