Incredible Time Lapse Shows How Navy Ships Are Resupplied At Sea

Ship resupply missions are probably the most boring function of a carrier group … unless of course you have cool cameras that crunch that several hour process into a mere minute.

In the video you’ll see the resupply ship — the Royal Navy’s Fort Victoria — pull up alongside the ship receiving supplies — amphibious assault ship USS Kearsage.

Special lines are secured, working parties are assembled, and then the fun begins:

Unfortunately I have no idea about life on ship, so I reached out to a few people about this process.

Here are their comments (light editing for clarity):

Aaron, USMC — “Initially a line is shot across using a special rifle, then more robust cables are used. Usually refueling lines get strung up also, but didn’t see those. Often helos shuttle pallets back and forth as well. All this occurs as a massive working party is assembled in ship and all the stuff is passed along until it gets where it needs to go.”

James, USN — They shot lines are for initial connection to bring across the phone and distance lines which monitor distance between the ships and allow for sound powered telephone connection. Once the span wire is connected, the fuel lines are sent on it across. The goods being transferred will be directly transferred on this as well. Like [Aaron] said above, most times anything but fuel will be sent via helo.

Brooks, USN — You have coloured flags on the lines every 20 feet in the following colour sequence (green, red, yellow, blue, white, green, repeat). This gives the ship drivers an idea of the distance between both ships. When we worked with a carrier we kept it at about 120 feet.

Sounds like a big distance but trust me, it sure didn’t seem like it. The carrier or oiler is always the stand on vessel. The ship receiving the fuel/goods drives up alongside. Receiving ship will stand astern with the “Romeo” flag at the dip or half mast. When the delivery ship is ready to receive, she will close up (ie. raise) her Romeo flag to full staff or all the way up the halyard on the receiving side. Messenger lines are shot across by the delivery ship to the receiving ship.

Rygar, USMC — We did a lot of all day [resupplies] … 150 Navy personnel, 150 Marines in the working parties, mostly junior members. Some resupplies started at 0900 and ran into when I came in on nights. Being that I was nights I missed out on all
of these except once when I joined in. I was part of a huge-arse assembly line throwing boxes of food into storage areas.

They have a little tradition on the ship I’m on, but when we finally detach from the [resupply] ship they play a song over the intercom … So basically I’d be woken up at around 2-3 in the afternoon to Thriller (the full version) or Gangnam style …

Aaron — Yup we had the songs too. Forgot about those. Typically a very loud rock song.

Rygar — Thunderstruck … Bad company … The classics mostly …

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