10 July, 2004
I spent some time today talking with Miles Taylor, the ship's Logistics Officer. Miles is responsible for the ship's administration including finances, the ship's stores (food supplies, fuel, spare parts, etc.) and even first aid when the ship's nurse is not on board. He also runs the popular ship board bingo games! Miles has been on the Laurier since 1996, and he was able to give me details about the ship and its operations. The Sir Wilfrid Laurier is based in Vancouver, B.C. and its patrol area is British Columbia and Arctic waters. The ship is an icebreaker capable of operating on all British Columbia coastal waters and in the Arctic. Its duties include resupply, aids to navigation, science, search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, and icebreaking. The ship is 83 meters long with a maximum speed of 15.5 knots. During the summer season, the two 27 member crews rotate with each serving 6 weeks at a time. While on the ship, each crew member works a 12 hour shift each day, 7 days/week.
When the ship travels to the Arctic, it holds stores for a crew of 50 for 6 months (with the exception of dairy products and fresh produce). Science crews some on board regularly during the summer months when the ship is in the Arctic. At the end of the summer, the ship heads east to escort tugs and barges bringing materials to settlements throughout the Northwest Territories. The Laurier sets out buoys in the water and beacons on land as aids to navigation for the tugs and barges that come through the Mackenzie River before heading east. When their run has ended, the Laurier heads west again toward Vancouver. On occasion, the Laurier will get "stuck" (ice blocks their passage) at Pt. Barrow on the return home to Vancouver. When that happens, they will head east again and travel home through the Panama Canal!
The ship provides a comfortable home for the scientists who come on board. There are two labs on board ship and two portable labs available for gathering and processing data. In addition, members of the crew and the science team are well fed with incredibly good meals and readily available snacks. Rooms are spacious with bunk beds, a work station, and lots of storage. Check out the pictures of "my" room and the lab area. All members of the crew are knowledgeable and extremely helpful. All in all, a great place to do science!
Contact the TEA in the field at .
If you cannot connect through your browser, copy the TEA's e-mail address in the "To:" line of your favorite e-mail package.