Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Australian Submarine Crew Retention Trouble

The Australian Navy has been having some submarine crew retention problems lately and the government has a solution.
(Source: AU Navy Photo -Collins Class)

From the theage.com.au: Defence to get big spending boost

The Federal Government is planning a huge increase in defence spending to overcome deficiencies in areas such as the submarine service.

Defence sources say the money, to be made available in the May budget, will be used to recruit thousands more defence personnel and offer incentives for existing staff to stay.

Numbers in the submarine service are 25 to 30 per cent below requirements. As a result, the number of days at sea per boat has been cut from a planned 127 this year to 87.

Sources said the navy was having problems retaining WA-based submarine crew members, who were being offered $135,000 to work in the private sector, particularly in the mining industry, almost double their usual pay.

The situation has become so serious that defence is "cold calling" former submarine crews and asking them to return.

Although increases in pay and retention bonuses are an incentive it doesn't help when your only Submarine Rescue system the Remora has been sitting at the bottom of ocean off Western Australia's Rottnest Island since December. I blogged a little about the Remora's problems here back in September 2005.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

To the North Pole

A couple of interesting news items recently relating to the submarines operating at and under the north pole.
First TheSubReport links to an article about the upcoming Ice Exercise 2007 (ICEX-2007). Submarine Force Announces This Year's Ice Exercise Participants
(USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716} north pole 2006 - US Navy Photo)

The USS ALEXANDRIA (SSN 757), home ported in Groton, Conn. will particapate with a Royal Navy Trafalgar class submarine in classified arctic operations in March and April 2007. But if you're not a submariner on SSN 757 or that un-named Royal Navy Trafalgar class submarine you can still reach and submerge at the north pole either this summer or in 2008.

A group called Deep Ocean Expeditions ,that operates science expeditions using the Russian MIR submersibles and support ships, is planning the first ever descent to the Amundsen Plain on the ocean floor of the north pole. From a Russian new service Russian Submersible To Reach 5 Km Depth.

(Russian MIR Submersible - NOAA Photo)

Here is the link to the expedition website "Submersible Dive to the Real North Pole". It's a little rich for me at $80,000USD to dive in the MIR to a 14,500 feet depth at the north pole. As a non-diver it will cost $15,000 to stay aboard the support ship for the duration of the expedition. A lot cheaper than the Russian equivalent to space tourism.

It is a once a lifetime event and an adventure in making history riding a nuclear icebreaker to the north pole and diving in a submersible to the bottom on the arctic ocean at the top of the world.

(Gulf of Alaska seamounts 2002 - NOAA & WHOI Alvin Submersible Video)

The closest I could find to wet the appetite for deep sea exploration is the above video from the Gulf of Alaska.

If anyone wants to fund a blogger on the Expedition I'm willing to go and write about the experience. I'll try not to say it was "way cool".

Friday, March 16, 2007

First Day Back

I've been away from the Submarine Blogosphere for a few months and have missed it. Not to take things too seriously I thought this was appropriate. Enjoy...

And Admiral Stupid on the T-shirt is not my doing, so from one bubblehead to another no disrespect intended.