In a rare event these days (the global economic crisis also reached the military institution worldwide, forcing the navies to spend less fuel), the USS Samuel B. Roberts, a naval unit from the US Navy, visited our port of Funchal during the present day.
An Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate, the USS Samuel B. Roberts suffered a mine attack in the Persian Gulf, in 1988, and, as a consequence of the damages she had to be carried for repairs, in the United States, with the help of a semi-submersible heavy-lifter ship from the Dutch operator Wijsmuller.
Like in (mostly) all the naval units, the crews are friendly and manoeuvres are a nightmare. The problem is that the people that designed these ships only think about warfare and manoeuvring capabilities on the high seas.
You bring them to restricted waters for a berthing manoeuvre at low speeds and almost all of them are lame, to say the least.
Those limitations normally forces the operations to be conducted with the direct aid of tugs to compensate for the deficient slow speed manoeuvring characteristics.
And since the naval architects and engineers (apparently) never heard of winches, all the ropes have to be heaved or slacked by hand.
So, it's always a bit strange to see twenty guys (or girls, by the way) doing their best in trying to hold fast a rope with their bare hands and, thus, managing to stop a four thousand tonnes vessel.
Thankfully, these Oliver Perry class frigates already have what they call APU's (or Auxiliary Propulsion Units). These are, basically, two retractable azipods, located on the ship's keel and right under the vessel's bridge, that do wonders in controlling the ship in more restricted spaces.
Anyway, it was a pleasure to see a woman in command: Captain Erica L. Hoffmann.
Ship's name: USS Samuel B. Roberts
Type: Guided missile frigate
Class: Oliver Hazard Perry
LOA: 138.10 mts
Beam: 13.60 mts
Max. displacement: 4200 tons
Draft on manoeuvre: 8.30 (declared)
Propulsion: Two gas turbines, single shaft, single CPP propeller
Propulsion power: 31MW
Rudder: One (conventional)
Manoeuvring aids: 2 APU's (350HP each)
Picture taken with Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT3 and post-processed in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, ver. 4.1