Sunday 1st of April 2007 and it was no April Fools's Day joke when they called me for
April Fools' day
also called All Fools' Day. In most countries the first day of April. It received its name from the custom of playing practical jokes on this day-for example, telling friends that their shoelaces are untied or sending them on so-called fools' errands
Although the day has been observed for centuries, there are different explanations for its origin. It resembles festivals such as the Hilaria of ancient Rome, held on March 25, and the Holi celebration in India, which ends on March 31.
The modern custom may have originated in France when the Gregorian calendar, which moved New Year's Day from March 25 to January 1, was adopted in 1582. Those who continued to celebrate the end of New Year Week on April 1 were referred to as fools. The timing of the day also may be related to the vernal equinox (March 21), a time when people are said to be fooled by sudden changes in the weather.
There are variations between countries in the celebration of April Fools' Day, but all have in common an excuse to make someone play the fool.
In France, for example, the fooled person is called poisson d'avril ("April fish"), perhaps in reference to a young fish and hence to one that is easily caught; it is common for French children to pin a paper fish to the backs of unsuspecting friends.
In Scotland the day is Gowkie Day, for the gowk, or cuckoo, a symbol of the fool and the cuckold, which suggests that it may have been associated at one time with sexual license; on the following day signs reading "kick me" are pinned to friends' backs. In many countries newspapers and the other media participate. For example with false headlines or news stories.
the 1 hour notice for the 2nd parcel.
I wouldn't mind a few more hours of sleep, but I was thinking about the clubs in FUNKY TOWN and I will soon be there, suddenly it didn't seem too bad to be up running early morning. I will leave the ship in about three weeks and I will have a week or two before joining M/T Balero in the beginning of May.
Well, it was 0430 when they knocked on my door but when I came out from the shower the watch on the wall was quarter to 6.
All the clocks onboard are adjusted from our master clock on the bridge and my first thought was that someone tried to be April Fools' Day funny.
When I came in to my office there was a message on the computer screen that the document was not saved, impossible to save the document. Ships time advanced 1 hour and now this, is there a prankster around?
Well, it turned out that they had changed to summertime in Mexico and I had to save my document with another name.
We started our last parcel of gasoline at 0715 and we expect around 10 hours for discharging so we will leave in the evening, nice. Next port Houston to load 80 000 Bbls of MTBE and then to Port Arthur to load 220 000 Bbls of gasoline, not so exciting.
I was in bed at 9 again, I had a plan to sleep for 1 hour. Well, when my alarm clock went off I just turned it off and I felt a sleep again and I woke up in time for lunch. I spent the afternoon doing cargo planning and I also did my fair time of annoying the crew on deck.
We completed discharging at 1705 and we left TUXPAN at 1815. I had planned to do the tank cleaning after departure, but we have a slight (might be a colossal) problem with #4 power pack and the Engineers want to try it. So I will use #4 power pack and we do the tank cleaning tomorrow.
As usual I was watching a movie with the 1st Engineer in the evening. Well, our
“Get togethers” are more like a meetings with the movie club “All time low ”. Finally the movie was luckily enough, we were about to hurt ourselves, coming to the end and our 1st Engineer caught sight of the timer and he said:
- What the ...!!?? The movie was only 1 hour 35 minutes long, I thought we had been watching for 4 hours.
Well, you get the picture and I think further comments are unnecessary.
Monday 2nd of April 2007 and I woke up at 0720 when my alarm went off. I turned off the alarm I was back in sleep in jiff. I woke up 0745 and I was in the mess room after my shower and Diet Drink.
It was raining so no painting and our crew cleaned deck and repaired our pilot ladder. Deck was prepared for the tank cleaning and I just waited for the GO from the engine department.
We started our cleaning at 11 o'clock and we were ready at 1235 and luckily enough I missed the lunch. Houston and the MTBE cargo were cancelled and we changed course towards Sabine Pilot and Port Arthur. Later on we received loading instructions from our Agent, 2 parcels of gasoline from Beaumont to TUXPAN. When I was ready with this calculation we received new orders, 275 000 Bbls of gasoline from Port Arthur to Coatzacoalcos.
Coast Guard cancelled their inspection, our Agent told them that they had inspected us in New Orleans when we came from Panama. They didn't knew about that and it looks like the inspection is cancelled, good.
We had planned to have a drill after the 3 o'clock coffee so our Bosun prepared one of our expired life rafts in the pool. Our engine department had dragged an old expired foam extinguisher out on the poop deck. It's a wheeled unit and they will make a trash can of it when it's empty.
When the extinguisher was empty we went to tank deck for an oil spill drill, but before we left poop deck I took the opportunity to get the whole crew on a picture.
The Team with capital T
Our Bosun had prepared our tank deck with water and with a little help from our imagination this water was a major oil spill. When all crew had gathered on tank deck we started our oil spill pump.
We talked about oil spill and emergency stop procedures, yeah, there was a lot of talking. When we were ready we went to the pool and the life raft. We have two expired life rafts onboard, one small for 6 persons and one big. The big raft is too big for the pool so we used the small raft.
One of our Mess men were the first to enter the pool and then in to the life raft.
Well, now the crew knows a little about a life raft and we were soon finished with our drills and I could return to my cargo calculations.
I spent the evening in my cabin and I'm sorry to say that it was not together with my language course. To be honest, it was, well, a little more than a few days ago since I opened my books last time. Well, maybe tomorrow at Sabine anchorage I will find the peace to do a little reading.
Tuesday 3rd of April 2007 and it was gloomy and grey when I looked out of my window first thing in the morning. Well, I'm used to the setbacks by now and I have realised that the deck will never be ready.
Well, we dropped anchor at 1050 in bright sunshine. Latest news is that we will stay until tomorrow evening at 2300. Good, they guys have a few days to kick ass on deck. 2 days to Coatza and hopefully 2 days at anchor with nice weather and starboard side will be ready, I hope.
- Hmm, I don't want to think about port side. starboard side was the nice side.
Well, if our very good crew is getting starboard side ready before I'm going home I will be happy. Well, I was happy to hear from our Captain that it seems like our plan to get our Bosun back as 3rd Officer seems to go as planned. In July one of our ABs will come back and relieve Bosun and Bosun will be back in September as 3rd Officer.
Next time in US we will have a few of the crew going home and it seems like our plan to promote one of the Mess men as a Deck trainee and our Deck trainee will be promoted to OS works out as well.
Our Captain will also try to get the OS I had on watch when I came onboard back as an AB. When we are coming back in July we will have the A-Team onboard.
During the afternoon I managed to get a domain for our Chief Engineer and don't be surprised if you find his web page on the web one of these days.
I spent the evening with our 1st Engineer watching a movie in the day room. His first pick was a German movie and I had to pull the emergency stop.
- For fåcks sake! Turn it off!
Then he turned on a movie about a pistol in Mexico, it was an entertaining movie and he really took pride in the choice of movie. He was wagering about in the day room about the movie.
- If I hadn't pulled the emergency stop we would have committed suicide by now, I said.
Well, 1st engineer was on duty and around 10 o'clock the engine alarms went crazy and we stopped the movie, we will finish the movie tomorrow.
Wednesday 4th of April 2007 and it looked to be a nice day when I looked out my window. They guys were on deck painting and grit blasting. At 10 o'clock the sky turned black in the horizon and the clouds came towards us.
I was hopeful, there was like a tunnel of light and it looked like we would pass through the tunnel. Black sky with heavy rain on both. No rain on us to start with, but when we did the alco test on the bridge at 1130 it started to fall on us.
Are we lucky or what? Finally a few days when we can work on deck and it's raining cats and dogs.
We received berthing updates on the e-mail and now we will stay anchored until tomorrow afternoon, well, we will not get starboard side ready before I go home and, well, who cares?
I spent the afternoon in my store, trying to get some order in there. I also had time to make a list of what to order from the Ship chandler in Coatzacoalcos.
Thursday 5th of April 2007 and I woke up to a sunny and nice day. Our crew were on deck removing rust like there were no tomorrow when we received news from our Agent:
- Pilot expected 2200 tonight.
Good, a full day of removing rust and the moment when we will hoist the Swedish flag is not far away now.
Sabine Pilot called us in the afternoon and they told us that they would board us at 1600 and when I was on the bridge they changed it to 1630. Well, they were onboard at 1602 and we have about 2 hours to the jetty.
Before leaving the bridge I told the Pilot that I was going for a shower, but he could expect me back soon in a white shirt.
- I'm looking forward to that, he said.
I told him that Captain had promised me new shirts, but so far they had been a NO SHOW. This will be a nice shirt with TANKER Maritime and Chief Officer embroidered on the pockets.
- I have ordered them, Captain said.
- I tried to get this order on hold, I'm on a diet, I said.
- You are looking so good the Pilot said.
- Well, when we receive my shirts the whole crew can wear them, at the same time!
I went for my shower and I replied to e-mails while sippin' on a Diet Drink. I got a
e-mail from the ship owner I was working with on M/T Prospero. I reassured him that Prospero was still #1 on my nice ship list.
I also got an e-mail saying:
- Hey, we worked together a few years ago. I found your web page, what are you doing now?
Well, this is apparent with desirable clarity to all visitors to www.aladdin.st.
I was back on the bridge 1730 when it was time to connect our tugs. Our Pilot was mighty impressed by my white shirt.
It was a beautiful day and all the trees were green, it was a joy to be on the bridge watching the green landscape. Port Arthur turning basin is a very narrow place and we need the two tugs forward when we passed through a short and narrow channel. We had a good helmsman at the wheel and we passed the channel without any problem.
When we were alongside I took a picture of our Pilot and the Captain on the bridge wing.
- Now you end up on internet, Captain told him.
- Yeah, I remember this from the last time I was onboard, he said.
He took my web address before leaving us and he looked happy when he walked over the gangway. We started to load at 2300 after plenty paper work and waiting.
We were going to load 1m in 3CT and then stop to measure the tank ashore and onboard. Our Surveyor will compare the ship figures with the shore figures before we resume loading.
I was in my cabin checking out the internet when 3rd Officer called me on the radio.
- Soon time to stop!
We stopped at 2345 and at 0030 we resumed loading and I was back in bed at 1.
Good Friday 6th of April 2007 and again, I woke up to a splendid day. Sunshine and a
noun the Friday before Easter Sunday, on which the Crucifixion of Christ is commemorated in the Christian Church. It is traditionally a day of fasting and penance.
blue sky. When I looked out my window I could see that the crew had painted the top of our tank cleaning house during the night.
I was in a good mood when taking my shower even though I was very tired, but after 1 Diet Drink I was ready to take on the world. I was in the pantry in 2 steps and I made myself a bucket of tea.
I was out on deck checking that our crew did a good job and after our coffee break the Ship Chandler arrived with stores. I got a new printer for my office, but they didn't deliver the model we had ordered so we have to send it back.
He delivered to new chairs, a fancy model that could make your bed and bake bread in a jiff. We got two chairs but on the invoice it said 1. Well, Swedish company and no Scooby Doo business so Captain drew the Ship Chandlers attention to the mistake.
I tried to get a good deal out of the mistake, haggle is fun. Ask J how fun he thought it was when I was NEGOTIATING the price on an ice-cream in Sweden.
The company of Milk and Honey
We got a new cargo computer by air freight from Norway, but no one to set it up. Well, it's just to connect it. But now they sent an 800US dollar computer from Norway, the air freight was more than the 800 and the computer came with a hefty price tag. If I remembered it right it was around 10 000 US Dollars just because the Norwegians had put a sticker on the darn thing:
Certified to be used on a ship
Well, this is the way to do business, an 800 US HP computer gives thousands of dollars profit.
Our 1st Engineer had been on me all day long about going ashore. We can use the same service as in Beaumont, but we remember that de decided to stop using this service after last times poor performance.
She is the only one allowed in on the refinery here as well, except one company from Houston, but that is a 2 hours ride and would cost 300-400 US.
At lunch Captain called the Agent, but our Agent didn't know. Well, anyway, he promised to call to CHEVRON to find out about the rules. When he called back we found out two thing:
• There is a Seaman's Club in town
• They are allowed in on the refinery
Our 1st engineer called them, just to find out that they were closed on Good Friday and that they were in church
Always problem with those religious holidays, especially Good Friday. Good Friday, well, I remember in Manila a few years ago. I was going to visit an AB I had worked with and when I arrived to Manila party was expected. Well, everything was closed and the streets were full of people crucifying themselves dragging the cross along the roads with millions of people watching the ghastliness.
Our Engine Trainee and Motorman managed to get hold of a ride. They had decided to go ashore at 1630 and 1st Engineer asked me thousands of times if I was going ashore.
- NO, I don't think so.
I was at Captains office helping him with the new chair during the afternoon and 1st Engineer came to his office.
- I'm just buying a stereo, this will go quick.
- OK, let's go!
Our driver, a lady, said she was the emergency backup for driving sailors to town.
- I'm a retired merchant mariner, she said.
She dropped us at Radio Shack and our 1st Engineer could look for an entertainment center. They only had SONY and we left.
We stopped for a milk shake before going to buy the protein for our weightlifting 1st Engineer. He found a stereo and we decided to go for dinner and then return to buy the stereo.
Before dinner we stopped by at a sport shop to buy some lifting straps.
- You can lift much more with these straps. You don't need to use your fingers.
- I remember when I was in the gym. We never used any accessories to lift any extra weights. If there was something we couldn't handle we hired a fork lift.
After our dinner at TEXAS Roadhouse we went back to get our 1st Engineers stereo and I called our ride. I was in a hurry back onboard, we expect to be ready tomorrow morning and I need to be fit for fight.
We were back at 9 o'clock and when we should try 1st Engineer's entertainment center he found out that he had forgotten to buy a transformer from 220V to 110V.
Easter Eve 7th of April 2007 and when my alarm went of at 0550 I was happy that I
noun the day immediately preceding Easter Day. Also called HOLY SATURDAY.
went to bed early yesterday.
I called 3rd Officer on the radio and he told me that we would be ready around 8 o'clock. Good, hopefylly we will be out of here at lunch. Well, I took a shower and I went down to the CCR.
It will be a busy morning so I take this opportunity to wish you a HAPPY EASTER
We finished loading at 0900 and we had to be ready with the paper work and leave at 11 to be able to leave before the inbound traffic start comming up the Ship Canal.
We completed calculation and paper work with the Surveyor at 0935. One Surveyor and we see what a difference, 35 minutes to complete gauging and paper work, like an efficient European port. First time it happened to me in US.
Pilot came onboard at 1058 and we left at 1120 and I was soon in my cabin drinking a Diet Drink listening to Radio Malmöhus Nice to hear Skånska.
After lunch we went to our 1st Engineers cabin to see if we could get his new stereo up and running. Now he had a transformer, but it was only good for 50 Watt so he have to get a bigger one.
I dozed off in the afternoon and I didn't wake up until 1630, bad, it will be hard to fall a sleep tonight.
Easter Day 8th of April 2007 and it was windy with water spray on deck when
also Easter Sunday
noun the day on which the festival of Easter is celebrated.
I woke up. But the clouds broke up and our crew could paint deck in the afternoon.
We had lamb chops for dinner in plenty rosemary and I just had to take my constitutional in the evening. I donned my new iPod and I went on deck. It was a beautiful evening, sunshine and no wind.
Monday 9th of April 2007 and when I drank my morning tea I asked our Cook what he had planned for lunch.
- Cabbage mmmm blah-blah mumble and muffle.
I was busy drinking my tea and I thought he said Cabbage soup.
- Can you please make a salad for me, lunch and dinner?
- Of course Boss! (I let him smoke in the CCR) What you want in the salad?
- Lettuce, green olives and dill.
- I have parsley also, he said.
- Just bring it on!
When I came to check out the progress with the salad after a few hours he was busy making Kåldolmar, my favourite. And I must mention that he makes the best Kåldolmar I had ever had.
- What the BIP is this??!!
Hmm, at lunch I got my bowl of salad and the rest of the crew were munching on Kåldolmar. I had a bet with our 1st Engineer, if he see me eat anything but salad and fruit I will give him 150 US. I could not believe my luck when he asked:
- You can eat black bread for breakfast, but was there anything special for lunch and dinner?
I was quick to add meat to my “ALLOWED” list
- No only vegetables and meat and Kåldolme is meat and cabbage, I said and I went to fill up my bowl of salad with a few Kåldolmar.
When I finished my meal I went to my cabin and my language course. I was satisfied with myself when I returned to my office, salad and hard study. My new life is really getting on well.
At 2 o'clock I went to the engine room to print out my weekly work orders. Both the Chief Engineer and 1st Engineer were in the ECR. We were about to drop anchor outside Pajaritos. At 1415 we were anchored and we received an e-mail just when I should leave the ECR.
The ship on our jetty will be ready tomorrow afternoon and we will stay anchored for 24 hours. Good, we have plenty to do on deck.
- For dinner? Salad and cantaloupe and then I was off for a 90 minutes constitutional.
Tuesday 10th of April 2007 and it was a nice morning when I woke up. The chipping was soon in full swing on deck.
It was a beautiful but hot day at Pajaritos anchorage. At 1400 we had heard fåck all from the pilots and late on we received e-mail that the ship at our jetty expects to leave at 2300.
We were all looking bewildered. We could not see any smoke from the port, something really serious must have happened if they are delayed with 12 hours. 8 o'clock in the morning they were leaving at 1 o'clock, a few hours later they were delayed with 12 hours. I hope they are delayed until 8 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Salad and chicken for dinner and some green melon to wrap up the festivities. I was busy with my constitutional on deck when I found out that we would start heaving our anchor at 8 o'clock. Good, we will be alongside in a good time.
I was in my cabin drinking a Diet Drink listening to P3 Hip Hop when I heard them heaving up the anchor.
Wednesday 11th of April 2007 and at 0005 Surveyor was onboard and at 0010 our Loading Master came. Sampling, ullageing calculations and paper work.
They told me that it should be about 2 hours for the analyse of the cargo samples, but we know better. So when I was ready with my ullage report I asked our Surveyor if he would be here when we started to discharge.
- I will be here when we start discharging.
He's calculating the cargo by hand and he needs some time, but I need to sign his paper.
- Good, I will go to bed! See you later, ask 2nd Officer if you want coffee or something.
If he will be onboard when we start discharging it's no need for me to hang around waiting for his paper work.
I had an hour on top of my bed when they called me at first time. 5 o'clock in the morning and believe me when I say that I was tired, on the verge to unconsciousness.
- It's time to start discharging!
When I looked out my window I could see that they had not connected the cargo arms. I went to the CCR and they told me that we would start within minutes.
- Very soon! They assured me.
- Yeah-yeah, blah-blah! I will be in the day room, call me when it's time.
I slept on the sofa when they called me at 0620 and this time it looked to be the real thing, well, it was and we commenced discharging at 0630.
Maximum pressure 7 Bar. But we started slowly to top of our tanks one by one until we have deactivated the 95% alarm. Then we have both 95% and 98% alarm id there is any leaks in to the tanks. Many many times ships have started to discharge and when the Terminal had give them the go ahead to increase to full there had been a leaking valve to one of the full tanks. If the 98% alarm is on its not hard to imagine what happens, the tank becomes 100% full and the oil comes out from the P/V valve.
This is a very common reason for oil spill and we read about it all the time and this is a STANDARD procedure all over the world to top off tanks one by one until the overfill alarm deactivates.
I had filled up our Ship - Shore agreement with the Loading Master, and it was clearly stated that we would start slowly by topping off our tanks one by one.
We had one cargo hose and one cargo arm connected, but we only used the hose. We were discharging to one shore tank and to a PanamaGreek ship next to us.
We had been discharging for a few minutes when they started to scream on the radio:
- Barcarolle! Why don't you keep 7 bars pressure on the manifold?
When he called the third or fourth time I lost my GOOD MORNING temper:
- WE ARE TOPPING OFF TANKS ONE BY ONE TO 95%! THIS IS A STANDARD PROCEDURE IN THE CIVILIZED PART OF THE WORLD!
On the jetty next to us we have M/T QUETZALCOATL. Her deck is ripped open like a can. She has been there for quite a while now, they welded on deck. According to rumours and our PMI Vetting Inspector told me the same last time we loaded here.
Well, imagine standing on deck when the whole thing is exploding. Several of the crew members were never found again.
Not much left of the tank deck
During the afternoon we got order to backload a cargo of Naphtha for Houston. Laydays 14-16th of April and it will be time for me to go home in Houston.
Thursday 12th of April 2007 and I got the 45 minutes' notice at 0215. Luckily enough I had managed to fall asleep so I had got 3 hours of sleep.
When I got out of my shower I opened a Diet Drink at my desk and I turned on my walkie talkie. I could hear on the walkie talkie that 3 of our crew members were coming back from a night on town. Pilot was ordered for 0430 and the last guy came 1 hour before it was time to leave.
We completed discharging at 0305 and paper work was completed at 0405 and I was off to my cabin and a Diet Drink. At 0430 I was on the bridge and we left Pajaritos at 0455.
I was in bed at 6 and when I woke up at 1130 we were anchored, waiting for shore readiness to load us, as I thought. I was wrong, I found out that we were just waiting for port clearance, our backload voyage had been cancelled.
At 1250 we had our anchor aweigh and soon after our Agent were onboard with the port clearance. As soon as the Agent was off we started to do the tank cleaning. We will load full cargo of gasoline on gasoline, and they want us to do tank cleaning!!????
Next time you read a colourful pamphlet from an oil company trying to convince us on how environmentally friendly they are, you can just say:
- WHAT A SHIT LOAD OF CRAP!
If you need you're more than welcome to refer to Aladdin, ex Greenpeacer and environmentally conscious. Why not load directly in the tanks? Now we are losing few cubic metres of gasoline that we pump to our slop tanks while cleaning the tanks with water.
There is no where around here where it is possible to discharge to slop. But we are allowed to pump it in to the sea if it's not more than 30lit/1852m and we are more than 50 NM from shore, this is according to the law. OK, we are a Swedish company and we keep the SLOP onboard, I stop discharging when the oil PPM is increasing on the ODME. As I said, ex Greenpeacer and environmentally conscious.
Now imagine Ewing Oil's latest tanker, the crew has not got any food on the table for the last week. SALARY?! Well, they have to look up their arses for the salary.
Their family are sitting home in a God forsaken Scooby Doo country with a lot of other hungry people. The company tell them to discharge the oil in to the sea and then lie about it.
- If you don't do it we send someone else! The jungle is full of hungry people.
It happens all the times in the states, crew members ending up for 40 years in prison.
OK, this is the oil, we also need IG gas and it takes a lot of gas oil to make inert gas. Heard of the global warming?
Well, next time you know what to say:
- WHAT A SHIT LOAD OF CRAP!
Or maybe I'm wrong, oil is good for the ocean and a banana skin is something of the worst that can end up in the ocean. If a Vetting inspector from one of the oil companies finds a banana skin in the wrong trash bin we have made his day.
- Oh-oh, as a representative for an environmental friendly() oil company I look very serious on this occurrence.
Well, then this company can say that they, not only follows the law strictly, they even have stricter rules. We don't throw the banana skin in the sea. This will be the lasting impression and we all sleep safe at night thinking that if they don't allow a banana skin in to the sea they take care of all oil residues, right? But now we know better.
A few years ago SHELL wanted to sink their worn out and full of toxic oil rigs in the sea. It's cheaper than bring it ashore to decontaminate and clean up their shit.
You learn a whole lot about the oil transportation here at www.aladdin.st and think about this next time you drive your car. And all this is according to laws and rules, except the other day when I was walking on deck eating a banana. I slipped and my banana felt overboard, please don't tell anyone.
OK, I must tell you about an incident in a Broström ship a few years ago. We were breaking the rules big time and I hope the period of limitation has kicked in. Well, anyway, we were leaving a port and it was blowing a full force storm. The wind ripped the helmet off one of the ABs and we were breaking two rules. Working without a helmet and throwing plastic in the sea. But the helmet doesn't sink and I hope it has washed ashore on some beach, and that a kid found it on the beach. It will be a nice boat to play with.
Well, we can go on and on about this, but I'm tired and I'm off to bed. But before my power nap I will tell you that chemicals, dangerous chemicals. Also very dangerous chemicals are allowed to discharge straight overboard when you do tank cleaning. This is just a little information to make you sleep better, dreaming about your grand children swimming in a clean ocean.
As our Italian Campaigner from Rainbow Warrior wrote to me 3 day ago: You don't care about the shit until it reaches your nose.
Friday 13th of April 2007 and the ship were rolling when I woke up. Gloomy and grey and it didn't looked like a good day for work on deck from my window.
When I checked my e-mail there was an e-mail from my reliever, he wondered when he was going signing on. He had some business to attend to so he was happy when I suggested that we would stick to the plan to change 20th of April. Well, I have to do one more trip and it will be closer to the 25th.
We also got out voyage order, 2 parcels of gasoline from Beaumont to TUXPAN and I don't know if I can handle the excitement. I have to stay one more trip, I can crank up my diet a few notches and I will look good when it's finally time to sign off.
For lunch I had my usual salad. Our Cook is making salad for lunch and dinner, Aladdin's Special with plenty dill and lettuce. For dinner he makes fish or chicken for my salad.
He had planned some oriental stuff for dinner.
- Can you please just make a few pork tenderloins in rosemary for me?
- Of course, he said.
Well, he skipped the oriental part all together and we had pork tenderloin in rosemary for dinner. Meat and salad and 90 minutes of walking, I will soon look good.
I was on deck walking when they started to refill our hydraulic lines with oil. Our engine department had changed a few pipes and they had drained the hydraulic system. We use the hydraulic system for our mooring winches, cargo and ballast pumps. This time they changed a leaking pipe to one of our winches and to the tank cleaning pumps.
When the pipes were full we started one power pack and one OS were running the winches for a while before we increased the pressure to 210 bars. We could not find any leaks and we turned off the power packs and we went for a shower.
When we were ready I found one of the Motormen between the pipes, and as usual he tries to do my whistle. Well, every times he sees me he tries to whistle the Skåne way, but he fails every time and the crew are laughing.
10 past 9 our 1st engineer knocked on my door, movie time. I had not yet had the time for my shower so he had to wait for 10 minutes.
Saturday 14th of April 2007 and I just turned off my alarm when it went off at 0725. I was soon back in sleep and I woke up 10 minutes before 8, a quick shower before going for my tea.
We approached Sabine anchorage and when we dropped our anchor we found yet another leaking hydraulic pipe. This time it was the pipe to the winches on poop deck.
Well, luckily enough we have a good engine crew and they make three new pipes before we have time to say HEY!
We held a fire drill in the afternoon and I took the deck crew to our foam system and the engine department did something with extinguish something in the engine room. When we were ready it was almost time for dinner and I could not walk on deck today due to strong winds and cold weather.
We have our gymnasium, but our Electrician used the
“ JOGGING DOODAH ”. I was passing the gymnasium and I could hear that something was going on in there. Our Electrician was on the “ JOGGING DOODAH ” and when I came in he changed from walking speed to full speed. I could see that he was relieved when I left, he was about to be thrown of the darn thing trying to keep up with the speed.
Sunday 15th of April 2007 and I woke up at 9. My alarm went off at 0725 but I just turned the darn thing off and I was a sleep before I had a chance to wake up.
Well, I didn't go to bed until 0330 earlier this morning. At 2345 it knocked on my door and I thought it was regarding my night orders for the ABs. We had 3 new hydraulic pipes in the engine room end they needed 4 layers of paint during the night.
Well, it was Captain:
- We are dragging!
- OK, we wake up 1st Engineer so we can refill the hydraulic line.
Talk about Murphy's Law, yesterday evening we decided not to put back the hydraulic pipes.
- We do it tomorrow and we can paint the pipes before putting them back.
- Yeah, and we can make the last piece of the pipe as well and this part will be ready.
Well, when the ship dragged we dropped 3 more shackles on the anchor chain and we stopped. It took 1 hour to put back the pipes and fill the line. At 0220 our anchor was up and at 0255 we were anchored again in the anchorage.
It was blowing a full gale during the night so I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up to a gorgeous day. The crew is kickin' arse on deck and now our starboard manifold area starts to look Swedish. The crew had put in a week of sweating and hard work and now you can notice it. It looks GREAT!
It the same every time, you watch the work proceed and, no I'm not impatient. But it looks like shit for one week and it does until the final coating comes on. This is the reward after one week of screaming, holler and yelling. I'm lucky to have an understanding crew and today when everything felt on place we were all happy.
If the weather Gods are with us tomorrow we will spray paint deck.
We have an extra day at the anchorage, we were scheduled to go in at midnight but latest news is that we have to stay until midnight tomorrow. We will be delayed by one day and our off signers flights are all cancelled. I will also be delayed, I'm off next time, but as I say:
- More days, more dollars!
And as an extra bonus I have fewer days at home to spend money before signing on M/T Balero.
Our 1st Engineer is taking this Onboard Computer Training Course in order to obtain the Security Officer Certificate. I did the same course in Broström so he asked me for advice.
- You have to complete the course. Then you have to do a Ship/ Shore Security Declaration, a drill and you have to plan a terror attack.
Lat time in Port Arthur I had him to do the Ship/ Shore Security Declaration with the Loading Master. During the afternoon I was hiding a bomb in the engine room for him to find. He searched the engine room for almost 1 hour before he found it, with several pointers.
He never noticed me sneaking after him taking pictures. After a while I got impatient and I told him on what deck the bomb were hidden. After 20 minutes I told him that it was on the starboards side and after a few minutes I narrowed the area down to, well, next to nothing. When I had narrowed the area to only an electric junction box he found the bomb.
I spent 2 and a half hour in my track on deck, it was a gorgeous evening and our Electrician was also on deck walking.
Lo and behold, it was crowded in the track tonight. Our 1st Engineer showed up and we talked for a while. I don't know for how long he interrupted my constitutional, but I spent 2 and a half hour on deck. Maybe, a rough estimation, I was talking with 1st Engineer for 20 minutes.
Lo and behold, it was crowded in the track tonight. Captain showed up on deck and I had to spend 10 minutes with him looking at the progress with the deck work. But a 2 hours brisk hard kickin' walk is better than nothing and I was satisfied when I went for my shower at 2030.
One thing is for sure, I'm astonished by our 1st Engineers ability to surprise me every evening with his selection of movies. Just when you think it's impossible for him to make a worse decision than previous night he hits a new all time low.
Monday 16th of April 2007 and we were still anchored when I came out of bed. Oh! It will be nice to come home for a few days without an alarm clock going off awfully early in the morning.
I won't surprise you by skipping my GOOD MORNING shower and Diet Drink before going to the mess room.
Well, the sun is shining and gorgeous weather means painting and grit blasting on deck. I had my best TEAM #1 on the grit blaster on the aft part of the tank deck while my best TEAM #2 prepared the paint spryer at the manifold.
I put my 2 best men on the chipping detail between the spray painting and grit blasting areas. Soon we were enjoying the sound of working men on deck.
I got a nice break from, well, the crew got a nice break from my holler and pointing (with the whole arm) when our 1st Engineer came by. He wanted to look at the pipes to our FW tanks on poop deck.
Sounding and filling pipes are in a bad condition and they needs to be renewed. They have planned to do it on the caustic voyage to Brazil when we are gas free.
We got a message in the afternoon: Our cargo is not ready and now they expect us to go inside tomorrow.
One more day at the anchorage. Good, I got 90 minutes of walking on deck watching the sunset and the guys working.
- What about a movie? 1st Engineer asked.
- You choose! He said.
- Yeah, I think we'll better off that way.
And action it was, from frame 1. Not a gratuitous word was said during the whole movie. Only thing said was a few hackneyed phrases, like:
- He's a big hitter!
- You want to mess with me?
- Come on! You want a piece of me? (after 30 minutes fighting)
- Drop the gun or I kill you!
- Drop the gun or I shoot her! (holding a gun to a girls temple)
- Drop the gun or I tell Mom!
- When the shit hits the street it will make Beirut look like a kiddie picnic!
- Doing hard time
- OK OK, enough already. We got the point, obvious and trite!
Excluding the 27 seconds of talking it was shooting, people jumping out of helicopters, cars got blown up, cars got burnt up, cars crashing. It was hilarious, 1st Engineer and I were laughing when we weren't embarrassed.
- Well, I'm off to bed. Stay tuned and Cykeln på köpet på er!
Tuesday 17th of April 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. Luckily enough I had not had any bad dreams after the movie yesterday even though all the action.
Today seems to be the day and we had our anchor up 11 o'clock and pilot was onboard 40 minutes later, finally we will kick some behinds. It was a gloomy and grey day with a chilling wind. Our off signers are happy anyway, they will finally go home. I suspect that the on signers are happy as well after several days on a hotel in Beaumont. But the know Wal-Mart for a long time by now.
They only guy not happy is one of our Mess men, he was supposed to sign on as a Deck boy, but there is only one Mess man coming. The plan was to get 2 new Mess men here, but the second Mess man that was supposed to sign on don't have his US Visa ready and cannot sign on.
We had all fast at EXXONMOBILE Dock 4 at 1745 and we started to load at 2020. They expect this to take at least 60 hours.
Wednesday 18th of April 2007 and today I had my Diet Drink before the shower. When I looked out my window I could see that our deck was wet.
Heavy rain during the night and we cannot start to paint until it's dry.
I had a quick cuppa for breakfast before getting the guys started on deck. Our new crew came during the morning, but the off signers have to wait for the Immigration. According to our Agent they will be here at 0900 and our 2nd Engineer, 1 AB, 1 OS and Mess man is waiting impatiently.
At 1030 the Immigration came onboard and our off signers could leave the ship.
During the afternoon we received news from the Agent. At 2100 we will have the pilot onboard to shift to next jetty so they can load barges at this jetty.
When we arrived yesterday there was a big tanker on the jetty ahead of us, but they had to kick her from the jetty because they had no place for her cargo. She has been discharging for 4 days and now she have to wait for a few days anchored before they take her back again.
Our 2nd and 3rd Officer had left for shore before we got the news and I hope they make it back in time. No worries, they were back just after 6 o'clock and our 3rd Officer handed me a bag of Diet Drinks.
- A small gift.
- Thank you very much!
We stopped loading at 1800 and our Pilot was onboard at 2055. We resumed loading at Dock #5 at 2330 and I was soon of to bed.
Thursday 19th of April 2007 and I was a little bit surprised when I found out that we expected to be ready around 10 o'clock. At Dock #4 we expected to be ready around 11 o'clock and thus we expected to be ready late afternoon here when we stopped for almost 6 hours during the shifting.
Well, obviously we had been kickin' behinds during the night and we completed first parcel at 1035. At 1125 we had moved the cargo arm from manifold #3 to #1.
- We will soon start!
- Soon means fåck all here!
I had time for lunch and I went to my cabin to listen to Swedish news on internet, waiting and waiting. Well, while waiting our guys was busy painting on deck. She is looking good, even though she's not painted according to Company Colour Scheme.
Colour Scheme or not, she looks good (Where they are ready, still months of hard work to do), but it took a lot of work from our crew.
At 1320 we started to load second parcel and to start with the rate was noting' to write home about. Well, good, I hope they don't call me at 3 o'clock in the morning for 1 hour notice.
Our 1st Engineer was ashore during the afternoon and when he came back our Captain and Chief Engineer went ashore. I was a wee bit disappointed when our 1th Engineer came back without boxing gloves. Last time in Port Arthur, and all the way to Mexico and back he has been on me 24-7:
- We buy gloves and we can start some serious exercise. Boxing is very good exercise!
- OK, great!
So I had expected him to come back with bag gloves, blocking gloves and boxing gloves, but zip. Reminds me of our Bosun on Prospero. When he had been going on for weeks on how he was going to KICK MY BEHIND I asked him to go get the gloves.
Well, after 23 seconds it was crying:
- You're hitting so hard!
Friday 20th of April 2007 and they called me 10 minutes before 6 o'clock in the morning. I grabbed a Diet Drink in my fridge before going down to the CCR.
We completed loading 0720 and all the paper work with the Surveyor was ready at 0840. Now we only have to wait for lab analyses of the cargo and that EXXONMOBILE will release us. I hope we can leave at 2 o'clock.
Well, we took the opportunity to clean our mud boxes to our ballast pumps while waiting. I was on deck catching sun while our Bosun was down in the tanks. We were ready just in time for lunch, I even had time for a little paper work before I went to the mess room and my salad.
Our Agent was onboard at 2 o'clock and we did the last paperwork. Pilot is ordered for 1600 and we will leave for Mexico and my last discharge.
I was in my cabin when the Pilot came at 1545, I heard on the radio when they reported “Pilot onboard” to the bridge.
- It's a woman!
A woman! I better crank up my “ FAT TO FLAT ” diet a few notches so I look good
adjective (of a man) attractive in a romantic, adventurous way.
when I come to the bridge.
Well, I looked dashing when I was on the bridge 5 minutes later and I found out that my onerous diet had been all for nothing.
- Our Pilot was, well, old. Like 100 or something.
Or as she said to me:
- There was a little man on deck asking me if I was the Pilot.
- Yeah, I'm coming 10 minutes before departure and I don't look like a hooker.
We left EXXONMOBILE at 1610 and I spent some time on internet before dinner. Dinner was Broccoli, they are running out of salad, but as our 1st Engineer said:
- Broccoli is the best thing you can eat. It's very healthy!
- Yeah, I know.
After dinner I was on deck walking for almost 2 hours and I ran in to one of the ABs on the fo'c's'le. There is always on man stand-by in the river if we need to drop the anchor. It was a gorgeous evening and I enjoyed the sights while walking and listening to music. At 8 I was in my shower.
At the dinner our 1st Engineer and I decided to watch a movie later on tonight. I told our 1st Engineer that he could choose a movie for tonight.
- Now it's impossible for you to choose anything that's worse than your previous movies. From now on it can only be better. Well, that's what I though and amazingly enough he managed to hit a new ALL TIME LOW. Today he chooses a black and white movie and I felt a sleep in the sofa.
Well, anyway, I need sleep after a long day.
- But man! Where does he find all this bull shit?
Saturday 21st of April 2007 and I had my breakfast at overtime. I turned off my alarm and I felt a sleep again and I didn't wake up until 15 minutes before 8. I skipped my Diet Drink and I had time for my shower.
When I came down our Captain arrived for breakfast. He had been up late with the Pilot yesterday, otherwise he's up with the lark. We enjoyed our tea while I had my best guy on deck preparing the ODME so we could discharge our SLOP.
Our 2nd Officer soon showed up and he was snooping about in the CCR and then I found him on deck checking our pipes and stuff from the ODME. Our 2nd officer has his Chief Officers ticket and he is interested in learning. So I took him to the CCR and we were soon kickin' behinds.
I was impressed when he calculated how much oil we had in the SLOP tank. We read the ullage and interface. E.G. if we have an ullage of 12 m and an interface of 13 m that means we have 1 meter of oil on top of the water.
Let's say that 12 m is 86,9 m3 and 13 m is 63,2m3, well, then it's 23,7m3 of oil. He did it like I use to do, mental arithmetic. I haven't seen this for a long time. Most of the time when you ask people how much 7 + 5,7 are they look for the calculator.
Well, we were ready just in time for lunch. 2nd Officer was off for his watch on the bridge. Before he left I told him that we would fill up the oil record book when he got off his watch at 4 o'clock. When he left I was off for lunch.
At lunch Captain told us that we would load in US for Mexico next voyage.
-Surprised? He asked.
- Oh yeah! I hope that we would load in New Orleans, I said.
- I'm signing off and I can stay one night and let my hair down, I said.
Our 1st Engineer and I had planned to go ashore for a few drinks if I sign off at a fun place, Beaumont means straight homewithout any unnecessary stops.
- You better be careful! When I get a few beersI will pay you back for all the nasty stuff you have done. Bad movies and there is no end to it, I said to our 1st Engineer.
- Who said that I wanted to go ashore with you? He asked.
- It's not necessary to use this unpleasant tone! I said to him.
Last time in Beaumont our agent send a driver to take him ashore. And it was a woman driving him back and he told me:
- She was on to me. She asked if I was single and stuff.
- Of course, a mother of three, youngest son is 2 years older than you, and she hasn't had a young male since 1976, I said.
- Your only jealous, he said.
Well, anyway, now I asked if he wanted to go ashore with the driver.
- Hmm, in Beaumont you can go to McDonalds and eat ice cream while her kids are playing in the ball sea.
Sunday 22nd of April 2007 and as usual I slept longer than planned. I didn't felt a sleep until 2 o'clock in the morning and when my alarm went off I turned it off.
I had to rush down for my tea after my shower and the weather didn't do anything to brighten my day. Gloomy and grey and it looked like the rain could start any minute.
I continued to drill our 2nd Officer. Today we were testing the ODME and we also did test conditions on our cargo computer and we filled up our Oil Record Book and our Maintenance Program.
When we came closer to TUXPAN the sun broke through the clouds and it got very hot. We had end of sea passage at 1520 and we were drifting waiting for the Pilot. He should be onboard at 5 o'clock, first time in TUXPAN without dropping the anchor.
Loading Master and Surveyor came onboard at 1750 and we were busy doing paperwork and calculation. I told them to take the samples firs so we can save some time, they need 4 to 6 hours for a lab test of the gasoline.
We completed paperwork at 2105 and now we are only waiting for the lab result of the cargo samples before we can start.
We commenced discharging at 2355, in the middle of a movie I was watching together with our 1st Engineer.
- Never mind! The quicker we finish our business down here the quicker I will be back home in FUNKY TOWN.
Monday 23rd of April 2007 and I woke up by myself even though I didn't go to bed until 2 o'clock. When I got out of bed I started right off with my usual pills. OMEGA-3, Garlic, Ginseng and all kinds of different vitamins.
- I told you that I was going serious with my new life style!
I took my barrel of tea and I went to the CCR and I found out that we were kicking behinds. Expected to be ready around 1230 with the big parcel.
- Good, maybe we can leave before midnight and I can do the tank cleaning and be in bed at 2.
We need to drain our hydraulic lines so they can change pipes tomorrow.
what do you know? At 0945 they stopped us, shore tanks are full and we have to discharge the rest of the big parcel in another port. I forgot the name of the port but I will find out soon. Well, any way, the GOOD MORNING DRAMA was in full swing in the CCR trying to find out what was going on. No one spoke English so you understand that it's easy with confusions when I'm using my home made Spanish.
- Harblar Babbla?
Before soon I realised that the conversation came out with zip and I left for my office and the PEMEX personnel onboard were talking with PEMEX OPERATION on the VHF.
- About what?
- Well, I have no clue.
Well, as J use to put it, meanwhile I had the CLUB music blasting high on the Richter scale in my office. I was philosophizing about life in general waiting for news.
At 1050 we commenced discharging our small parcel.
Well, my office is not the only place with music blasting high. I mentioned that I gave our 1st Engineer 30 GB of music a few weeks ago. Now it's on full blast every time I pass his cabin and when he's not behind his computer admiring the entire 7000 track he is busy practicing his latest moves.
- Hmm, I don't know if it's enough to make J green of envy. I think J has the “Sveriges Tjockaste Hip Hoppare” prize 2007 in the palm of his hands.
Well, during the afternoon we received my reliever's flight details. He will land in Houston 25th of April and then he is close to both Beaumont and Houston. Most likely we will load in one of these places.
Well, our 1st Engineer will be disappointed. We know what Beaumont means, straight homewithout passing GO or any stupid discos.
- Hmm, I wonder, is there any in discos in Beaumont? I doubt it very much.
When we got our amended voyage order Captain went to the galley.
- Chief Officer is languish away! He needs food, we must order salad in Madero!
Disappearing!? Yeah I wish. I remember when I was in Master Cody.
One morning when I came down from the bridge I found our Cook busy making breakfast in his underwear, talk about whetting the appetite. well, from that day on I only had toast to eat. The crew came down to the dinner table after 12 hours of hard work just to find a doggy chew on the table.
Well, I was looking good when I left the ship in Singapore. Those were the days.
Well, we left at 2022 and about 7 hours to Madero. I was not in my best mode, arrival 5 o'clock in the morning and it doesn't take much imagination to realise that this will be a little more than the ordinary GOOD MORNING SPECTACLE to get out of bed. Oh yeah, 5 o'clock in the morning is my favourite time of the day.
When I was ready with my paper work I went to the bridge to relieve our Captain so he could finish our business with the immigration.
I could not believe my luck when he told me that we would have Pilot in Madero between 9 and 10 o'clock instead of 5 o'clock.
Well, after my shower I spent some quality time with the 1st Engineer in front of the TV watching a stupid movie.
Tuesday 24th of April 2007 and when I woke up by myself we were anchored waiting for the Pilot at Tampico roads. When I came down in my office at 9 o'clock they told me that Pilot was ordered for 12 o'clock.
- Good, I have time to prepare my paper work.
It took me about 30 minutes to do my paperwork, stability calculation, discharge plan, pump log, stability log, ballast log and all the other stuff required.
Paper work, reading e-mails, drinking tea and I managed to keep myself busy for an hour on my office. even though I had the music blasting high I could overhear our 3rd Officer call Captain on the walkie talkie.
- Pilot will be onboard at 11 o'clock.
- Good, I thought, I can still make it home to the weekend.
Nice to see my neighbours again but I'm not so sure they are happy to see me. I have a very old, at least 30- 40 years, lady living next door. She have a out of town company and she use to spend the weekends in FUNKY TOWN.
When I moved in it was all:
- Hello! How are you? Smile smile.
Those days are long gone.
We had our anchor up at 1040 and our Pilot was onboard at 1110. Our Pilot came onboard just outside the breakwaters. PEMEX has a big refinery in Madero, at the mouth of Rio Panuco. The closest city is Tampico.
We had to pass between two breakwaters to enter the river. On our starboard side there was a long beach with people swimming in the surfs. We could see that they were building a new wide road along the beach and I would not be surprised if there will be built restaurants and stuff along this road. Maybe this will turn out as the hottest night spot in a few years. The place to be seen and heard.
Well, there were people fishing along the breakwater and then suddenly we saw a woman showing her tits for us.
- What the fåck?!
I could not believe my eyes, don't they have a Police force in Mexico that can prevent eye sores like this. Obviously not, so I had to do something to prevent her from making a complete fool out of herself. I stepped out on the bridge wing.
- FOR FÅCK'S SAKE! GET DRESSED!
I'm sure she had expected a different reaction. Well, needless to say, she was disappointed when the spectacle didn't had the desired effect. But she didn't give up even though the tactic was proved disappointing.
She just moved over to one of the guys sitting there with his fishing rod.
She rammed her arse up his face and he looked shocked, almost paralysed and the poor thing must have thought it was a sudden and unexpected solar eclipse.
It was an awful sight, like a dead animal on the street, you just have to look. Well, we had soon left the fisherman and the slapper behind.
At 1148 we had our first line ashore and we could see that the river was full of oil. The refinery just let the oil out in the river, fåcking a-holes!
I was pissed off when I saw it and when you ask the shore people about it they just say that this is normal. Well, this is life in a Scooby Country.
We had all fast 1207 and we could go for lunch while waiting for the shore people to come onboard.
Immigration, Loading Master and Agent came onboard at 1300 and the Surveyor was onboard at 1310. Our crew were busy with provision, we had just put down the gangway when the Ship chandler arrived with salad.
We spent the whole afternoon with the Surveyors and we didn't commenced discharging until 1640. One pump half speed and we reached maximum allowed back pressure of 7,5 bars, this will take long time. I had expected 3 hours discharging and after speaking with the Loading Master I expected us to be reedy in the middle of the night. But when we started we only reached around 400 cubic meters per hour and it looks like we will be ready 9 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Good, full nights sleep again. But arriving home to the weekend is down the drain. But I got a lovely salad for dinner and as we use to say “MORE DAYS MORE DOLLARS ”
Well, I don't know what he gets in his food, but I get salad
But, well ,anyway, it's a nice guy!
Our 1st Engineer asked if I wanted to come with him ashore. He's on duty during the night and our Chief Engineer is ashore. But our Chief Engineer will be back at 8 o'clock and then the 1st Engineer can go ashore.
- I wish, but Chief Officer has to stay onboard if the shit hits the fan, I said
Chief Officer can never go ashore, well, that's life. I'm not sure that our 1st Engineer realises that. He was in my cabin millions of times asking if I wanted to go ashore.
I was busy writing on my web page when he showed up like jack-in-the-box every 5 minutes to check if I had changed my mind. I don't know if he felt rejected after 1 million times, but he got morose and sulky. He started to pester me for my HELIPAD.
He took my camera and he took a picture. What a pleasant surprise! My HELIPAD was a mere birthmark and it really made my day. The only black cloud on an otherwise blue sky was some grey hair.
- Hmm, time to colour my hair black.
Wednesday 25th of April 2007 and we completed discharging at 1035. Impressive, we had been alongside for almost 24 hours and we had discharged just a little more than 7000m3 of gasoline.
Next to us was one of those torch that burns surplus gas. You have all seen them when you have passed a refinery or a oil rig. But here they could not keep the torch burning so the gas was just squirted out with a hissing sound.
Every 10 seconds they managed to get the gas burning. The port was full of oil, it was like a ditch with oil coming out in the river and someone had tried a half ass effort to put a oil boom around the outlet. They should be in prison.
Well, I'm sorry that I exposed this for you, but can be an interesting contrast to all the colourful pamphlets the oil companies hand to you. “HEY! THE SUN IS SHINNING FROM OUR ARSE! ”
Then they send vetting inspectors onboard the ships.
- Oh dear! I can't believe my eyes! A apple-core in the trash can for metal.
All visitors to www.aladdin.st have one of PEMEX's ships fresh in mind
I wish for all of us to stop drive our cars so they have to close their refinery and the people in charge can start collect garbage to support themselves. I feel sorry for their wives and kids, but why did they marry losers like that in the first place?
We left Madero refinery at 1207 and I hope that I never come back to that place again.
We cleaned 1 and 3 CT during the afternoon. We will load MTBE in those tanks in Houston, but first we will load gasoline in Beaumont and I will leave the ship. After that I don't care very much what they do as long as they keep the ship an a good shape, and I know that this will be a piece of cake for this good crew.
Thursday 26th of April 2007 and it was hard sleeping during the night. The ship was rolling due to swell and it was hard to sleep.
I woke up when my alarm went off at 0720 and the weather was nice. The guys started right off with the chipping and painting, she will look good when I leave the ship in Beaumont. Well, a little better when I signed on in Panama, when I came on deck first time I was almost falling backwards when I saw the deck. All the rust, I can't remember seeing a deck like this before and a deck like this is something I had expected on a PanamaGreek ship.
We got my flight details just in time for lunch. My first leg Houston - Los Angeles will be with Continental and my worst nightmare came true. New York - Panama City with Continental was an experience I don't care very much for to live through again. My second leg gives me the creeps just thinking about it.
CONTINENTAL AIRLINES - CO 47
SUN 29APR HOUSTON TX LOS ANGELES CA 1855 2033
G.BUSH INTERCONT INTL
NON STOP TERMINAL C TERMINAL 6 DURATION 3:38
THAI AIRWAYS INTL - TG 795
SUN 29APR LOS ANGELES CA FUNKY TOWN TH 2310 0610
INTL SUVARNABHUMI INTL 01MAY
NON STOP TERMINAL B DURATION 17:00
17 hours crossing the Pacific, I hope I can upgrade to biz at the airport. Thai Airways is good, usually no problem to pay the difference at the gate. If biz is full I don't know what to do, I'm too old to fly toilet class now.
Meanwhile I was worrying about my flight details our 1st Engineer were busy on deck doing nothin'.
We expect to arrive at the anchorage around midnight and tomorrow morning US Coast Guard will pay us a visit. A security inspection and after that I hope we will go inside. Saturday night in Houston, well, I would be better off in FUNKY TOWN but I'm sure I will find a place with a few cold beers.
I almost killed our Captain at the dinner. Our 1st Engineer wants to go with me to Houston for a few beers and he had great plans for the female driver from last time in Beaumont. He went on and on about her. I told him that if I had a dog looking like her I would shave its arse and train it to walk backwards.
Captain was almost choked himself in laughter.
Friday 27th of April 2007 and when I woke up we were anchored at Sabine anchorage. We expected US Coast Guard to come onboard for a security inspection before we can go inside.
They wanted all crew on poop deck when they came onboard so they could do a HEAD COUNT. When they had done the head count we all went to our day room.
Our Chief Engineer took 2 of them on a tour in the engine room and I took two of them on deck. It took about 1 hour and they were off again.
First pilot would be onboard at 1400 then 1500 and all of the sudden they wanted to come at 1330. Never mind when we arrive, my reliever is stand-by, he have been on hotel since the 25th of April.
At 1340 our anchor was up and we steamed towards Sabine Pilot station. Our guys prepared deck for the last painting before I'm leaving. There are a few grey clouds on the sky, but we take the chance. We have about 6 hours to go and we need at least 4 hours for the paint to dry so we can walk on deck.
While steaming up Port Arthur Ship Channel I was in deck releasing the IG pressure from the tanks when Captain was shouting from the bridge wing.
- EXXONMOBILE don't have the cargo ready until Sunday!
That means that we have to drop anchor, most likely in the crocodile trench close to EXXONMOBILE's terminal. My reliever and the new Mess man will arrive tonight and Captain will ask the Immigration if it's OK for me to sign off on the roads.
Well, our 1st Engineer didn't take the news that good. He turned sullen when I was just leaving like that. I tried to comforthim:
- Don't take it personal. If it was up to me I would have stayed here with you, but I must leave.
I took down my luggage and placed it outside the CCR when I went for dinner. After dinner I went on deck to check out the progress with the painting. When I came back in my luggage was gone.
- What the .....?!
It didn't take very much detective work to find my bag. It turned out that our 1st Engineer was busy hiding my luggage while I was on deck.
- Great plan! If I can't find my luggage I will stay onboard for another year or so.
My reliever was onboard just after 8 o'clock in the evening. We took a tour on deck and went through the handover notes and we were ready after about one hour.
Now I hope I can get off the ship with my pockets full of dollars tomorrow. We haven't heard anything from the Immigration, but I'm going crazy if I have to stay onboard until we are going along side.
I will be much better off at some disco in Houston, but we will see what happens. If I stay onboard I don't have to go through the hangover.
- Hmm, then I will not get the opportunity to test my B-12 vitamins that I bought to cure my hangovers.
Well, our 1st Engineer spent the evening in my cabin drinking Diet Drinks, it's his duty night and the engine alarm went off most of the time so he had to run to the engine room between all the YOO! and RESPECT!
Well, time turned quick and it was soon time to go to bed. I have to go up early tomorrow. Our new Chief Officer wanted to have a refresher in tank cleaning. He said that he had never been home for 3 months before and that he had forgot the routines, so maybe we will clean 7CT tomorrow.
The first plan was to load 50 0000 Bbls MTBE in 1 and 3CT but now they changed it to 41 000 Bbls so they can get full nomination of gasoline. Then we have to load MTBE in 7 CT and we have to clean this tank. Well, here we have to clean it, otherwise I would never have made any tank cleaning between gasoline and MTBE.
Saturday 28th of April 2007 and will this by my last day onboard? I don't know, but I hope so. I woke up by myself at 0630 and I got a shower before listening to the Swedish news on internet.
We wanted to start with the tank cleaning and we asked our Bosun to be with us in the CCR. He needs to pick up a few things to be ready to relieve our 3rd Officer in September. But there were some problem with the IG plant and we had to wait. My reliever went to play with the cargo computer and I was off to my cabin and the internet.
Well, it's soon 10 o'clock and no IG and no news about me signing off. Well, at 10 o'clock the IG was running and we started to do the cleaning after the coffee break and we finished tank cleaning at 11 but still no news from the Immigration.
Just before lunch Captain told me that there will be a boat 7 o'clock tomorrow morning. What the ....?! Tomorrow, I have to stay on the ship for 1 day doing nothing'. Well, I will go find myself a few DVDs.
Well, after dinner I reactivated my account at Swedish Match and I will pick up snusning again. Our 1st Engineer gave me 2 cans, enough to last me the 17 hours on my flight tomorrow.
Well, it all started yesterday when our 1st Engineer complained that he was down to his last can with snus.
- I don't know how to make it until I'm back in Sweden.
Well, he had been on and on about on how experienced he is on travelling around the globe and now this.
- I don't understand. When I was using snus I knew how much I used every day and I filled my portable home with snus and I never ran out of snus, I said.
Well, I'm a nice guy and I pulled a few strings and he will soon have 3 rolls of snus delivered to him.
I also told him about Swedish Match's service to deliver snus world wide.
His voice changed from unpleasant to smooth in 0,1:
- Can you please show me how to order snus online?
Well, even though he claims to be an experienced traveler and snusare he didn't have a clue on how to get snus abroad. Well, it took us 2 minutes to set up his account at Swedish Match and he gave me 2 cans. I ripped one can open right on and I had a snus under my lip in a jiff.
Well, we will watch a last movie at 9 before I'm off to bed and I will be glad tomorrow when I'm on the airport without a hangover. And I'm even more happy when I'm thinking of all the money I'm saving just because the US Immigration didn't let me come ashore today.
Sunday 29th of April 2007 and I had yet another chance to thank my lucky start that I didn't came ashore yesterday when it knocked on my door at 6 o'clock.
I was out of bed with a smile and I left my cabin behind at 0640 and it was a gorgeous morning when I came on deck. There was a little GOOD MORNING fog so my boat was delayed for my pick up
But we have plenty time, my flight is at 1800 something so I need to kill time as my driver said later on.
When the boat arrived 15 - 20 minutes late it didn't took me long to get off the ship and after 2 minutes I had my 3 bags onboard the boat and I waved farewell.
Our Electrician, Captain, Chief Engineer and my reliever was standing at the MOB boat when I left Barcarolle behind on a sunny morning.
I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of Barcarolle in the morning sun before I sat down in the boat for a chat with the driver. He told me that there were plenty fish and alligators in the marsh, but we never saw any alligators on the 15 minutes ride.
Leaving Barcarolle behind.
After about 5 minutes down the river we turned right and left the river behind. We ended up in a small opening in the marsh and we meet some fishermen in the marsh.
I was on a sharp look out for alligators but I came up with zip. I was a little disappointed, but I will soon get the chance again.
After 5 minutes we arrived to a place that reminded me of the movie Texas chainsaw massacre, a shack with a few wrecks moored at the jetty and the courtyard was full of jalopies. There was a driver waiting for me with a van and we left the place with screaming and smoking tires.
Before going to the airport we had to swing by Captain Kid at the Immigration. After about 15 minute we stepped in to the office and we were welcomed by Captain Kid. Captain Kid recognize me immediately, he is the one coming onboard to check our passports when we arrive to Beaumont. He is checking our passports just to make sure there are no terrorists onboard. last time I asked him:
- Don't you get suspicious? Same name but I'm getting smaller and smaller every time you come onboard.
- Oh! I thought it was a girl that told you to do that.
When the paper work was ready we stopped at a hotel for breakfast and after 30 minutes we were back on the highway. After some 40 minutes of cruising through a boring landscape I asked if we could stop for a Diet Drink. My driver he took the opportunity to clean the car while I was buying the drink.
- Nice to get rid of all the bugs, the driver said when we left the car wash behind.
5 minutes later they called from his office and after leaving me he would go to Corpus Christi to pick up someone.
- All for nothing! Corpus Christi and the van will be full of bugs again.
At the check in on Houston airport I had to take out two pair of shoes, my bag was 75 pounds and 70 is maximum. It was a nice lady and when she saw my ticket she asked me if I lived in FUNKY TOWN.
- We have a condo in Jomtien, she said.
My flight was at 1800 something and she changed me to a 1425 flight and I was happy for that, 6 hours on Houston airport would be enough to make me jump in front of a bus. She gave me a VIP ticket, a Priority Pass or whatever it was and I left for security. They took my toothpaste and I was not allowed to sit at an exit with bandage around my arm. WOW; now I really feel safe to fly.
It was nice to leave Houston behind and at arrival to Los Angeles I changed terminal and I had to wait for a few hours before check in opened.
Finally I could check in and I asked for an update to biz. Well, the check in crew was busy checking out my wrist watch.
- Wow! Where have you bought your watch?
- Excuse me! Can I upgrade my ticket to biz?
- Wow! What a nice watch?
- EXCUSE ME! DO YOU HAVE A SEAT IN BIZ AVAILABLE!?
- Wow! What a big watch?
- Excuse me! I need a seat in biz, can you put your best man on the job? PLEASE!
They had a seat for me and they told me that it would set me back with 1250 US. Then they changed it to 1650 and when I handed them my plastic it was down to 1450. I could see that they were Scooby Doing around with an Economy Premium boarding pass. I really don't want to go down that avenue again and I said:
- HEY! Don't bother givin' that Scooby boarding pass top me!
- Do you want to go all the way?
- Of course, I said and they handed me a boarding pass for biz together with an invitation to the lounge. They called it 1st class lounge, but they only had plastic cutlery and cups so I had my Diet Drink straight from the can while eating BABY EDAMER cheese.
Before boarding I had to pick up my tax free at the gate, I bought a few bottles and the tax free set me back with almost 600 US. When I was finally on the pane I had been up and running for almost 18 hours and I felt like, well, as our 1st Engineer use to say: Sunkig!
Not very long after leaving Los Angeles behind I was a sleep and I didn't have to use my sleeping pill. When we arrive to FUNKY TOWN I will have a few days before leaving for my next ship.
OK, it has come to my knowledge that we have senior citizens visiting my web page. How hard can it be? So it's not very easy for them to see the blue coloured
Jiffy (also jiff)
noun [in SING.] informal a moment: we'll be back in a jiffy.
ORIGIN late 18th cent.: of unknown origin.
So as you understand, in a jiff pretty much depends on your internet.
links to the next page. So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!