For thee and not for me… Version 253…

Navy supply ship was run aground by a junior officer off the coast of Bahrain shortly after the ship’s master — or captain — left the bridge to eat dinner, an investigation revealed.

The USNS Alan Shepard had finished up a maintenance period on July 15 and was on the way to a port in Bahrain when she was directed to an area just off shore to wait on a pilot. The master took the ship there and then went to eat dinner, leaving the ship in the hands of a much more junior third officer.

Less than 30 minutes later, the Alan Shepard was grounded on a shoal.

Full article, HERE from

It is noted that an actual Navy CO was relieved last month for running aground in the Pacific, but this guy…not so much.


Well, USNS ships are run by ‘contract’ seamen, with just a few military folks on there, who, by the way, are NOT allowed to command at sea. They are mostly supply types, who manage the cargo/stores on the ship with their enlisted sailors and provide the same to the various ships during underway replenishments (UNREPS).

And they have a union!

So, the ‘rules’ don’t apply to them like they do for the Navy, even though it’s a Navy ship managed through MSC… sigh…



Rules… — 9 Comments

  1. Contract people are ruining the Navy just as they have ruined the CIA and other agencies of the government. Outside companies do not have the loyalty that those that have voluntarily signed onto a career in the Navy or whatever agency they applied to for a career. I do not believe these companys running the government are the reason for the rapidly deciling state of America.

    • They started ruining the Air Force in the 1980s. The USAF started bringing civilians in and slotting them into the organization table. Since they only worked day shift, actual airmen got shifted off to second, third, and weekend shifts. And since most of the civilians weren’t actually capable of doing the jobs they were hired for, the real airmen were working 50+ hours a week to get things done.

      The USAF’s official reason was “to ensure continuity of skills” as active duty airmen came and went. All it really did was demoralize anyone working with the civilians. Who also got paid more, to not-do the same jobs.

  2. As a bridge watchstander , helm , lee helm , BMOW , I’ve seen many Capts eat in the big chair , food is just a quick phone call away . I would assume they were at Sea and Anchor detail , weird time to exit the bridge to grab a bite , take a pee maybe . Bahrain is a well charted and well used port , complacency , incompetence , ?? Coming into port is routine , but most conning officers demand precise fixes at 30 second intervals at least from the chart tables . Who knows , this running into things is becoming too common . Maybe a stupid renegade Dhow boat full of palm dates came into a collision course , weird stuff happens .

  3. Added comment , having done hundreds of UNREPS , as a Rigger, Rig Captain and safety officer , I found my civilian counterparts on the delivery ships to be quite good and professional , most had the “crossed anchors ” tattoo on web of their thumb and fore finger, as do I , the sure sign of a dedicated professional , bonus points for inking the “crossed shithooks” on their earlobes , in red and green of course. LOL !!!

    Hand Salute and hat tip to Kelly Verbic , the best Boatswain ever made , now living the good life in the P.I. Started out on the Turner Joy and did 30plus years , best mentor I ever had . Another mustang just like you old NFO .

  4. Wait, wait, wait….Merchant seaman called for emergency duty has long been done by the U.S. At the end of WWII, there were approximately 1,400 US merchant ships afloat in US flagged ships. Today, not so much, probably less than 50 ships….. Good help afloat is thin at this time in our country. Could say that for the USN also, If you will remember the Navy ship that collided going the wrong way in a traffic lane because the OOD and officer in CIC were in a snit…..

    And yes, I spent 35 years “floating boats” as my wife called it….

  5. Former Merchant Mariner here, even served on the Alan Shepard’s sister ship Wally Schirra.

    For the record, the only military on board a USNS nowadays is the security detail. That’s it. Everything else is civilian. Also, this may be important, all MSC sailors are Dept. of the Navy employees. After your 1 year probationary term, you’re essentially unfireable.

    Third officers are either a) graduates of a Merchant Marine Academy and as such should have the schooling at least to not do what happened or are b) long time sailors who worked their way up to Third through massive amounts and years of hard work, dedication and training.

    NOW, that said, a LOT of the ships Masters are old, tired, bored, lazy and just marking time until retirement. And because of the nature of the employment and pay and benefits, there is little to no incentive for them to retire and let someone else move up and into that spot.

  6. LL- Point!

    John- Can’t disagree!

    Boats- Apparently they were ‘holding’ waiting on a pilot… sigh. And yes, good Boats are worth their weight in gold!

    B- Stiff and sore. sigh… getting old sucks!

    Mark- Yes, and that CO was relieved along with the XO, Master Chief, and those officers got LORs in their records, ending their careers!

    Ryan- Thanks, I was told differently when I rode Bowditch a few years ago.

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