Ship's Crew



 R/V Western Flyer Crew and ROV Tiburon Pilots

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Crew (from left): Darrell Palmer, Dan Camp, 
Erik Thunstrom, Dan Chamberlain, 
Tim McLaughlin, Ian Young, Doug Alexander, 
Steven Sandstrom-Phillips, Pete Zerr
       Pilots (clockwise from left): Dave French, 
       Buzz Scott, Paul Tucker, Jim Cohen, 
       Buck Reynolds

Click on any name below to read an interview.

Doug Alexander Tim McLaughlin Shaun Summer (Relief)
Paul Ban (Relief) DJ Osborne Mark Talkovic
Knute Brekke Darrell Palmer Erik Thunstrom (Relief)
Dan Camp Buck Reynolds Paul Tucker
Dan Chamberlain Phil Sammet (Relief) Ian Young
Jim Cohen Steven Sandstrom-Phillips Pete Zerr
Dave French Buzz Scott

Doug Alexander (top of page)
AB Deckhand

What is your role on this cruise?
My role on this upcoming cruise is science support in the capacities of AB Deckhand, possibly a trip as relief Steward and possibly a trip as relief 2nd Mate/Bosun as I recently got certification for that position. 

How did you become an AB Deckhand?
Hmmm... How did I get to these types of jobs? I was an owner-operator crab, salmon, albacore fisherman for many years before getting my seaman's papers during the Desert Storm/ Desert Shield conflict. Worked for Chevron on their tankers as an AB (Able Seaman) before coming to MBARI. 

Paul Ban (top of page)

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Knute Brekke (top of page)
ROV Pilot




Dan Camp (top of page)
Second Assistant Engineer




Dan Chamberlain (top of page)
Pilot, ROV Tiburon
Computer Systems Administrator, R/V Western Flyer





Jim Cohen (top of page)




Dave French (top of page)



Tim McLaughlin (top of page)
First Assistant Engineer

What is your role on this cruise?
My role to avoid perdition to the Western Flyer by keeping everything on the boat running in a safe and efficient manner. I also foment improvements to the already nearly perfect Western Flyer. With the exception of Tiburon, if it has electricity running through it, has any moving parts, requires modification, or troubleshooting, it is my responsibility to see that it taken care of. I do not do this alone. My junto includes Pete Zerr, Dave Chase and Andy Stuhan.


What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I have at least two favorites:
1. I enjoy being a part of the research that the Western Flyer supports. I never imagined that I would be part of something so amazing. 
2. Diversity. I rarely work on the same thing from one day to the next.

What is your least favorite part of a research cruise?
Being away from my two absolutely wonderful darn near perfect children Shannen and Cassady.


Why did you decide to become a First Assistant Engineer? How did you become one? 
I didn't. I decided to become a Chief Engineer but that job was taken.

How did you become one?

I graduated with two BS's, one in Mechanical Engineering and the other in Systems Engineering, then decided that I wanted to get a job that would pay well and take me around the world as well. So I "hopped on a freighter, skidded the ocean, and left England without a sound." I stole that from Jimmy Buffet by the way, but that is basically how it happened.  


DJ Osborne (top of page)
Instrumentation Technician





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Darrell Palmer (top of page)

Chief Mate  










Buck Reynolds (top of page)

Chief Pilot


What is your role on this cruise?
My role on this cruise is to provide a good ROV service to the science projects and responsible for the ROV "Tiburon". I am the liaison between the scientists and Tiburon.


The crew provides all of the deck support for CTD casts, Net casts, and water sampling for crossing. We pilots fill in for the crew when they are tired or just need some more help with the deck operations.


What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
My favorite part is always being a member of a team that can provide information, data, and possibly something new and exciting to the world. Along with that comes the long, and sometimes boring times of NOT finding anything of importance to pass along. The travel times between sites can seem to be longer than they really are.


Why did you decide to become a Chief Pilot? How did you become one? During my Navy career as a Diver, I was involved with the introduction of ROVs in the Navy. I started piloting them until I retired in 1988. I then started work for an offshore company and continued with ROVs. It takes many years to develop the skills and knowledge to become a good Pilot. There are schools now that you can attend but when I was learning the skills, there were not schools developed yet. That doesn't mean I am that old but maybe the schools haven't been around that long!! ha ha !! hola!!! 


Phil Sammet (top of page)






Steven Sandstrom-Phillips (top of page)

Second Mate/Bosun








Buzz Scott (top of page)





What is your role on this cruise?
My role on the cruise will be to fly and help maintain the ROV with the other Tiburon pilots and to support the science party to ensure they have a successful cruise.


What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
Finding new things with the scientists and hearing they have had a successful cruise. My least favorite part of a cruise is when rough weather keeps us from putting the ROV in the water.


Why did you decide to become a Technician? How did you become one? 
I love going to sea and I am very interested in what's under the sea and how it works. I worked several different mechanical and marine related jobs and was lucky enough to be available when the Tiburon crew was looking for a mechanical technician.  


Shaun Summer (top of page)


Mark Talkovic (top of page)
ROV Pilot






Erik Thunstrom (top of page)










Paul Tucker (top of page)




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Ian Young (top of page)




Pete Zerr (top of page)
Chief Engineer

What is your role on this cruise?
My job is to ensure that all of the mechanical equipment onboard is maintained and to repair anything when it breaks down. I have a great crew of guys working for me and we keep busy working on different pieces of machinery everyday. That is the greatest part of this job, the variety of tasks we have to perform.

What is your favorite/least favorite part of a research cruise?
I enjoy everything about the cruise, as long as we don't get into too rough of weather. The least favorite part about it is being
away from my family for so long. 

Why did you decide to become a Chief Engineer? How did you become one?
I graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and came out of there with a third assistant engineer's license and have been working my way up the ladder since then.