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11 Nov - Major Incident Rehearsal

RRS Ernest Shackleton Diary

Position at 1200 (UTC - 3 hours): 51°54'S  58°26'W (Alongside Main Jetty, East Cove, Falkland Islands)
Next destination: Signy Island
ETA: November 2001
Distance to go: 709.1 NM
Total Distance Sailed this Season: 7089.9.6NM

Current weather: 
Wind:  NW'ly x Force 5 to 6
Barometric pressure: 995.1  mb
Sea state: Harbour calm
Air temperature: 15.2°C.
Sea temperature: 9.8°C.

The Ernest Shackleton departed Montevideo on the afternoon of Monday November 05. The following morning we had our first sighting of penguins, less than two hundred miles south of Uruguay.

The Falkland Islands lie about one thousand miles to the south of Uruguay and as we made steady progress towards them, there was a marked change in the temperature, both air and sea.

During the journey down time was made to practice a 'Major Incident', to test the response of all onboard to a large scale emergency. This initially started with the fire detection system indicating that there was a problem in the Paint Store and the Wet Lab., both located at the aft end of the ship. The alarm was sounded and everyone mustered. The two fire-fighting parties made ready and within a few minutes were able to be directed to the scene of the problem. During the muster it was discovered that five personnel were missing, last seen painting. With this in mind a search was organised by one of the fire teams and soon casualties were being recovered and once it became obvious that there were a large number of casualties a 'Major Incident' was declared by the Doctor.

As the hospital is only suitable for one patient, when a major incident is declared this then means moving as much of the medical equipment down to the ships Mess Room, which becomes the Casualty Clearing Station. Also taken to the Mess are mattresses from the nearest cabins to act as beds for patients.

The patients are assessed at the scene of the incident and those most in need of treatment are moved down to the Casualty Clearing Station and a medical team of trained first aiders, with advice from the Doctor, then start treatment.

The exercise held on Thursday proved to be very beneficial and much was gained from it. All in all about an hour was spent on the scenario.

Sunset the night before arriving in the Falklands Sunset Thursday evening, prior to our arrival in the Falklands. Click the image to enlarge.

Friday morning saw the the vessel arrive at East Cove in the Falkland Islands. The weather was glorious, with a cloudless sky but a strong wind blowing. Soon after arriving cargo operations began. Part of the cargo loaded in the UK was for trans-shipment to the James Clark Ross and this had to be lifted from the hold to be stored in a transit shed a short distance from the berth. The James Clark Ross is due into East Cove later in the week following her visit to Signy Island.

The Ernest Shackleton alongside at East Cove, 
Falkland Islands. The Ernest Shackleton alongside at East Cove, Falkland Islands. The St. Brandon is in the background. Click the image to enlarge.

Forthcoming events: Depart Falkland Islands on Tuesday bound for Signy Island.

The next update will be written on Sunday 18 November and should be published on Monday November

Mike Gloistein