BW Maritime

Are You Smarter than a Seafarer?

The shipping industry needs the best and the brightest at the helm

International Day of the Seafarer
June 25 of every year is designated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the International Day of the Seafarer. BW takes this opportunity to acknowledge the good work of the over 4,000 seafarers who call BW their second home, and thank them for playing a pivotal role in delivering energy to world markets.

This year, BW's quarterly magazine World Horizon highlights the strong Mathematics and Science background needed to be an officer onboard.

Are you smarter than a seafarer?
A popular American quiz show titled “Are you smarter than a fifth grader” challenges adult contestants to questions based on the curriculum from elementary schools. Ranging from Mathematics and Science to History and Geography, the questions become incrementally more difficult based on the prize money paid out. While no money is involved here, and definitely not elementary, World Horizon challenges readers to two questions randomly selected from test papers sat by Second Mates on Navigation, Cargo Handling, and Stowage. Answers can be found at the bottom of this page. 

Question 1
A deep tank currently contains 2,700 metric tonnes of fuel oil bunkers which are kept heated at 47 degrees Celsius. There are 109 cubic meters of free water. A bunker barge delivered a parcel of 2,800 cubic meters of the same oil into this tank, at 12 degrees Celsius. Find the ullage and the percentage of filling if the final temperature was 23 degrees Celsius. The tank measures 29 by 19 by 13 meters, and has its ullage pipe extending 1.17 meters above the top of the tank. The fuel oil density is 0.8957 kgs/litre in vacuum at 15 degrees Celsius. 

Question 2
Describe the workings of a Doppler log, and draw and explain the Janus Configuration.

Dictionary and Calculator
Without reaching out for the calculator, and dictionary for the definition of “ullage” (amount by which a container falls short of being full) and “Janus” (a god in Greek mythology as having two faces as he looked to the past and to the future), these two questions hint at the mastery one needs to have over Mathematics, Science and Physics to be an officer onboard a vessel, and that the best and brightest are needed at the helm.

Go to Sea! 
A 2010 study on the worldwide demand and supply of seafarers suggests that while the supply and demand for ratings (seafarers without certificates of competence ratings) is generally balanced, there is still a demand for officers (more qualified crew who shoulder more responsibilities). When world trade depends on the shipping industry to keep things humming, any shortage of competent seafarers is a concern. The “Go to Sea!” campaign was launched in November 2008 by the IMO in association with other Non-governmental organizations, to promote seafaring as an attractive option for young people of the right calibre. Seafaring can provide one with rewarding, stimulating and longterm prospects, not only at sea but also in the broader maritime industry. BW has many shore-based employees who have previously spent many years at sea on BW vessels.

At Sea for All
The IMO describes the International Day of the Seafarer as “a day to celebrate the unsung heroes of shipping, the industry which underpins global trade on which we all rely to transport food, fuel, commodities, raw materials and goods around the world”. This year’s theme is “At Sea for All” – while men and women become seafarers to provide for their families and to build a respectable career, and definitely not for altruistic reasons, this theme does highlight that we all benefit from the work seafarers do.


Answers to Questions l 2Q2016WH Are You Smarter than a Seafarer