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How Cargo Ship Workers Prepare for Emergencies [Video]

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Medical Emergency Technologies

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with second mate Bryan Boyle, a merchant mariner and YouTuber who has worked as a deck officer on various cargo ships for over a decade. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I’ve been a deck officer for almost 12 years. I’m responsible for watching out for the safety of the crew, cargo, and the ship itself by helping navigate and maneuver the ship, as well as facilitating communications and security.

Emergency situations like the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse are rare at sea. I’ve never faced any major emergencies while working aboard a cargo ship, aside from a minor fire and an instance where my ship temporarily lost power.

Back in 2019, I was on a cargo ship in the North Sea. I was a second mate and assigned to keep watch from midnight to 4 a.m. Around 2 a.m., the whole ship went dark.

We had temporarily lost …

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