Due to the Skeena's Northerly Pacific Run from British Columbia to Japan, the Canadian Weather Service (CWS) took great interest (as did the Canadian Military, but that is another story) in the potential for the Skeena to be able to collect weather data, since their weather ships service had been ceased.
Initially we were fitted with a satellite transponder and an abbreviated form of the six hourly weather message (OBS), could be punched in and transmitted. (The Skeena was already a 'voluntary' Weather Observing Vessel).

In June 84, the CWS went a step further and installed a weather ballon launching portacabin on the aft deck and two weather men joined, one Canadian and the other Finnish. (There was a close co-operative link between the two respective countries weather services, which was reflected in the balloon monitoring equipment in the portacabin, old kit Canadian, new kit Finnish) The weather balloon launches occurred every 6 or 12 hours (weather dependent !) and was seen as a part of a valid 'cheap' option for their discontinued weather ship service.

Top deck with weather cabin   Balloon equipment
The other service we provided for the CWS was the launching of sea buoys fitted with a satellite transponder, the photos attached were taken in March 85 after we had we had been reflagged over to Hong Kong.
Preparing the sea buoys   About to launch the sea buoy

I confess I was responsible for christening the portacabin, 'The Little House on the Prairie'  and doing the artwork on my last trip on the Skeena.  When we berthed at Vancouver, all the senior CWS came on board and had a good laugh (by that time there was grass and flowers growing) and I was treated to a night out in Vancouver courtesy of the Canadian Government.  

I am curious to know how long the balloon and seabuoy launching service continued on the Skeena and was it extended to the other two sister ships. David Thomson. All photos copyright © David Thomson.

Skeena Page No.[1] [2] [3] [4]
Memories from RSL staff. Page No. [1]