22nd July, 2022
The settlement of Narsarsuaq lies deep within the Tunullierfik Fjord, and like the rest of Greenland is very sparsely inhabited, with just 1346 residents. Spirit of Discovery entered the fjord at 0230 this morning, and with extra lookouts and the local knowledge of our Ice Pilots we safely picked our way through the ice. Bergs in the fjord are shed (technical term “calved”) from the nearby glacier. The weather has been good to us again, giving everybody on board a very scenic visit.
A question that the Captain has been asked more than once since we started encountering ice is “How is this ship different to the RMS Titanic?” It’s difficult to know where to begin with such a query. In the 110 years since that tragedy we have seen unbelievable change in shipbuilding techniques, marine technology, and international efforts at regulation. The Titanic was built from thousands of steel plates held together by millions of rivets, hammered home by hardy workmen at the Harland And Wolff shipyard, while Spirit Of Discovery was welded in sections in Papenberg Germany. Titanic had three steam engines driving three fixed propellers, but we have four diesel-electric power plants for two 360-degree azimuth thrusters and two bow-thrusters, giving us excellent ice-avoiding capability.
However, perhaps the most important invention for shipping since those heady days of pre-war Ocean Liners has been Radar. Two lookouts, frozen to their very bones, had to stand watch in Titanic’s crow’s nest and look for hazards to navigation. Nowadays, radars allow the Officers on the bridge to see such hazards from many miles away, and plenty more besides. We can adjust our multitudinous settings to get excellent detection of icebergs, bergy bits and growlers. Just to be safe, we still have lookouts, but now we can afford to keep them comfortable on the bridge.
Deck Cadet Matthew English
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