The unsung heroes of this succesful expedition are undoubtedly the ship`s crew who make sure all the daily ship operations go like clockwork, so that the scientists can perform their research in the safest and most optimal conditions.
Linda Holste and Chris Lindemann interview the crew and captain of the FS METEOR. A big THANK YOU to them for their efforts during the past 6 weeks.
Captain Schneider, for how long have you been working as a captain? And for how many years on the METEOR?
Schneider: My first ship as a captain was a coaster called REALTA since January 1980. In June 2010 I started as captain on the METEOR.
What do you like most about “your” ship?
Schneider: Actually everything; besides the fact that I am allowed to sail with a great crew, I really enjoy the variety of work on a research vessel.
What is the greatest challenge on a research vessel?
Schneider: For sure one challenge is to “sail” the ship, maneuvering the ship is as much of a challenge as the deployment of scientific gear. Most of the gear is by now well-known, but yet there is new gear whose deployment demands improvisation. This applies to the crew on the bridge, but even more to the crew on deck. And only if everybody works hand-in-hand, including the scientists, the designated research goals can be achieved.
In what way do you follow the science on board? Do you have special scientific interests that you follow as soon as you have the possibility?
Schneider: Actually I do not have a single special scientific interest. The ocean is full of life, not only in the water column, but also in the benthos and it is always astonishing, what scientists investigate. Most of the research topics are new to me, but some I know from the media already, some living creatures I can directly watch (if sampled), others I can follow during investigation with, for instance, the ROV. Also, geology is a research field that I am engaged with, especially since I was confronted with it during my studies on deep drilling technology.
Spontaneity seems to be a captains` requirement as we have seen here and there on the first Leg. How flexible are you and do you like geological cruises with a well structured station plan better than physical/biological cruises, during which station plans have to be changed spontaneously?
Schneider: Spontaneity and flexibility are for sure things that belong together. If one cannot deal with it or one is too rigid, many things will not be achieved at all or only with a lot of effort. Science often seems like chaos, sometimes more, sometimes less, but it is always interesting enough to investigate. And this is only possible if one is flexible to the environment.
Thank you very much fort his interview, captain Schneider!