Bosun Robert O’Connell recently was moved to write to the staff of the Seafarers LOG, detailing his experiences while sailing aboard the cable ship Decisive late last year. The vessel, operated by Subcom, was tasked a cable-laying operation in the Mediterranean Sea, which lasted about 40 days.
O’Connell embraced the challenge, saying, “I caught the AB job and hadn’t been on one of those cable ships in 20 years. It’s an interesting operation.” He joined the SIU in 1991, as part of Class 475, and sailed until 2004. He left the industry for personal reasons, but returned to sailing in 2019.
While the trip was unique in its own way, what inspired him to catalogue the voyage was his collective interaction with the rest of the crew: “They showed great teamwork, and were able and willing to perform any task given to them.”
He added, “What really stuck out to me was how the apprentices and ordinaries really stood up. They really impressed me. There was nothing they couldn’t do. They worked together, stayed happy and upbeat and got the job done. And it was a long job.”
O’Connell also stated that in conversations with the captain, Eric Ellsworth, the vessel master mentioned more than once how pleased he was with the work of the apprentices.
O’Connell wanted to highlight the efforts of the following crew members while he was aboard: Bosun Santos Contreras, Bosun’s Mate Jerry Dingal, ABs Suallah Osman, John Reid and Cameron Ruthlev, OSs Destini Dunlap, Robert Freer, Levi Gorokhovsky, and Darius Parker, Chief Electrician Casey Frederick, MDR Luke Mueller, CASJ Dominador Diaz, OMU Kasim Ahmed, Chief Steward Gregory Johnson, Chief Cook Walter Schoppe, Third Cook Virgilio Brosoto, SA Mahmoud Fares, GVAs Khaleel Boatner, Donato Camandang, Verna Dotson, Justo Guity, Ryan Heimberger, Ruby Jones, Salah Mohmohd, Kassem Salah and Van Valladolid, and Apprentices Preston Stine and Carl Piercy.
Regarding the work of Chief Cook Schoppe – who has sailed with the SIU for more than 40 years – O’Connell noted, “The food was great. He’s a real professional.”
He concluded by saying, “It made me feel good that the SIU tradition of good seamanship and work ethic hasn’t been lost. My hat’s off to them.”