Upon completion of cargo transfer, the team on deck will begin sending back or retrieving the replenishment rigs. At this time, a prime concern from the ship handling standpoint is to maintain station and not begin drifting away from the guide. Lines can become fouled, and the added distance will put more span wire in the water. Once all lines are clear of the other ship, the approach ship can begin opening the guide. This is probably the easiest part of replenishment ship handling and can be accomplished by ordering a 2-3 degree course change away from the guide and increasing speed 2-3 knots. As those changes begin to take effect, and with the ship’s a safe distance apart and opening gradually, the UNREP process may be repeated with another ship as desired.
UNREP involves an extended period of time where two ships are in close proximity while at relatively high speeds. Any problem at all, either external to the ships or internal to one or more of the ships, may require an immediate and timely disengagement. The Captain of either ship can initiate an emergency breakaway procedure if there is a maneuvering problem or an unsafe situation is developing. An emergency breakaway follows the same procedures as a normal breakaway, but all steps are expedited as much as possible.
There is a naval tradition of playing "breakaway" music over the 1MC public address system of each ship as the ship’s are breaking way. Ships often have a signature tune or the captain may pick one. Some examples are "Wichita Lineman" for the oiler USS Wichita; "Thanks for the Memories" by the prepositioning ship USNS Bob Hope", and the theme from the movie The Final Countdown by the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), which was featured in the film. During the late 1980’s USS Bainbridge (CGN-25) played “Bad to the Bone.”