One of the most important roles of an Officer on board an in the Irish Naval Service Vessel is the gunnery officer. They literally handle the big guns on the Irish navy's big vessels. We travelled down to Haulbowline to get a glimpse of exactly what is involved in being a gunnery officer.
Here we see Lt (NS) Sean McCoy acting as Gunnery Officer (GO). In this video, the ship is conducting a surface shoot utilising the following weapons: 20mm Rheinmetal autocannon with a maximum effective range of 2,000 metres, a 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun with a maximum effective range of 2,000 metres and 7.62mm General Purpose Machine Gun with a maximum effective range of 820 metres.
The gunnery officer is responsible for a range of jobs on board including management of the ordnance account, responsibiltt for the security and safe stowage of the ships armament, small arms, ammunition, pyrotechnics and gunnery stores, responsibility for the security of all locations holding weapons and ordnance, responsibility for the maintenance of all weapons and ordnance on board and responsibility for the co-ordination of all gunnery practices conducted by the ship while underway.
The gunnery officer will also perform the role of Weapons Director (WD) during gunnery practices. He or she is responsible for the organisation of the annual personal weapons test for members of the ship's company on the 9mm HK Pistol and the 5.56mm Steyr Rifle. He or she performs the duties of Officer of the Watch (OOW) while the ship is underway and the duties of Officer of the Day (OOD) while the ship is at anchor or alongside. The gunnery officer maintains and updates all health & safety risk assessments in respect of the gunnery department.
Finally, the gunnery officer is a Sea Fisheries Protection Officer as required by the sea fisheries and maritime jurisdiction act 2006. This means the GO conducts fisheries boardings at sea to enforce Irish & EU fisheries law.
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