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Windward Passage

Meet the Team: Ship’s Officers

Susie Hill / Ocean Exploration Trust

At the age of ten, Captain Pavel Chubar decided he wanted to be a seaman after developing a passion for the seas and reading books about ships and pirates. So, he began his journey on the high seas in 1985 as a fourth mate after graduating from the Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy. He then became a Captain in 1994 and began working on Nautilus in 2011. He has also served on three other Irish-owned research vessels.

Captain Chubar has three officers on his crew: Chief Officer Igor Abasov, Second Officer Bohdan Skylar, and Third Officer Vitalii Verbyts’kyi. They serve in watch shifts of four hours on and eight hours off around the clock. The Captain does not follow this schedule because he is always “on watch” as he is in charge of the ship. The ship’s officer’s role is to navigate the ship and communicate with the science team Navigators so that both the ship and ROVs can safely operate together during exploration dives.

What kind of instruments do the officers use on the bridge? It takes a variety of them all at the same time to navigate the ship during Nautilus exploration: radars, GPS, echo sounders (depth finders), gyrocompass repeaters, signal lights/flags/balls, charts and navigation rule publications, radios, and wind measuring equipment (anemometer and vane). Third Officer Verbyts’ski explains that a good navigational rule is to always have a back up for your equipment, so there are two of everything on the bridge (e.g. radar, radios, steering, compass) in case of an emergency.

Our science mission would not be possible without our ship’s crew and its officers, so thank you to them for keeping us safe while we explore the ocean!