Thursday, September 27, 2007

DGPS Fault!!!

DGPS fault!!!

This time to describe a very funny situation that happens to me, during my voyage from Mexico to Brazil, some where in the middle of Caribbean Sea.
I was on duty, and suddenly the DGPS Nº 1 alarm sounds, no problem; it’s a usual beep on a DP vessel bridge!!!
I accept the alarm, check the accuracy and for the moment the position error was about 20m major axis, I though to my self, it’s okay, you are in the middle of nowhere in a deep sea area, and back to my chair, check all other electronic aids, all okay, no navigation on site and the weather and sea conditions good.
After a little while the other DGPS, the Nº 2 alarms also and the accuracy drops for 50m major axis, this time I went to check how many satellites were available at the time in each DGPS and actually the sky was “empty” of satellites just three in each set, I found strange and went to see the third DGPS on board that didn’t alarm until the moment, surprise, the set was showing reception of 8 satellites and an accuracy of about 2m major axis.
The alarms on DGPS Nº1 and Nº2 restart beeping, and this time all screen came red, signal that they lost all satellites, I thought “sun spots” interference, after one hour the DGPS Nº1 and Nº2 didn’t came back with a good position and I start to get worried because this two are sets used as position reference sensors on the DP system, I check again the third DGPS and it was given a good position with an error about 3m major axis.
I start to look for all wiring from and to the faulty DGPSs and everything looks alright, I start to be really worried, suddenly it came to my mind to look out side for the reception antennas for these two DGPSs sets and surprise, surprise there were all the causes of my problems, two big frigate birds just resting on top of the antennas.
First I run for the camera to perpetuate the moment and later for the broom to put away the “menace”, I try for the remaining time in my watch to get rid of the undesired birds but they just didn’t care about me, I sound the typhoon and nothing, I issued a “permit to work” at height or aloft to climb the main mast, harness and all gear needed to go up and obviously the broom!!! Nothing, the birds just stare at me with a funny look and just open their wings but no “take off”, my watch finish and the 2nd officer just take over, told him as an outstanding order keep the AB as lookout and try to get rid of that two f… birds.
Please see the pictures proving that this entire story is true and not fruit of my mind!!!

I want to congratulate the first year of life of this blog that just pass so quickly, when Daniel invite me to make part of the blog, I was far from thinking how enjoyable it became to me, I want to say thank you for all that pass through this blog expressing opinions with their comments, the issues always being relevant for the seafarers, mixed with very nice pictures and once in a while some small films, on my side I will try to do my best with serious or funny stories depending of my state of mind and Maritime situation at the moment.
That’s all for the moment, god bless you all.


Malheiro do Vale said...

Great story José. But next time take the shotgun!

Tim said...

This is a great story! Technology wiped by frigate birds!

pedro b. said...

Or as well the firefighting hose....

Mage And George said...

Glad you had a camera, Jose. And glad you joined the blog.