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Naval Officers experience Merchant Navy life

13 July 2016
Sub Lieutenants Alex Snow and Mark Walker, of HMS Collingwood, recently took advantage of the Royal Navy’s Merchant Navy Liaison Voyage scheme.

On a voyage with Geest Line they joined MV Agulhas Stream on a voyage which took them across the Caribbean, visiting places such as St Lucia, Martinique and Antigua.

Met by Geest Line’s Port Operations Manager, former Lieutenant Commander Vince Noyce, on day one, the officers were given a comprehensive view of the ship’s programme, how the ship ran and how the company operated, before taking to their cabins for a good night’s rest prior to departing Portsmouth to begin their journey. 

Their first port of call was Le’ Harve where they witnessed for the first time the frantic pace of container operations as four vast cranes loaded and unloaded as many containers as quickly as possible.

We learnt a great deal and had a very enjoyable time – a career highlight.

Sub Lieutenant Walker RN

For the next part of their journey as they began to cross the Atlantic, the Officers familiarised themselves with the sextant and astro publications on board and got around the ship, talking to crew and performing safety rounds.

With the weather improving as they sailed west they were able to fully embrace the navigation training they'd previously received and observe the Captain of the ship in action.

When asked about his experience Sub Lieutenant Walker said, “We’d like to give special thanks to the Merchant Navy Liaison Voyage (MNLV) staff, Vince Noyce and Master Jose Trimanez. 

“We learnt a great deal and had a very enjoyable time – a career highlight.”

The Merchant Navy Liaison Voyage (MNLV) scheme offers all Royal Navy, Royal Marine and Royal Navy Reserve personnel the opportunity to serve on deep-sea international voyages on-board Merchant Navy Vessels in order to gain wider familiarisation and experience of commercial shipping operations. 

The scheme is being supported by a select few Merchant Navy companies at the top level of the commercial sector. 

Voyages range from a week to two months duration and are administered through the Royal Navy’s Merchant Navy Liaison Officer.

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