I was privileged to ship aboard HMCS Protecteur to capture events during one “RIMPAC”. This is an exercise where, in this case, 8 navies from our Pacific coast neighbours work together.
It was a great experience for me to travel aboard the supply ship for the operation and see how the “RAS” -Replenishment at Sea- operation unfolded. In this painting you can see how the lines were set up to move the fuel and water pipes across from Protecteur to the receiving vessel. It is a complex operation and safety is of prime importance. See explanation below.
Until the buffer realized that I was an experienced seafarer and would not get myself in danger, I was required to remain at quite a distance from the action. But very quickly he realized that I knew my way around and he allowed me to get close enough to photograph and sketch things.
Five weeks aboard allowed me to get to know my shipmates and become good friends with many of them. Tea time on the Protecteur is something I will always talk about.
Following is an explanation of what is happening in the painting:
Prior to conducting a replenishment at sea, the seamen/women (or bosuns) must prepare all the necessary gear. Messengers, or lines, to be passed between the ships must be “flaked out” on deck so that they will not become entangled as they run out. Once the lines have been prepared, a rifle will be used to fire a “gun line” that will be attached to other lines increasing in size and strength. Finally a taut wire is passed. down which will ride travellers supporting the large, heavy fuel lines as they are paid out from the tanker to the other vessel. Replenishment techniques were developed during the Second World War to enable ships to stay at sea longer, especially during lengthy convoy deployments.