View Full Version : Three is a crowd discussion

12-13-2006, 03:03 PM
This is a discussion thread for the following file:<br><br><b><a href=http://www.googleearthhacks.com/dlfile22951/Three-is-a-crowd.htm>Three is a crowd</a></b><br><br>three ships in the middle of nowhere?<br><br><img src=http://www.googleearthhacks.com/images/new/080505/374827ships.jpg>

12-13-2006, 03:28 PM
It is most likely a refueling formation. The vessel in the middle is a resupply ship. The picture is deceiving because of the distance but U.S. Naval Vessels are actually 50-75 feet apart. They do this regularly for getting more fuel (both for the vessel itself as well as diesel/jet fuel as might be necessary) and sometimes fresh water and supplies.

It really is a sight to see in person but from the last time I was directly involved (1994) it was still a classified process as the U.S. has the only "Navy" that is capable of refueling underway.

12-13-2006, 04:18 PM
Classified process?? I'm a bit floored that someone would make a statement like this. Most blue water Naval forces have this capability.

12-13-2006, 04:22 PM
I did qualify my statement with that is what was explained to us the last time I was involved.

But then I was just a passenger along for the ride to Somalia. :D

Captain Hornblower
12-13-2006, 04:55 PM
I did qualify my statement with that is what was explained to us the last time I was involved.
Somebody made fun with you. Replenishment at sea is a standard procedure many Navys have done this along time before 1994 and still doing.

12-13-2006, 05:44 PM
I have been onboard several USN vessels during underway replenishment, known as "UNREP". This is not an UNREP. For one thing, one of the vessels is headed the opposite direction of the other two. For another, there is no wake, so the 3 vessels are apparently stationary, or moving very slowly. There is no distance between them. These guys are tied up right alongside one another. And, despite the fuzzy image, I do not believe these to be military ships.

My best guess is that the one in the middle is a cargo vessel, and the other two are refueling it.

Or maybe, if we want to let our imaginations run wild, they are pirates!!! :shock:

12-30-2006, 01:15 PM
Another possibility is fishing boats loading or resupplying from a factory ship, or transhipment of cargo. The middle ship could be a mother ship of sorts. Its difficult to say without being able to get a close look at the 3 of them, and an interesting find in a large ocean.

As for Replenishment at sea (aka RAS), the Germans were doing it in World War 2 already, and so were the British although they used a different system. I seem to recall the Germans would stream a floating hose behind the ship doing the resupply and the following ship would hook onto it and they would play follow the leader.

12-30-2006, 06:55 PM
Here's a photo that looks a lot like that set-up. The article (http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/faq/fishfaq6.html) says the factory ship catches and processes the fish, and calls the other two "tenders", but doesn't say what they do.