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  • Writer's pictureEllen Frazer-Jameson


DAY 96 - 17 APRIL 2023 (SHIP'S date)


Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage

102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.

Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting from Queen Mary 2



Safety Officer, Stijepo Hancevic, from Croatia, has been with the Cunard line for 16 years. On QM2, there are two teams of fire fighters each team comprising six fully trained members. There are also 15 engineering and ten deck officers who have undergone advance training. As part of our guided tour of the ship, we were given access to check out the contents of the Fire Locker.

Hanging on hooks all around the room, the fire team’s protective gear. Helmets, fire proof clothing and non-flammatory head coverings which go on before the heavy helmet. On the floor, under the protective clothing, boots are lined up, with socks inside and fire proof trousers with braces placed in the boots. Stijepo demonstrates.

Dressed in a fire proof jacket, wearing the head protector and carrying his helmet, he steps straight into the boots and pulls up the fireproof trousers. Helmet on and he’s ready to go carrying a back pack which holds breathing equipment and a thermal imaging camera.

In the case of a fire, or smoke detection, the QM2 has nine designated fire zones. The entire Zone is isolated and locked through nine decks to detract any spreading of the fire from top to bottom. Fire drills are held frequently on board and the fire fighters are expert in containment and the extinguishing of flames.

Stijepo explains, “Every fire is treated with the same degree of seriousness. There is no such thing as a little fire, they all have the ability to get out of hand and cause damage or injury. Smoke inhalation is as dangerous as flames so fire doors are automatically activated.”

As well as leading the fire-fighting team, Stijepo also deputises for the senior Navigational Officer. “I am proud to be part of the highly-skilled fire-fighting team doing an essential job and working for this great company, “ he says. “My life at sea feels important.”

* * * * *


A frequently asked question on a long voyage, Sean Mitchell and Dean Camilleri are the men with the answers. They are the Environmental Officers on board QM2, responsible for sorting, separating and off loading waste from the ship. Licenses are required to contract out the job of disposal to independent contractors in various ports – but once collected by the contractor – Cunard remains responsible for the legal disposal of all categories of waste.

In addition to the transfer of waste products in ports, there is a mandatory distance from shore a ship needs to be before they can dispose of waste at sea. Food waste is processed and diced to a comfortable mini-size to become acceptable food to add to the fish and sea creature’s food chain. Plastics are separated and not disposed of at sea. In protected Marine Parks, disposal is not permitted.

In QM2’s Recycling Centre, one supervisor and six young crew members separate and process the entire waste output of a ship that is more like a small town. Empty bottles are crushed into non-toxic and non-harmful sizes for disposal, tins are flattened and water waste is processed and purified. Sea water is processed and used for cooking and washing the ship. But not as drinking water. Fresh water is processed by evaporation and becomes distilled water, plastic is shredded and paper products are incinerated.

Cunard take committed action to protect the environment and invest in communities and people to deliver a positive impact.


The Technical Department, is run by Chief Engineer, Andrew Jones. His department is manned by 27 officers and 70 ratings. This workforce covers all disciplines from welding and plumbing to advanced electronics and computer science.

The Engine Room control room is packed with computers, graphs and technical data being monitored on viewing screens. The Engine Control Room is situated close to the main machinery spaces and is manned 24 hours a day.

QM2 has four Rolls Royce engines and four diesel generators. The gas turbine on board Is the same as that used on a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Described in a way we all understand, the Chief Engineer states that in his calculations, the fuel consumption the engine receives, allows the vessel to travel at 40ft to the gallon. Apart from the engine performance there are propellers, bow thrusters, and stabilizer fins allowing QM2 to deliver a smooth operation and stable conditions on board.

Watchkeepers on duty in the engine room, work a rotation of 4 hours on – 8 hours off. The vessel’s propulsion, power generation and ancillary machinery systems are monitored and can be all be operated from the main control in the engine room.

On ocassion a crew member needs to descend into the stories-high main machinery.“Yes, I will go if necessary,“ says the Chief Engineer, “but most of the time I won’t even get dirty. The oil is pumped and clean. I’ll go in my regular work clothes – I won’t be putting on overalls. We run a clean ship.!”

QM2 is 20 years old and there are issues obtaining new parts as the vessel is anticipated to be in service for another 20 years. The Engine Room are constantly in touch with the Bridge. The Bridge indicates the speed it needs to make to reach its destination on time.

The Engine Room monitors to see if that speed is realistic given technical requirements. When asked who takes the main decisions about speed, the Chief Office reveals “Microsoft.“A large number of software programmes are constantly in operation, these deliver data and technical information and future indications. In consultation with the Bridge, we ensure maximum efficiency for the vessel. We all want the same objective, to get to our destination safely and with optimum use of our resources.”


NEXT: Behind the Scenes

An amazing experience to meet the people behind the every day operation of QM2 and learn how the various departments work under their Executives and Department Heads. All in the service of the passengers.

Join me next time for a behind-the-scenes look as we raise the curtain at the Royal Theatre Company and visit the galley where food for the Britannia Restaurant is prepared and served by an army of waiters.

Climbing all those stairs and steep ladders was hard work and we were given a short break from the exertions of the official tour; mouth-watering cocktails were served along with most delicious canapes and scrumptious desserts thanks to the Food and Beverage Managers, Anton Nootenboom and Wendy Michel.

Our Tour started on Deck One – on the Mooring Deck. After a fascinating visit to so previously unseen many areas, we work our way right up to the top. The Bridge – on Deck 12 where we are guided personally by Captain Andrew Hall on a special tour of his working domain and meet some of his officers.

Happy Sailing... Ellen

* * * * *

Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Walvis Bay to Sta. Cruz (Tenerife)

  • Departure was 6 d 21 hrs 24 min ago. (at 19:00 h local time)

  • Arrival will be in 1 d 16 hrs 36 min. (at 08:00 h local time)

  • Traveled distance since Walvis Bay: 3,172.96 nm (5,876.32 km)

  • Remaining distance to Sta. Cruz (Tenerife): 773.59 nm (1,432.68 km)

  • Traveled distance since Cape Town: 3,956.85 nm (7,328.09 km)


Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)

"FORCE 10"

Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.

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