Wednesday 1st of August 2007 and we started the month anchored outside José. When I came down for breakfast they told me we were going alongside in the afternoon. I hope for at least one night at the anchorage so our ABs on night watches can wash deck during the night. Dirt is killing the paint on deck.
Well, I day at the anchorage was what I needed. I got up to date with my paper work and our maintenance program. Lo and behold, after lunch I felt asleep on my bed. Good, pilot expected 1800 and it will be a long night.
I stopped at Captain's and Chief Engineer's office on my way to the bridge.
- Any news on when we are going inside?
They told me that they had already been on the way but Bro Priority wasn't able to leave due to lack of tug boats.
- They ordered tug boats from Puerto La Cruz. So when they come you call the engine and we start heave up the anchor.
I relieved our 2nd Officer on the bridge and the called us on the radio. We should be at the Pilot station at 1745. we had our anchor up at 1655 and we were steaming slowly towards the Pilot station.
I couldn't help but I took a picture when our Chief Engineer came to the bridge. He is fascinated by my web page and he asked:
- Did you catch my picture? Did we make it to the internet again?
Bro Priority was waiting for the pilot and we were waiting at the Pilot Station, 1NM off heading outwards when the pilot called.
- Barcarolle! Why are you far away going fast?
- I'm waiting for the pilot. We will have the same pilot Bro Priority is using going out, I answered.
A few minutes later he was on the radio again.
- Barcarolle! Why are you far away going fast?
- Hey! I'm 1 NM from the Pilot station drifting. I will be there in 2 minutes.
Bro Priority leaves José Terminal
While we are steaming outside and Bro Priority was waiting for the pilot I called them. It was a guy I worked with on Bro Jupiter onboard. when we meet them I told him to smile.
- You will be on the internet!
- You still have your camera? He asked.
He remembered me and my camera. His wife were always checking my web page for our adventures on Bro Jupiter.
There were a few of the crew that I knew from my time in Broström. I told my friend from Bro Jupiter to say hello to everyone that I knew when the passed us on the way to New York. Especially the guy from Skåne that I could hear on the radio. I was moved to tears when I could hear skånska on the radio.
- Bäägge ankarna ä klara o läägas av!
Jaja, never mind where you are, there is always a Skåning nearby. And for every Skåning there are plenty wannabe Skåningar, so watch out.
After New York they were going back and load MTBE for Rotterdam. Well we had all fast at 1920 and we could start with the paper work at 2000 when the Surveyor and Loading Master came onboard. We cracked a few jokes and had a few laughs and the paper work was ready around 21 something. Arms connected at 2135 and we were ready to start loading. 10 to 15 minutes Loading Master said, but we know better.
José after dark
Mats, du var så besviken att du inte fick se när jag bytat ut alla logona mot Skånska flaggan. Men nu har du chansen o leka med skorstenen! Ha så roligt, d finns väl inte så möe annat o göra i Kalmar vad jag förstår. Nä du Mats! Jag sitter och funderar och jag tror faktiskt att jag ska göra en special version bara för dig, med alla logor och namn utbyta mot Skånska flaggan så du får en uppfattning om hur d tog sig ut på Marimba. Inga tråkiga helger i Kalmar längre.
I bought a few calculators before I came on the ship. It was the very same day when I came up with the COMB idea. I walked the street and I saw a big calculator.
- Hmm, could come in handy, I thought.
My sausage fingers doesn't work very well with these small buttons on ordinary calculators. I only wish our Agent could have left his message on one of those calculators in Miami. No risk of accidently deleting any messages. I bought one for my office, one for the CCR and one for our 1st Engineer (He have big fingers as well). Well, anyway, our Surveyor caught sight of the calculator and there was notin' that could stop him playing with it.
Well, we started to load at 2235 and I requested full rate at 2255. I called José Terminal on the radio.
- We are changing.... 10-15 minutes, they said on the radio.
I never understood what they were changing, but we had the 10-15 minutes again. It took 1 hour until they speeded up to full rate and I was in bed just after midnight.
Thursday 2nd of August 2007 and, what! Thursday again already, the time for sure turns fast when you have a good time.
One of the monitors to the cargo handling computers broke down yesterday and Our Electrician got right on the job today. We had a new 17" monitor but it was not the same connection so our Electrician had a little something to fiddling with.
When I came down to see our Security people at 1430 the monitor was up and running. We got Security people onboard to search the ships for bombs and they brought two dogs. They looked chocked when I asked our AB to hide a sausage for the dog to find.
Back in the days there was a country called East Germany. Every time in port you had soldiers guarding the ships and when we left they searched the ship with dogs to find East Germans trying to escape the country.
Well, we put a sausage in the funnel and it didn't took long for the dogs to find it. I don't know if the Gestapo liked the prank, but who cares?
I managed to take a picture of one of the guards with my spy cam. If they caught you it was only on way to go, to jail. I remember one time when I had the East German army and navy coming after me. I had taken a picture in the port. I was walking around with my camera like any other tourist, this was not a good idea. But I'm still alive.
Well, the Venezuelan bomb dogs didn't seem to be very enthusiastic about their task.
Comparing to the East German dogs they were sleeping. When they came to my cabin they almost had to pour the dog down my bag to search it.
Well, they searched the ship and they were off around 4 o'clock. We expect to complete loading around 6 o'clock and it's time for me to go to the CCR. They think it will take 3 hours for the paper or as the Surveyor said:
- Maybe more.
Topping off time and all the paperwork and check lists from yesterday seems like a waste of time.
• Shore stop at 170 000 BBLS @ 60°F
• Communication, VHF CH 10 in ENGLISH!
• 30 minutes STAND BY to stop
• Last hour we should compare SHIP/ SHORE figures to get 170 000 BBLS @ 60°F
I called Jose Terminal on CH 10, after several calls there was an answer.
- According to my figures we have about 4500 BBLS to load, I said.
To get 170 000 BBLS ship figure is no problem, the problem is that the B/L should be 170 000 BBLS and they use shore figures for the B/L. Some cases they use ship figures as B/L and then it's no worries, we just stop when we have 170 000 BBLS onboard.
The only thing happened on my call was an answer I didn't understood and they reduced loading speed. 90 minutes later I had still not got the shore figures.
At 1755 they stopped and after 15 minutes they said the stop would last for another hour. I told them that I was closing my manifold. Now, believe it or not, we had an argument going on for 10 minutes about the manifold.
- Leave the manifold open, they said.
- No, I close my manifold. Call me when you start, I said (Standard procedure to close the manifold when they stop the cargo handling)
- Leave the manifold open. we will start in 5 to 10 minutes (Where have I heard this before), they said.
- Leave the manifold open, they said.
- No, I close my manifold. Call me when you start, I said again.
- Leave the manifold open, they said.
Now I lost my good mood.
- No, my manifold is closed. I have almost full tanks and my manifold stays closed until you start, I said and left the CCR with an order to 3rd Officer:
- Don't open the manifold!
Here we had several stops during the loading and they just start without any notice. Imagine duty Officer at the dunny when they start.
I was working with one Captain, yes, he made it Captain. When he was Chief Officer they were loading in Russia. They stopped loading and the Loading Master told him everything was closed ashore. Well, except an leaking valve and the manifold on the ship leading to an empty tank.
When our hero came on deck in the morning the deck was full of oil as well as the port. Well, anyway, it's standard procedure to close the manifold when there is no cargo operation going on.
It also happened that while waiting to start loading everything was open on the ship. Chief Officer relaxing just waiting to start.
- It will only take 2 seconds to start, everything is open onboard, and the rest is up to the terminal.
Well, while waiting the terminal was Scooby Dooing around and they managed to get something very dirty in the cargo line and in to the ships tank. No more relaxing.
Well, of course the manifold has to be open during cargo operation. I remember back in the days when I had a 2nd Officer asking me:
- What happens if I close the manifold during discharging?
Needless to say, I had to spend his watches in the CCR. But that's Chief Officer's job.
At 1850 we stopped loading again, now they wanted our figures and the Loading Master came onboard. All measurements had frozen ashore and they had no clue how much we had received.
- OK, I give you ship figures. I calculate with an API of 80, I said.
- Yeah, the Surveyor and Loading Master gave me an approx API of 80 yesterday. And in my loading order is 80,5, I said.
- Hmm, I think we have a big difference on our API, he said.
- Hmm, I thought we were resuming loading when we had the shore figures.
But when the Agent told me that the shore tank was empty and the final density was 83 I realised that there were no more loading. We were 1400 BBLS short and we left José at 2305.
Friday 3rd of August 2007 and we were steaming towards Curacao when I woke up. Our Captain will sign off and the Captain from Marimba will join us. He is the ordinary Captain ere, but we all remember the drama in China. now they have to send another Captain to Marimba for 2 weeks until they can find a Chief Officer to relieve my reliever on Marimba.
I can't say that I'm very excited over Curacao. It looks very nice when you enter Willemstad. We have to pass through the town to enter the bay where the refinery is. The town looked like a real FUNKY TOWN with all the colourful houses along the water.
- Here must be some real night life extravaganza, I thought first time passing through.
Curacao 1999 - Looks nice with all the colourfull houses
Mats, där e till och med mer att göra i Kalmar
The only thing I found was one pub and a disco at the beach. The disco was OK, but it was a nightmare trying to find a taxi in the middle of nowhere 5 o'clock in the morning.
Well, I don't have the time to go ashore and, anyway, I'm too old for that now, even loaded with B-12.
I have the deck crew coming to my office at 8 in the morning to discuss and line up the work for the day and I got they guys started in the morning, our two extra guys starts themselves, they know where the grit blaster is and where to start.
Well, it looks like we will arrive to Curacao pilot station between 16 and 1700 in the afternoon and it will be a long night again. OK, the web page for my school is on ice until we leave Curacao. Chief Engineer's web page is in a mothproof bag and on top off this I got e-mail from my friend at INTERTANKO. All their e-mail has the additional paragraph:
What do you think of lifeboats? send your comment to the confidential feedback forum
Now he wants' me to write something on the subject. He is sitting at his desk makin' billions while I do the writing. I told him that my writing skills left a few things to desire. Writing is not one of my gifts and has never been.
I remember when I was a “PATTA GLYTT” back in the days and the Teacher asked us to write an essay on what we had done during the Christmas leave. The only thing I could come up with was:
I cleaned my room
Well, my grade, as you already guessed, wasn't very impressive.
Well, bad grades in school until I finished elementary school. My grades were so bad I didn't make it to secondary school.
So I had to work as a wash up guy at a Health food home. people were paying a fortune to stay there. But every night when I walked home the bushed were full of people smoking and eating chocolate. Well, that could have been my life at the dishpan.
After a month or two I got a place at a Carpenter school. The Teacher said we were the worst class there had ever been at the school so I'm used to it. Well, I wasn't very disappointed when Laurin told me that I wasn't good enough for the company.
I don't know why they send me out on a ship again, maybe it's too expensive to break my contract. But it has to cost money to have a good crew, especially when in oil business. I told them that they could fire me, but they didn't want to do that. Sending out a “ Good for nothing” Chief Officer is something I can't understand. But again, God gave horses' bigger heads so I leave the thinking to them.
Time turned quick and it was soon time for lunch, salad. I had done the cargo planning for Curacao and I will try to sleep a little after lunch. Shifting cargo at arrival and only God knows when we will start to load.
At lunch Captain told me that we will just stay outside drifting at arrival to Curacao. I hope we stay drifting all night so the crew can wash deck. The crew were a little disappointed, they had planned to go ashore. But I told them that there is f all to do.
I was off to my cabin and bed after my salad, 1 hour on top of the bed and I'm ready to take on Curacao tonight.
I had been in bed for 2 seconds when agony stroke. This is not good enough, if I want to become the Handsome man I'm better off on deck doing my constitutional before my evening watch. I had my sport shoes on in a jiff and I left for
deck with my iPod on full blast.
- Psst, I will take the opportunity to pester the deck crew.
Our crew is busy painting and chipping and Barcarolle looks better by the day. I checked deck while listening to music and when I changed track I could hear something. It sounded like someone was speaking.
- Hmm, maybe something wrong with my iPod. Or maybe I just imagine hearing things, I thought and for a while I was worried. Maybe it's all the B-12s. Either they give me super hearing or they make me crazy.
But when I came to the manifold I could hear our 1st Engineer on the PA system. I had my camera in my back pocket and I wanted to record the fun. Well, anyway, He's a real prankster and the life onboard is a little easier to stand, always a little something going on.
One thing is for sure, the deck crew have no time for pranks and jape. The sound of the chipping hammers can be heard all over the ship.
It was a very hot day and I gave up my constitutional after about one hour.
- Damn, it must be hundreds of degrees out here!
I'm already red as a tomato in the face from the sun and I burnt myself a little and I don't want to make it any worse. I went to my cabin and a cold diet drink. I wrote a few words on my web page. When I was about to step in to the shower I heard on my radio that the pilot would come at 1700.
- That was the night drifting and cleaning deck down the drain, I thought.
When I came on the bridge at 1600 we were a few miles of Willemstad and we would be drifting 2,5 NM from the port entrance until 1700. Anyway that's the time they gave us for pilot boarding.
At 1725 the pilot came and we could enter the port assisted by 2 tugs. I recognized Willemstad when we passed, I could see the pub and the disco. At least I think it was the disco, a few grass huts on the beach just outside the town. Last time I was there I had a 50 cm tunnel-vision.
But that was then, now we are here for some heavy duty behind kickin' in the service for the oil companies. No time to go ashore having a good time.
Tug coming out to meet us
The brown building to the right of the entrance is a hotel. We were there as uninvited wedding party guests a few years ago.
The town looks very nice with the colourful old styled house. But there were cars all over the place and I think they would have been better off to ban the cars from the town. Everything is within 2 minutes walking distance in the town.
During the cruise season the berths are full of cruise ships, but now there was only a British man-of-war. We passed under the bridge and we turned around and backed in to our jetty. First line ashore 1755 and when they took the breast line forward the mooring boat managed to get the mooring lines in the propeller.
Now we had to wait for divers and do you think they will pay for the damaged mooring rope? I don't think so. The port was full of oil so I guess the cruise ships never make it all the way in to the refinery.
We had to transfer cargo from 1CT to 2 CT to get our mix of 63 and 37%. I just kept 1 CT full to avoid slack in too many tanks. Everything was ready and arm connected at 2155.
- We will soon start!
Just before midnight they said that it would take about another hour before they will start. Coming to think about it. I have not had many full night sleeps since I came onboard.
Saturday 4th of August 2007 and I woke up at 11 o'clock. Well, They managed to stretch the “We will start in 5 minutes" to several hours and I got in bed around 0430 this morning.
We started at 0310 and we stopped at 0312 due to dirty manifold sample. Naphtha should be colourless according to the MSDS but we received a product tainted yellow. When the Loading Master came onboard at 0320 we gave him one of the samples and he went ashore to check the shore tank.
He came back and told us it was OK and we resumed loading at 0340 and I did the paper work and I was off to my cabin.
The only good thing with sitting and waiting was that I managed to get the web page ready for my school. Well, not ready, but I did most of the layout and I will send it to the school and hopefully I will receive the go ahead.
Well, it looks like it will be a full night again. We will be ready late tonight (Without any stops) and then paper work. Our CCR was full of manifold samples that they had taken every hour, just in case we get any claims. I put them in bags so I can put them in our sample locker after departure.
Our new Captain came onboard yesterday and he was happy to be back on Barcarolle. He told me that they had left for the Persian Gulf after Singapore, but when they were about to leave Malacca Strait they got order to anchor and wait for new orders. They ended up loading Gasoil in Singapore.
When we left the China, all the pipes on deck were leaking. AFTER 2 MONTHS ON SHIP YARD! And everyone knew that the pipes were in bad condition, but the inside of the funnel were nice with fresh paint.
I guess we were lucky that we didn't have any cargo when we left China because we would have been off hire from day 1. We needed 24 hours to heat cure our freshly painted cargo tanks, but it took almost 3 days before we could get steam on the coils. There was not much left of the pipes on deck.
Our crew were busy the first day to put hose clips on the leaks. At some places we had 50 cm of hose clips side by side. Walking on deck was like being in the church listening to an organ. They covered one leak and you could hear when the next leak opened up, psssssst. 2nd day they gave up the hose clams and they emptied the hospital on bandage to put on the pipes with plastic steel.
Everyone onboard knew that the pipes were in a, at least to say, poor condition.
- Oh, it will be exciting when they start the blasting. Not much will be left on deck.
And still no pipes were changed. The only thing I heard was that it was overkill to have ABs helping the Fitters to change pipes.
I handed 2 lists of things that the shipyard had destroyed on deck to our Superintendent. Both times I got the same reaction:
- We cannot give them a 50 page list. I have already given them a list!
Needless to say, I never gave him a list again. Same reaction when I checked the heating coils for damages after the shipyard had removed the scaffold from the cargo tanks. This together with the deck crew stand by outside the funnel waiting for the funnel to be ready and the paint to be delivered did it for me ( I wasn't even bothered with the member of the TEAM thing they had going on there). I didn't care for much anything happening on that ship.
I can't say that I was very surprised when I handed over a list of missing dogs for our tank hatches. They were stolen on the shipyard.
- It's impossible that so many dogs are missing! They must have been missing at arrival to the shipyard.
Well, if they have passed the Pacific fully loaded with open hatches or if they have been stolen on the shipyard is nothing I care about, but they are still missing.
- As a Technician I can't understand how simple yard workers can remove the dogs, it's impossible that the yard have stolen them!
- Well, they are just sitting with a simple split pin that anyone with a hand can remove.
Our crew were busy painting on deck, they are not allowed to use any tools while alongside so they paint the ship. Our deck Boy was Mess man last time I was onboard and he joined the ship with me in Fort Everglades.
We completed loading at 2300 and we had to wait for almost 1 hour for the final API. At 0040 calculation was ready and I expected the cargo documents onboard just short after.
Sunday 5th of August 2007 and our 2nd Officer informed me that the expected 3 hours for the paper work, that means that I will be in bed 6 o'clock in the morning. I will continue with the web page for my school and if I'm lucky the papers might be onboard earlier. Anyway, no use to go to bed, I'm not tired and if I manage to fall asleep it will just make it worse to come up in the middle of the night again.
At 0225 the paper came onboard and we had to wait for the agent to order the pilot. Our Agent had a flat tyre and he was delayed, but at 0330 the agent left. He told us that the pilot would come at 8, there were no tugs available until 8. The tugs were busy elsewhere and we had to wait.
I was in bed 5 o'clock and I woke up when the fire alarm went off. DARN, I was tired, but it was false alarm and I was soon back in bed and at 8 they called me. We left the jetty at 0830 and at 10 I was off to bed
20 minutes before 12 my alarm went off and I could hardly find my way out of the bed. But I have to go up, otherwise the whole night will be destroyed. Hopefully I will be tired after my watch tonight so I can go asleep. I will be back in my diurnal rhythm in a jiff.
Well, after lunch I checked on the guys on deck and I returned to my cabin. I had come up with a master plan again, once again.
Being tired feels pretty much as having a hangover, well, not exactly. But anyway, I went to my cabin to try a fist full of B-12s and then it's just to hope that they kick in.
For sure, I have enough B-12s since our 1st Engineer bought for me in Port Everglades. I hardly find place for my computer on the desk.
Lo and behold, 1 hour later I was like fresh out of bed. I was brisk and chipper. DARN, this B-12 is the best. Or as I said to our 1st Engineer the other day:
- B-12 e d bästa som hänt fyllegubben på århundraden!
- Hmm, or maybe it is the case of diet drinks I had during the afternoon?
Well, I would like to give the credits to my B-12 vitamins.
- Hmm, maybe I should try one of the 33000% tablets before going to watch at 1600, good idea!
- Hmm, maybe better off taking a fist full of the 33000% pills.
Our 1st Engineer have planned a movie night and from experience I know it will be a real sleeping pill.
And believe me, sleeping pill is the good nights. Last time I was about to throw myself overboard.
I had a nice watch. 30 minutes after coming on watch our 1st Engineer came for a 1630 diet drink. We were talking about the good old days enjoying our drinks and the nice weather.
Captain was on the bridge borrowing snus from me. He gave up several years ago so I told him to be careful.
- No problem, I take a little every now and then.
Well, I enjoyed my evening watch. Only one ship on the radar passing well clear of us and I was meditating over the problems in the world and my diet. I was disturbed by the VHF, it was the other ship calling me.
- Barcarolle, what is your intention?
Being the AIS epoch (Visit my web ship to find out more about AIS) I'm not surprised, but I'm annoyed. Now they call you every now and then on the radio when they can see the ships name on the AIS.
We had a TCPA of more than 20 minutes and a CPA of millions of mile.
- My intention??!! I'm the give way ship so you just continue, I will pass astern of you, I said.
I remember leaving Singapore Strait bound for Taiwan. I could see a mint green gas tanker in the horizon. She was not even on the radar so she was far away, I estimated the TCPA to 8 hours. I could hear the American officer on the bridge calling me on the VHF.
- This is gas tanker blah-blah calling the yellow ship dead ahead of me.
I knew it was me he called because I was on a yellow ship and there were no other Stolt ships nearby. My friend was working on a gas tanker loading in Indonesia and he told me about the American gas tankers.
- They are all going ashore buying marijuana and then they smokethemselves retarded.
So I guessed I had one of those in front of me when I replied on the VHF.
- What are we going to do? He asked on the radio.
- Just stick to the rules, I said.
- Port to port, he said.
- Yes, I will amend the night orders for the next watch so he knows when you pass in 4 or 5 hours, I said.
Monday 6th of August 2007 and, well, I must mention that it was a OK movie yesterday. It was long, maybe 2 hours or more. But it was OK, and it was our Electrician that choose the movie.
I started the day in the shower and I was in the mess room 15 minutes before 8 when the rest of the guys moved in to the day room for coffee.
- Are you leaving when I'm coming?
- We are eating at 0730
Our Chief Engineer told me that he would ask the Cook to serve the breakfast in my cabin.
- Then we all can eat together, he said.
We received a new computer for SAAB in Port Everglades and I had planned to install the new computer during the morning. Well, the only thing I discovered when I got the new computer up and running was that it was for M/T Ek Star.
So I had to install the old computer again and we had the new computer was back in the box in a jiff. Now we could start to test the brakes on our mooring winches. This had to be done once a year and now it's time again.
We kept us self busy until lunch, we had done half of the winches and we will do the rest tomorrow. They need to remove one of the winches to the accommodation ladders and take it down to the engine work shop.
When they are ready with that they need to change two brake linings. They will keep them self busy on deck for quite some time, I use Bosun and one of the AB for the day to day work and repair and maintenance and the rest of the crew is chipping and painting.
After lunch our Chief Engineer followed me to my cabin for a look on my school's web page. I gave him a USB memory for his pictures, and I'm ready to create. I'm ready with my schools web page, now I'm only hoping they approve it. Well, anyway, now I need something else to kill my time with. It became 6 and no 1st Engineer.
Before going on watch I made an appointment with our 1st Engineer to meet on the bridge at 5 for a diet drink. The clock became 5 and no 1st Engineer. At 6 there were still no 1st Engineer. I was drinking my tea listening to music wonder if it was my healthy life style (Tea and B-12) making me feel so good today. I did a little language study and I hope I can impress my Teachers.
Well, I can tell them the story about the Stewardess on the flight when our hero was flying to Frankfurt. Our hero has no problem with “Fläsk Pelle”, but his feelings got a little hurt when she added Tisuut after “Fläsk Pelle”. Well, our hero had 2 seats all by lonesome on a full flight so I guess he was happy about it, Tisuut or not.
Well, just after 6 our Electrician showed up. I was drinking my tea when he came rushing in starting to work with the windows. There are electric heating in the window and he needs to check the ground. We discussed the movie for the evening, by now we have left out the 1st Engineer from the process of choosing movies. So far it had proved to be a wise move and now we are only watching good movies.
Our 1st Engineer arrived to the bridge at 1830 something.
- Time for a 5 o'clock diet drink, he said showing me a home
made wrist watch.
Well, I must give him credit for being ingenious. 3 minutes later Chief Engineer arrived and a minute later Captain came to the bridge.
- OK ok, now when we are on the bridge let's have a picture, I said.
- NO, you only put us on internet!
Well, after taking the first picture there was nothing stopping them on coming on with better places to take the pictures.
- It's better on the other side.
- The best place is on the bridge wing!
They ended up running around like track horses and I was like a bubble gum on them with my camera.
After my watch I checked my e-mail and our 1st Engineer had sent me a e-mail from the ECR. Aladdin, here is a picture of the whole engine department working with your winch, we give you top priority.
I didn't have the energy to go up and get my USB memory to save the pic. I tried a floppy disk, when I finally found a floppy disk I realized that my computer don't have a floppy drive. Well, no one have it nowadays. So I sent it to myself via e-mail and I hope I can upload it when we arrive to the USA.
Tuesday 7th of August 2007 and it knocked on my door when I was in the shower, well it was more like a banging. I thought the whole door would come down.
Our Chief Engineer took a picture of me first thing when I came down to the mess room for my tea. Believe me, this picture isn't anything you want to be exposed to on the internet.
When I copied the pictures later on I was chocked. Sweet Jesus, is this how I look in the morning? (I don't think the looks improve much during the day, well, to be honest, I'm pretty sure)
Well, anyway, our Chief Engineer has started to run around with his camera, I believe that he decided to be serious with his home page. Now I'm running in to his camera everywhere I go. I guess I had it coming, cheese!
In the ECR
In the ECR
Our Mess man
Picture by our Chief Engineer
I was having my third shower for the day (Jag e ledsen J, men jag tog inte tiderna) and I went for the bridge and my watch. I relieved our 2nd Officer, one of the young upcoming, soon to be Chief Officer. He asked me the other day if he could have the 4-8 watch when we get our 3rd Junior Officer.
- I can be with you during the days and learn.
- It's OK by me, but I don't think I have anything to teach you, I said.
I had the kettle on when he left and not long after I had a cup of tea in my hand enjoying P3 Hip Hop. I have about 43 hours of P3 Hip Hop, so there is enough to last me for a while.
I remember when I had my P3 Hip Hop festival in my office when we loaded in Venezuela. Our Surveyor was mighty impressed, not only because of the calculator. He was even impressed by the music.
He asked me thousands of questions about the music. I'm used to it, we were almost delayed in Russia once when the Surveyor keep going on about the music.
- Can you please copy the music for me?
- Where did you found this music?
We passed Grand Cayman Island on my watch and the sun was shining. The crew were busy on deck and I was planning for tomorrows work when our Chief Engineer came on the bridge, with his camera.
The sun was shining but we had passing showers and at dinner I had to call the crew to ask them to have a short dinner.
- Maybe the rain is coming and we need to get the blaster areas painted, I said on the radio.
I managed to dodge the showers, first 30° to port and then 30° to starboard and we only got a few drops on deck. 2 minutes of sun shine and deck was dry again.
We had showers 100 meter on our starboard side and on our port side we had a shower passing on 50 meter. Luck in combination with some manoeuvring extravaganza saved a whole days blasting on deck and the crew could continue like nothing ever happened.
Hmm, not exactly. Our 1st Engineer was on the radio asking me if I had a man over board drill.
- Are you performing a Williamson's turn?
- I'm dodging the rain, I answered.
OK, we heeled a little when we manoeuvred to stay dry on deck. But it's nothing compared with what I saw a few years back. I was farting, no, whistling along sounds better. I had a cruise ship approaching from behind. I just had a feeling that this was bad. I tried to call them several times without any luck. I could not change course, I just had to try to keep my stern towards the bow on the cruise ship. I prefer her bow in our steering engine instead of in our cargo tanks full of chemicals.
I called and called and I don't know if someone woke up on the bridge, but suddenly they put hard rudder and the whole cruise ship heeled like I never seen before. 24 knots and hard to starboard, I bet they cleaned all the tables in the restaurant.
Wednesday 8th of August 2007 and I woke up at 0730, one our extra sleep due to retarding ships time during the night. I made myself a bucket of tea and I went to see the deck crew in my office. While lining up the jobs our Captain and Chief Engineer came and, well, as usually the music was blasting and I got to see Captains best moves. Well, funky music it is and it's very hard to resist shaking a limb or two.
Chief Engineer at his desk
Captain at his desk
At Captain and Chief Engineer's office
Our top mast is shaking terrible when we're at sea and our Chief Engineer asked if I could put some of my best guys on the job.
- OK, we have to find a wire and a turnbuckle. I put my best guys on it as soon as the break lining is ready, I said.
After lunch I went up to my cabin for a few words on my web page. Our 1st Engineer went for a rest as well. I told him that I would go crazy without him or his reliever.
- It would have been fåcking empty onboard, I said.
He told me that during my absence there had been no one to talk to during the evenings. He was sitting alone in the day room every night.
- Why do you think I sent all the e-mails to you trying to get you here on the double? he asked.
We will have a drill at 1300 and I hope I can get a picture of the full crew. Now I'm writing on my web page, I usually have time for a few words during the lunch. My schools website is ready and I'm just waiting for our Chief Engineer to supply me with the right pictures so I can start with his page. I'm off to the drill and if I got the picture of the crew you will see it below.
I got my picture at the mustering and we could continue with the smoke diving drill. When we were ready we meet up on the bridge and our 2nd Officer showed us the line throwing rockets.
We had 4 expired rockets that we launched from the bridge wing.
After the oil spill drill it was time for my shower, and I will try to squeeze in a few minutes for our Chief Engineers website before my watch.
Our winch to the accommodation ladder is back in place and they will spin on the wire this evening when they are ready with the blasting. Well, anyway, the other day I promised you the picture that our 1st Engineer took, and here it is.
- Hmm, maybe I can ask our 1st Engineer if he wants to be www.aladdin.st's special camera-man in the engine department.
The weather was nice when I came on my watch. We have reached Gulf of Mexico and ETA tomorrow afternoon. I made myself a cuppa and I enjoyed the views. Soon I had Flippers around the ship and I was watching them when our 1st Engineer joined me for a cuppa.
We enjoyed our tea, healthy and this is the latest thing to do: SMART DRINKING. Not everyone agrees with that. I know that our Chief Engineer on Marimba had another theory. He complained that it was not allowed to drink at sea now a days and it was better back in the days when they were stupid and drunk instead of sober. Well, it went something like that. I didn't follow, it didn't make any sense, but not very much did.
I watched the guys working on deck. They span on the wire back on the accommodation ladder winch so now it's ready. They finished the brake linings on the deck winches so they are also ready and tomorrow we will adjust one of the winches on the fo'c's'le.
The guys are kikin' behinds on deck and we tick of items after items on our list. The list isn't very long and that's nice. Last time I signed on here I made a list longer than long. But thanks to a very good crew there isn't very much left, but there is plenty chipping for the chippers to do.
When I came down from my watch I found a case of Diet Drinks outside my door and where did that came from? It turned out that our 1st Engineer had tried to be funny and now I have a case of diet drink. Well, I'm giving up diet drinks and there is a constant flow of the darn thing to my cabin.
Thursday 9th of August 2007 and after my tea I checked my e-mail. There was an e-mail from on signing 1st Engineer.
So you want me to bring 4 rolls of ordinary GENERAL snus and almond paste?
Don't make a fuzz about figures and stuff, bring as much as you can carry!
We finished the brake test on the mooring winches with new brake lining before lunch. It's hundreds of degrees on deck and when we were done it took me 0, 2 to get to
my cabin and a cold diet drink.
We expect to get our pilot around 4 o'clock and that's just when I'm coming on watch. I have to spend 4 humdrum hours on the bridge with the pilot. Our Pilot was already onboard when I stepped in on the bridge, he had been onboard for 10 minutes already.
I opened a diet drink and we entered Mississippi river some 20 minutes later with Flippers swimming around us.
Entering Mississippi river
I asked the Pilot about crocodiles and he confirmed that there were crocs in the river.
- We have a 12 feet croc at the pilot station, he said.
- Is the crocodile back? Captain asked.
The crocodile had disappeared during the hurricane and the Pilot told us that it came back 2 weeks ago.
- But they are only eating apples, I said.
- If you're swimming they might try to eat you, he said.
I told him that I wished to have a few pictures for my web page. I told him that the last time I had to get pictures from the Captain.
- When you're outbound ask the sea pilot to show you were there are crocs, he suggested.
But you are going to need a proper zoom lens, he added.
- I use the binoculars!
- Does it work?
- Like a dream!
I took a picture of him and I showed him the result.
-Of course you cannot use your flash so make sure there is enough light. He was impressed by the result, ok, well, impressed is maybe not the word we are seeking here.
- Now you made it to the internet, I said.
- Oh great! What's the address?
Actually the time turned quick with this pilot and it was soon time for him to leave and we would be joined by a
At 1805 we passed Pilottown, yes, that's the name of the town. Hmm, I would not have called it a town, it was more like a camp. But we got our River Pilot onboard. The sea pilot will stay for another 40 minutes and he will enjoy the time in our mess room. I stayed with Captain and the helmsman on the bridge.
Pilottown with a population of 3
Pilottown, yeah, I can't think of one single reason that would make me want to live there. The night life, no I don't think so.
Pilottown with a population of 3
After some 40 minutes it was time for the sea pilot to leave and I was running around the mess rooms looking for him when he left us. We will reach New Orleans around 1 o'clock tomorrow morning and we will get a new Pilot. As I understand it we are only halfway then so we will arrive tomorrow afternoon.
Our 1st Engineer paid us a visit on the bridge. It's all the excitement that entice the Engineers to come to the bridge. We have charts and buttons and all kind of exciting equipment here. Of course it's a hands in the pocket area but if you think you can handle it visit my web ship for all about the bridge equipment
After a few hours steaming upriver I thought the river water would be fresh enough for the crew to flush the deck. The deck is white of salt and that's nothing we want on our new paint. The plan is to have the freshly blasted area spray painted
hi!i have been 27years in ferry trade as cook,a la carte,special restaurants,crew cook,,,are there any shipping companies who gives value to scandinavian chef like me?is it money that talks?i still have many years to go.i am regular reader in your web site.keep it up!tomorrow back to my ship.10days rotatio.hälsingar,krisu.
It was nice to get of the watch and I was in my cabin in two steps. I managed to connect to the internet and to check my e-mail. There was an e-mail from a Finnish Cook wondering about opportunities to work on cargo ships.
- Hmm, I guess my web page makes it sound more exciting than it is.
The internet connection turned bad when I started to upload my web page. Finally I thought there was something happening with my email. 536KB downloaded in a jiff but when I came back I discovered that it was only 638 bytes. I gave up the internet idea and prepared myself for bed.
10 minutes before 11 it knocked on my door, it was our 3rd Officer.
- The Surveyors is on the way
The Surveyors arrived with a boat and we took the samples and I got rid of 9 samples from load port. I was on my way to my cabin when our 1st Engineer came from the engine room.
He had me to sit down having a diet drink, just before bed time and I knew it would be hard to fall asleep. While sippin' on y drink I discovered that the internet had kicked in and I managed to upload my web page.
E-mails from all over the world and there was one from my friend at Broström Tankers. He asked if I could put his bank on my SHIT list. I had forgotten all about that page.
- Hmm, maybe time to update it.
Yeah, I will do it when I have the time, now I'm off to bed. But you have the story about his bank to look forward to. His account is empty at the end of every month so his auto debit kicks back and his bills are unpaid. This has been going on for 4 months and he is calling SEB every time.
- We take care of this ASAP. We put our best man on the job, don't worry.
Well, next month and the same story and the SEB's best man on the job. Banking in a nutshell.
Friday 10th of August 2007 and we were still steaming up the river Mississippi when I woke up. ETA to Sunshine 1200. Captain had been up for 24 hours and he have to stay up until arrival. Well, at arrival we will have Coast Guard, Immigration and the hours disappears quickly when they are onboard. So Captain and Chief engineer is facing several hours more before its bed time.
At least I offered them a bottle of B-12s, but they turned down the offer.
Snus is better than B-12
For Mats to play with during tedious nights in Kalmar
We connected our tugs around 1130 and we had first line ashore just after 12. But we were to discover that there wasn't enough water at the jetty and we were standing on the seabed and we could not get alongside.
We had sent hundreds of e-mail with our departure and arrival draft, almost 32 feet in FW. On all e-mails a depth of 40 feet at the jetty had been stated so we just whistled along with our index finger up our nose.
The Terminal Manger was soon onboard:
- We dredged here but the dredger broke down and we thought it was good enough.
Slight difference between 30 and 40 feet. We sounded the bottom around the ship. 11m something on the river side and 8,7m on the jetty side. Our Captain asked if I had my camera.
- This will look good on internet, he said.
When we were ready with the sounding we dipped our ballast tanks just to see that there were no leaks and I had to calculate of much we could lift the ship by shifting cargo and discharge ballast. I have 2600 ton water in 4 DB and if I discharge the ballast I need to shift cargo from 1CT to 8CT.
Our 1st Engineer and I were the first ones at Captain's office waiting for the Immigration. I was teasing our 1st Engineer and Captain so the Captain had to do my ZIP IT WHISTLE® What the??!! Everyone is trying this one now, but of course the
original is the best. J's friends were at least to say annoyed whit this whistle.
- Why did you start with that one? Every time J is drunk we have to listen to and watch his poor attempt to do you ZIP IT WHISTLE®.
Well, anyway, the custom had to do their stuff before the Immigration officer so I left for the deck. Our Surveyor came onboard and we started to measure the cargo when we had to stop and go to the Immigration Officer with our passports. What a surprise!
- How many do you have?
- I have 8 of the very best crew on deck, I answered.
- I mean you ear rings.
Oh! Here we go down that avenue again. It's the same every time and just to make the quiet I answer.
- One for every boy friend!
We were running around like track horses and when we could continue the gauging there was a new Surveyor. He had to relieve the other because he was needed at another terminal, our new Surveyor were not allowed to enter that terminal.
Never mind, he just started with the first tank and we were leaving. The plan is to anchor and inspect the bottom while they are looking for a new jetty. If we are lucky we have to stay anchored a few days and the crew can blaster and paint.
If they can't find a jetty for us they have to call in a dredger on Monday before we can return to the jetty. Well, I had to ask the Surveyor if he wanted to come with us to finish the gauging.
- We are leaving no and you have to leave, I said.
Our Pilot had been onboard for 1 and a half hour already and he was eager to leave this place behind.
The ship was cleared from visitors at 1630 and now we had to wait for the boatmen. The tugs had been along all the time so at least we didn't had to wait for them. At 1655 we could leave the jetty and according to the pilot it's about 3 hours to Sunshine bridge where we will drop the anchor.
At the first bend our Pilot became excited. He was looking at our ECDIS pointing at an AIS target.
- This is the one I'm looking for! It's a pusher with 42 barges.
He was steaming up river and when we passed the bend we could see him. It was a pretty big thing they had sent up the river.
- A soccer field and a few tennis courts, I said to the Pilot.
It was a big thing coming and if I remembered it right they had a draft of 4 meters, plenty cargo.
A little further down the river we passed a few bulk carriers anchored in the river discharging to barges. There were plenty barges coming up the river and a few big tankers as well.
Otherwise nothing exciting took place during my watch, I just wanted the clock to be 8 so I could go to bed. And standing on the bridge looking don't make the time turn any faster, even though the 1st Engineer was on the bridge at times for a diet drink and a chat about the good ol' days.
We were to drop anchor just after Sunshine bridge and we reached the bridge around 1930. We got 2 tugs connected forward that would help us turn around in the river. We will use both anchors and we will anchor with the bow against the current.
I was relieved by 3rd Officer just before they dropped the anchor at 2005 and I went back to the bridge with the receipt for the tug boats.
Saturday 11th of August 2007 and I woke up by a knock on my door a few minutes after 8. I had just turned off my alarm when it went off at 0730. Now 1 of the ABs knocked on my door.
- We wait for you at the office.
- I'll be there in 2 minutes, I said.
After giving the guys job for the day I went to make a bucket of tea and I meet our new 1st Engineer. He had arrived onboard yesterday, well, early this morning. He had missed his connection flight in Washington due to the Immigration and he had to take a later flight.
We will get a DNV Inspector onboard to check our ballast tanks and we will check them first. Captain went down in DB 1 and 3 and I went down in DB2. We could not see any signs of any damages from the grounding and neither could the DNV Inspector. When he was finished with 3DB he checked our steering engine and he was off the ship at 12 o'clock.
I was ready with the cargo Surveyor about the same time. Now he asked for a sample from 8CT, but he didn't have any sample bottles. We were happy to give him two bottles and they were off the ship at 1330. They told me it would take three hours for the analyse, they even came up with the good idea that they would call when the sample was cleared and we could start the cargo transfer.
- We will safe hours!
Our cargo Surveyor was impressed by my calculator and I took a picture of him before leaving.
We had prepared deck and we were just waiting to start kickin' behinds. I went on my watch at 1600 and our new 1st Engineer came on the bridge.
- Where is the diet drinks?
- Well, I'm a little low on the bridge. Can you please get a 6 pack from the refrigerator in my cabin?
- What the BIP!!?? You invite me for a drink and I have to go get them myself!
At 1835 they called, after me calling the Agent two times and the Surveyor one time. I called our 3rd Officer and he relieved me on the bridge and I went to the CCR and my equipment.
We will transfer gasoline from 1CT to the 8CT and we will discharge the ballast from 4DB in order to lift the ship by 60 cm.
I went to bed at 2330 and it was nice, up and running since 8.
- Whoa whoa! Didn't you just mention that the crew had to go get you out of bed at 0805!!??
- Yeah, but that's how it is when you're worn out.....
Sunday 12th of August 2007 and a new day with a new 1st Engineer in the Mess room at tea time. Our old 1st Engineer from Skåne left yesterday. I was in the ballast tank when he left, but I'm sure he will be back. And I'm also sure that he will bring gifts and stuff when he's coming back. Eller hur Mats? Julen e ju på ingång!
Our Surveyors were onboard after breakfast and we did the tank gauging and sampling and they were of just before coffee break. We had 8m3 difference from before we started the transfer and that is very good. It was + so we gained 8m3.
Sunshine anchorage, Mississippi and Sunshine bridge
I was on the bridge at 1600 to releive the 2nd Officer. We were still anchored and when the Surveyor was onboard this morning he told me that they started the dredging today. So maybe we will go along side tomorrow night, but I don't mind a few days here.
I'm listening to Swedish radio on the internet while relaxing on the bridge. Screaming to the crew every now and then on the radio and watching the progress on deck. For sure we need a few days with painting in nice weather.
Our 1st Engineer came to the bridge and we discussed the mystery of life and at 8 we left for a cold diet drink in my cabin.
At 9 I was in the mess room and our Electrician came with a DVD, a Swedish drama. Our Electrician understood f... all and I was about to jump overboard. Needless to say, we gave up after 10 minutes and I returned to my cabin.
Scratching Lottery Scratchers on the internet
I had been in my cabin for 10 minutes when our 1st Engineer came. Obviously bored to death and we bought a few lottery scratchers on the internet. Well, we didn't win anything so I guess we have to go up work tomorrow again.
Monday 13th of August 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. After breakfast I did some paper work and an inventory of our Oil Spill Equipment. Nothing exciting happened during the morning, except an e-mail exchange with our 1st Engineer in the ECR (Engine Control Room). It was a typical example on how a simple question can turn to pure rubbish and balderdash and this went on for about 15 minutes.
During the afternoon we got a message that our Pilot will board at 1900, well, it will be a full night again. I spent my watch drinking tea listening to Swedish radio. At 1850 our Pilot came onboard and we started to heave up our anchor.
We were on our way at 1930, but it took us quite some times to get our anchors in the correct way. In and out until they came in correct and I could return to the bridge to assist our Captain and the Pilot.
I was relieved by the 3rd Officer after a few minutes and I was off to my cabin. We had time to upload a rough draft of our Chief Engineers web page, www.hastig.net before it was time to go on the bridge again.
Well, I was on the bridge 2240 for stand by and at 2255 the tugs were alongside. At 2315 we had the first line ashore and we made it all the way to the jetty this time, but they kept the dredger stand-by until we were moored.
Tuesday 14th of August 2007 and I woke up at 11. It was 3rd Officer on the PA system:
- Everyone to the hospital, its drug test!
After lunch I went to get the 1st Engineer and we went to the fo'c's'le to take a look at one of the brake winches. New brake lining but the brake were no good, some torch cutting is required.
They will do it on the way down Mississippi tomorrow so it's ready when we leave the river behind.
When we are on the open sea we will drain our hydraulic system so we can change pipes to our winches. Maybe overkill to change the pipes, but this is how it works on Barcarolle. We don't want any busted oil pipes on deck so the shipboard management takes swift action and we will have a new pipe in a jiff.
I wee bit different from how stuff were handled on Marimba. After 2 months at shipyard it was time for the junker to leave. There were not many pipes that were not leaking. After two months on the shipyard with every one complaining of the status of the pipes onboard.
- The deck is so poor so half of it will disappear when the start the blasting.
- All the pipes are in poor condition.
So when the deck was painted it was time to start changing everything on deck and the whole paint work was for nothing. After two months it was time for bunkering. A barge arrived and the hose was connected and when the barge pushed the start button our bunker lines broke at 3 places. I can only find one word for it, sabotage!
It's a wee bit different from when I was at shipyard with Broström just before joining here. The company sent an Inspector and we were working to get the ship ready and in good condition. We changed pipes and stuff on deck and when I had suggestions to the Inspector he asked:
It was not the why as in “ Why the hell...”. It was a why as in “ Why? Will there be any improvements?” and we discussed and we got it done. We left the ship yard and we loaded the day after when we reached load port.
Well, I understand why they didn't want me on the ship. I never understood the thing they got going there. My web page seemed to be the main thing of concern and the ship was, well, I don't know. But I must say that they told us that we could have a day to get everything in order after departure.
- If you need you take a day after departure to get her ready for the cargo!
Obviously not in contact with the reality, after the first day we were out of hose clams and the second they emptied the hospital on all the bandage they could find.
OK, I realise that it sounds like a joke. But what do I know? The shipboard management didn't gave me the approval. But seriously I was very very happy to leave in Singapore.
- Hmm, Maybe I should have chosen a different approach when I joined the ship:
- Hell, we are working hard! And this mighty ship is one of the finest I have ever served on!
Wednesday 15th of August 2007 and I woke up by my alarm at 1145. A shower and it was time for lunch. OK, I was becomingly late by 5 minutes, but I didn't come to bed until 7 this morning. I had my alarm to go off at 1145, I can just imagine sleeping to 3 and I would not be able to fall asleep until 5 in the morning tomorrow. So I'm a little tired and I hope I can fall asleep early tonight.
Well, my foresight and planning was all for nothing. We will load gasoline on top of gasoline and I need to wash (We do it the environmental friendly way) the tanks after leaving the Pilot around midnight. I can imagine when its hundred degrees due to global warming and the grandchildren of the guys deciding to do tank cleaning are coming crying:
- Why did you leave this uninhabitable planet for us?
Well, the spray painter is up and running and the winch brake is in the engine work shop. Nice when things are falling to places and it's nice to see the progress, but I don't expect less with this crew. When you are going to kick behinds you call the A.. KICKERS.
We reached New Orleans and just after 2 o'clock we changed the Pilot that had been with us since Sunshine. He was happy to get off and home to bed. I was in my window taking pictures of the Pilot exchange sippin' on a diet drink. Our 3rd Officer was ashore yesterday and, well, I guess it has become a tradition by now. Every time they go ashore they bring back gifts for the Chief Officer. Well, it's appreciated and I can't find a better crew as a Chief Officer. They kick behinds on deck and they bring gifts!
Before going on my watch at 1600 I was on deck for a pep talk with our spray painter. When we're out of the river we can start chipping again. We are having a problem with the air supply so we can use either the grit blaster or chipping machines.
So tomorrow it will be chipping and we can wash deck our deck. We washed with fresh water from Mississippi, but there were too much mud so the deck is a little brownish. That's a source of irritation when you walking on deck or pretty much every time you see the deck. We want the deck to glister in red.
Temporary housing 2 years after the hurricane
We passed plenty trailer parks on the way down Mississippi. Our Pilot told me it was temporary shelters for the people that lost their houses in the hurricane.
- Must be terrible to live like that for years, I said.
- Yeah, this is a camper that you go live in over the weekend, our Pilot said.
- Yeah, and you need to be drunk all the time to stand it, I said.
He told e that most of the people left after the hurricane. They never got full cover from the insurance company for destroyed property and in order to build up their houses again the needed to borrow money from the bank. The bank demanded that they had an insurance policy for their new house. So they went back to the insurance company just to find out that the price of the insurance policy had risen by 400 percent. So they skipped the insurance and moved to another part of the country.
The tax revenues hit rock bottom with only half the population left in town, but they still need to maintain services like fire department, police and you name it.
Someone did some heavy duty thinking:
- OK, half the population left so we have the other half paying twice as much in property tax.
So now they scare away the rest of the people as well.
We were streaming down Mississippi while cracking jokes with the Pilot and, well, I don't want to say that the time flied by. But it was pretty ok. Making good speed and if we are lucky I can start tank cleaning at 2200.
The cleaning will take a wee bit longer today, they are doing service on the auxiliary engine. So we can only use two power packs and thus only clean one tank at the time.
I was relieved at 8 by our 3rd Officer and I left for my cabin, trying to get a little sleep. No use, we were way earlier than expected and we left the pilot at 2100.
- OK, I'm down to kick some behinds in the CCR.
We prepared deck for the cleaning and we were up and running at 2200.
Thursday 16th of August 2007 and it was nice to wake up at 0930 to the sound of chipping machines. The hydro blaster was up and running and I had our 2 extra crew to wash deck. I had given today's working instructions to our Bosun yesterday.
I had planned for some sleep, arrival between midnight (best case) and 2 o'clock in the morning to EXXON. I know from experience that EXXON has a hard time to get their things together and it takes hours before we can start loading. But they are more than welcome trying to surprise me.
Well, anyway, coming on deck was nice. All crew worked hard, 3 chipping machines running and one of the guys worked the hydro blaster. And when I saw our extra crew in action with brush and hose I was looking forward to see the deck when they were ready.
Our A kickers in the engine room had fixed the winch brake and our Bosun had the thing back in place when I came on deck. We tested the brake before lunch and I could issue the “Winch Brake Test” certificate.
While on the fo'c's'le the sky opened up and the rain poured down and we had to retreat to my office. It was a heavy rain, our scuppers could not take care of all the water and our deck was full of water.
I put all crew on washing detail and the whole ship will be clean at arrival. The rain took care of the salt and after dinner the deck was dry again so they could paint again.
We dropped anchor at Sabine anchorage at 1820. First we were told that we would get the pilot at 2000 and then it was 0030. If you ask me I hope it will be tomorrow at 8 o'clock. Well, anyway my plans failed. I had a power nap during the afternoon and now it will be hard to fall asleep tonight and thus I will be tired if we arrives at 6 in the morning, or God help me, even earlier.
After my watch I went to the mess room for my salad and I was off to my cabin. I was sitting at my desk minding my own business when our 1st Engineer came by to pester me. He came in huffing and puffing and he caught sight of my vitamins.
- I need vitamins! I'm overworked, give me whatever you have!
I gave him a fist full and the only thanks I got were his white arse up my face. After letting me sniffin' his behind he caught sight of my new shoes.
Quicker than I could say “Don't” he had his foot in my shoe, no socks. My shoes went from groovy to unusable in two shakes of a lamb's tail.
Friday 17th of August 2007 and I was tired when it knocked on my door at 0430.
- 15 minutes until the tugboat arrives!
I was very tired, I had been asleep for just a moment and the shower didn't helped. It was pure steam coming out of the nozzle.
We had all fast at 0555 and we started the paper work not long after. Our Agent had a parcel for me when he came onboard and it was my snus. 4 rolls and I had enough to last me for another few days.
Lo and behold, EXXON managed to surprise me. We started to load our first parcel at 0820 and I was off to internet to order more snus.
The weather changed between rain and sunshine so the crew were bringing the paint pots in and out during the day, but at the end of the day they had finished the job.
It had been a nice day, snus and the ship are looking good, well, way better than in February when she looked like a PanamaGreek. But of course, the engine department have changed almost everything on deck when they were gas free during the caustic voyage. So the thing that looked good in February is now looking bad next to all the new stuff.
The only black cloud on the otherwise blue sky is that we will complete the first parcel ay 0130, so no sleep tonight.
Saturday 18th of August 2007 and I was in the CCR from midnight to 0330. Well, I had a few pit stops making tea and I also disappeared to my cabin to get diet drinks for me and the 2nd Officer. every now and then one of the ABs on watch came by to drop of some candy.
- HEY! What about my diet!
Just after 1 o'clock our new AB came onboard, is first time as AB. Last time he was OS onboard so he is one of the original A kickers.
We completed first parcel at 0145 and we were ready to receive next parcel within minutes. It took them almost 1 and a half hours to get going and I was off to my cabin t 0330. They told us that they were going 7500BBLS/h and that means 20 hours of loading and a full night tomorrow night again.
I woke up at 10 and I went straight to the mess room for a bucket of tea. Our Captain, Chief Engineer and Electrician were waiting for transportation ashore.
Our Electrician will buy a computer and our Chief Engineer and Captain will buy new computer screens to the CCR. Both monitors gave up in the same time.
The first monitor just turned black and the second one got darker by the day and at arrival to Beaumont the darn thing was black. When Captain and Chief Engineer had left I went on deck to check the cofferdams to our ballast pumps. There was a little water in port cofferdam, but our crew had it out in a jiffy.
After lunch I was knocked out on my bed and I slept until quarter to 6 and I almost missed the dinner. At dinner our Captain and Chief Engineer gave me a bag.
- What is this?!
They had bought me some shirts, appreciated. But I can't help wonder, it was the same when the crew bought trousers for me. Is there something wrong with my clothes? But gifts are appreciated and I was up in Captain's cabin during the evening for a fashion parade.
Our 1st Engineer was impressed and he took my camera and before I had a chance to say NO he had fired of a few MBs of pictures.
Our 1st engineer spends a lot of time on my links to “Shipping Companies” page.
- It's excellent! He uses to tell me.
I came up with an idea on how to promote the web page. A forgotten treasure with links to most of the Shipping and crewing companies. Our 1st Engineer and I were bandying ideas and we decided to make a vid. Don't be surprised if you find this commercial on the TV very soon. Well, I will be surprised, our good idea turned to nothing but drivel. Don't even try to watch the vid if your sitting with a Scooby Doo connection
Sunday 19th of August 2007 and we had just finished loading. We had estimated time of completion at 1 o'clock but at 2355 EXXON stopped the loading due to empty shore tanks and our 2nd Officer was disappointed. He was supposed to do the topping of and to complete the loading with me. Yesterday we completed loading and he was watching me in action and he wanted to do it today, always training to be a Chief Officer. Well, there will be another day.
Our Surveyor was onboard just after midnight and they were ready with the ullageing at 0040. I asked our 2nd Officer if he wanted to do the paperwork. Our 2nd Officer takes every chance he gets to practise and I could walk around with my index finger up my nose looking busy givin' pointers.
2nd Officer busy training for the Chief Officer position
Well, our 2nd Officer could have been luckier. He is doing his training with a Chief Officer that got the “THUMB DOWN” from the company. Due to negligence they hired me, without taking references. They also had bad luck that the girl that had known me for years from another company was on maternity leave when they hired me.
I managed to go through almost 3 and half months on Barcarolle and no one discovered the fact. But I was running out of luck on Marimba were they discovered it in a jiff, even though they were busy working hard 24/7.
But I was happy to hear that our 2nd Officer was happy when I came back to Barcarolle:
- Glad to see you back! Now I will go with you during the days if you don't mind, he said when I joined in Port Everglades.
His joy compensated the “THUMB DOWN” from the miss managem..., sorry, I mean shipboard management on Marimba.
We have to wait for analyse before shifting to the next berth and I was happy for my afternoon nap yesterday. This can take hours and before we are up and running with the loading at the next berth I will have praised my decision to take my power nap more than one time.
Tomorrow they close the port for inbound traffic. On Tuesday or Wednesday morning they close the port for outbound ships due to the hurricane Diana or whatever they call the hurricane.
We left EXXON five minutes before eight and they knocked on my door at 9 again. We had all fast at Huntsman Chemicals at 0955 and at 1150 we started loading. We did a 2000 BBLS line displacement and at 1235 we were up and running and I was off to bed at 1 o'clock.
At 1615 I woke up by a BANG BANG on my door. It was the 1st Engineer.
- IT'S QUARTER PAST 4!
- Come on! Hurry up! They will pick us up at 1630.
We were soon at the jetty just to find nothing. A guy on a pushbike passed and asked if we waited for a ride.
- She is in the gate and he will soon arrive
He showed us to the pickup spot and after waiting for 30 minutes she had not showed up. Our 1st Engineer called her and she was not on the approved list. It's something about the insurance. Well, I lost valuable sleep , but my B-12 started to kick in, I had half a bottle before going ashore, about 120 tablets.
Well we returned to the ship and dinner. After dinner I worked a little with my vid from yesterday and our 1st Engineer was busy with my “Shipping Companies” page. The social life has turned sour after that he discovered my “Shipping Companies” and now he is sitting there 24/7.
The only time I see him is when he comes skidding in to my cabin:
- Now I found the job, only for real sturdy guys, otherwise don't go through the trouble applying!
- Yeah??!! What's all the excitement about?
- OH! This is for us A kickers. We apply for the jobs requiring the guy with hair on the back.
- Yeah??!! What's all the excitement about?
- This is the real thing for us guys with capital G. You apply to Orvars Bunker service and I apply to WorldTransOceandeepwelldrilling!
He showed me how long my list of ship that I served on was. There was nothing stopping him.
- This is how long your list is. Gnesta Kalle's bunker, Paddan, Grodan, Hasse's junker, and he went on and on.
Yesterday he came rushing in to my cabin.
- I found a heavy duty job and I need a picture!!
I almost shat myself, his alarming voice made me think we were about to sink. He took hundreds of pictures with my camera, but I was not allowed to put any off them on my web page.
We don't see much of our Electrician either, he bought a computer in Beaumont so he is busy in his cabin.
It will be an fåcked up night again. At first they expected us to be ready at 2200 but now it looks like 1 o'clock and only God knows how long the paper work will take. So I hope I can get a few hours of sleep during the evening to replace my lost sleep waiting for our ride.
Monday 20th of August 2007 and we were anchored when I woke up at 1130. Nice with some sleep, I went to bed at 4 o'clock yesterday and for the last week it had been full nights.
We were trying to run the blaster and two chipping machines at the same time during the morning. After lunch I went to the ECR to see the Engineer for info about the air supply.
- So far so good, he said.
That's good, I can have at least 2 guys on the chipping detail while the blaster is running. It was nice to be on deck watching the progress, chipping blasting and Bosun and one of the ABs were changing brake lining on one of the winches forward.
Well, it would have been better with sufficient air supply. But hopefully it will be OK next time in US. Our Chief Engineer have ordered stuff for the N2 compressors or what ever it is.
- There should be enough air for 2 grit blasters and as many chipping machines you want, he told me.
- You see! How can it go wrong with a TEAM like this?
No blah-blah-bla, just action and things get done. Not like a recent experience I had. A guy walking around with his hands in his pockets telling everyone how much “HE” was working.
- It's a hard work. I have to check everything all the time!
- We do it the Swedish way and check everything. Filipino Officers never check anything. If someone tells them it's OK they don't bother checking!
- I have worked so hard to get this ship in ship shape !
Blah-blah-bla, there was nothing stopping the guy. So you understand that I was surprised when he came telling us that the Filipinos have done this and that every time something was wrong.
- Hey, didn't you check everything?
Well, anyway, I might be a little rough around the corners, but I try to blend in. But I can't help but losing my good mood after hearing and seeing the guy with the hands in his pockets claiming, I'm working so hard! a few times.
Well, now I'm happy to be on TEAM Barcarolle.
I went for a shower after the coffee break. I took a shave and I donned one of the new shirts I got from Captain and Chief Engineer in Beaumont, I was looking good when I stepped in on the bridge to relieve 2nd Officer. But I can't help wondering where they found the shirts, I have never seen anything bigger.
Captain and Chief Engineer came to the bridge and we discussed the deck work. I told them that I hope that the blaster team had reached the pump on 8CT in 6 days.
- It's not unrealistic, but then everything has to work out. Nice weather and at the anchorage, I said.
From 8CT it's just to turn around and continue back forward and I hope we can have two teams, if we have the air supply.
- One grit blaster team on each side of the catwalk. We start them at 8CT and the first team to reach the manifold will receive a prize, I said.
I was relieved on the bridge by 3rd Officer at 8 and I went down to my cabin for a cold diet drink. 1,5 seconds later our 1st Engineer came by. I have a clothes-line in my cabin, I use to dry my laundry in my cabin. When the AC is running the air is very dry and some wet laundry on the line helps. Well, anyway, there is a lose end of about 35 cm hanging at the end of the line.
Believe me, this poor string got the beating of its life.
Trashing my clothes-line
We had planned a movie night and he was soon off for a shower. He came straight from the Engine room, they were draining the hydraulic system so we can change a pipe tomorrow.
- I need a shower, I'm back in 30 minutes and we watch the movie, he said.
Movie night and I hope there is salad for me to munch on, way healthier than chips and chocolate. Well, the best thing would be to watch the movie without any snacks.
But what the heck?! I already look like Graf Zeppelin or Led Zeppelin or whatever they had named this giant balloon flying over the Atlantic back in the good old days.
I don't know what he had when he went for the shower, but when he returned to my cabin the poor clothes-line was like a red tag and he killed what was left of it. When he was ready we left for the movie.
There is something about my clothes-line
Tuesday 21st of August 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. Good, the blaster and 2 chipping machines were soon up and running. One OS on the hydro blaster and Bosun and our TRAINEE Bosun as I call him on the winch brake.
During the afternoon we held some drills and we were ready just in time for me to go on watch. I made a cuppa first thing and at 1700 it was time to give 1 hour notice to the engine room. We will heave up our anchor at 1800 and start moving towards TUXPAN and hopefully the weather will be nice after the hurricane.
We started to heave op the anchor at 1800 and we had a shark playing around the anchor chain all the time. It was a small shark, maybe 70cm long, so it was nothing to write home about.
Wednesday 22nd of August 2007 and we were rolling when I woke up. It's the swell
from the hurricane Dean, and we're running in to it. No blasting and painting on deck. I had one guy with the hydro blaster and all chipping machines were running.
We can use the chipping machines today and we're prepared for nice weather, then it's just to brush and paint. Some of the crew were busy changing tiles in the showers and I did paper work.
One wasted day with the grit blaster unused, but we hope for better weather tomorrow.
We arrive tomorrow afternoon and I hope there are plenty ships ahead of us so we can spend a few days anchored in nice weather.
Thursday 23rd of August 2007 and I checked deck through my window first thing when I woke up. Looked nice, a few drops coming on deck and I decided to take a chance with the grit blaster.
So at the morning meeting I got two of my best guys on the grit blaster and two of my best guys on the chipping machines. My two best guys were preparing the EMERGENCY CARGO PUMP and the test kit for the new winch brake forward.
I had my best man to cut up the last of the broken mooring line aft and I was set to start with today's paper work. When my two best crew members had prepared the EMERGENCY CARGO PUMP and the test kit for the new winch brake forward I started a power pack and we went forward.
I asked our 1st Engineer id he wanted to come with me to the fo'c's'le for some heave duty a kickin'. I told him:
- Now you have a once in a life time chance to see some real action! Maybe you can pick up a thing or two!
- Psst, what I meant was that I could do with some company, but never ever tell him that! He will get cocky and
1 [mass noun] Mechanics a force that tends to cause rotation.
2 variant spelling of torc.
it will be impossible to speak with him, so let's keep this a secret.
Our EMERGENCY CARGO PUMP was working fine and we found out that we need to take the winch brake to the engine work shop to cut off a few cm with the torch.
While forward we checked the torque to cargo pump 1CT. It's leaking and my best Engineer changed it in a jiff. OK, it was a setback with the winch brake, but otherwise I was in a good mood until one of my best ABs came. He told me that the hose to the grit blaster was broken.
Well, it didn't took them long to find another one and the darn thing was soon up and running again. Time turned quick during the morning and it was soon time for lunch.
I was on deck walking when we arrived to the anchorage, there is one more ship waiting and I really hope they only have one of the two buoys working. Well, anyway, we dropped anchor at 3 o'clock when I was on my way to my cabin. I turned on my stereo and I had Krüger & Dorfmeister blasting high when I opened my last diet drink. The last can onboard and I hope we get more next time in the US.
It was a nice evening watch and I had my tea while supervising the crew work on deck. Must have looked strange though, with Chief Officer hanging from the bridge wing screaming to the crew on deck. Well, must have looked pretty much like a PanamaGreek ship. It's nice to see the progress and 4 more days anchored would be nice, except that I'm out of diet drinks and I'm in a hurry back to the USA.
After my watch we watched a movie, the first in a long time now. It was a 2 hour crime drama. Our Electrician was a sleep after a few minutes. Our 1st Engineer left after an hour. I was half asleep through the whole movie and at the end I realised what a waste of time it had been. But I was enduring the whole turkey just to show my good will and to be a wee bit social.
Friday 24th of August 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. It was a gloomy and grey day. Well, I throw myself to the window the instant I woke up.
- DARN! This deck will never be ready! I muttered when I looked out the window.
But when I got out of my shower and I had a second glance I could see the blue sky, so the gloomy and grey weather was due to the lack of a hot shower. I was in a good mood when I got dressed while imagine the deck full of a crew busy with grit blasting and chipping.
But at 11 we were running in to a setback. I heard 3rd Officer calling Captain:
- Agent and Authorities will be onboard between 1230 and 1300. Pilot will come at the same time.
- DARN! I thought for myself.
I asked the guys to stop the grit blasting and when they had packed up everything in time for lunch. Agent and authorities were onboard just after 12 and they told us that we will stay until tomorrow. The SPM is broke and they have divers to repair the buoy and they expect to be ready late tonight.
Well, it was no use to fire up the grit blaster again so I had all crew on chipping machines and I could hear the action all over the ship.
At 1425 the Surveyors came onboard and we did the cargo calculation and sampling and I was on watch 1620. It was a nice evening watch and I had my tea while supervising the crew work on deck. Must have looked strange though, with Chief Officer hanging from the bridge wing screaming to the crew on deck. Well, must have looked pretty much like a PanamaGreek ship.
I was nagging a bit on our Chief Engineer:
- Now you have to write a little for your web page so we have something to upload!
After the amazing success with the guestbook on www.hastig.net the visitors have started to demand updates. Well, we see what happens at the web department.
So, finally, Friday 24th of August 2007 has came to an end. A day without pictures, even though I had my camera in my pocket while waiting for the pilot and all the pertinent excitements. Well, it was all for nothing. I had a shower and a white shirt on just to find out that we would stay another night. Well, maybe we can squeeze a few hours of grit blasting out of tomorrow while waiting for the pilot.
The crew is happy for an extra night at the anchorage. They have worked very hard and they can spend their night watches watching video. I hope they have better luck with their choice than I use to have.
I was fresh off my watch when I skidded in to our 1st Engineer's cabin.
- I'm exhausted after a full day of VERY hard work! He said.
Oh oh, here goes the picture free day down the drain, I thought before saying:
- You must be joking!
Well, I had him up from the sofa in a jiff and he was at his computer on his desk in a flick of a switch. He started to search the MUSIC TREASURE®, 30GB of funky music I gave him last time onboard.
- I erased most of your music, he said.
There is not a day without him trying to convince me that he deleted my music and added his own.
- Yeah, what did you add? Hotten an the singers?
We were soon off the see a video and our Electrician joined us. The movie was almost 2 hours long, but we managed to see it in 90 minutes thanks to the FWD button and I was back in my cabin just before 2300.
Saturday 25th of August 2007 and now I start to regret all the times I had the 1st
noun [mass noun] the fact or
practice of restraining oneself
from indulging in something,
Engineer popping in for a diet drink. I must admit it, I suffer from abstinence. I hope we will get provision very soon so I can fill up my fridge with diet drinks.
Well, it was a nice day and the crew were working on deck and I did a little cargo planning for next voyage. We will load the same cargoes next voyage, Beaumont - TUXPAN. EXCITING!
I was on the bridge at 1430 in my white shirt and fresh out of the shower. We had our anchor up at 1437 and the Pilot was onboard at 1532.
While waiting for the pilot we were drinking tea talking about the good old days. We mentioned the progress on deck a few times.
We will try to get deck ready up to the first bridge before Captain leaves in a month and we hope to be at the manifold when I leave. But it depends on the weather. When it's raining or when the wind blows water spray on deck there is nothing to do except putting our index fingers up the nose.
We were approaching the SPM and we started to heave up the chain at 1606 and at 1610 we were moored to the SPM and I could go down in my office to see the Loading Master.
Approaching the SPM
I did the paperwork with the Loading Master and it took us about one hour, not many words of English were understood. I had time to eat dinner and pester our 1st Engineer while they connected our two cargo hoses.
He went on and on about me being a pain in the behind while Captain and Chief Engineer almost choked themselves laughing. I was even worried that we would have to perform the Heimlich Manoeuvre.
Pain in the butt or no, when I left for my office it was a totally different tune.
- You have to sit with us in the day room!
- I wish I had time, I said disappearing to my office.
Lo and behold, I had been in my office for 13 seconds when our 1st Engineer came with his ice-cream. Well, at 1910 we started to discharge the MTBE and at 2010 we started to discharge the small gasoline parcel.
I was off to my cabin and I could kill for a diet drink. I went to see our 1st Engineer and he gave me a CLASSIC drink, but they taste like s...
But we are discharging two parcels at the time so we will soon be ready so we can return the Beaumont and I really hope we can get provisions at arrival.
Sunday 26th of August 2007 and I was tired when they knocked on my door at 0820.
- We are stripping the PUG-B!
- I'll be down in a sec!
We had been up all night completing the MTBE parcel and we started up the PUG-D grade on manifold #1 after the MTBE. S I felt like I just felt a sleep when they knocked on my door.
But as I say: When arse are going to be kicked they call the arse kickers. Well, I also say: You have to be careful with the language or you will miss potential visitors using a parental filter on the web browser.
Well, at 0830 we completed the PUG-B grade and 20 minutes later we could discharge the PUG-D over both manifolds. We have plenty shore people onboard for mooring and connection of the hoses. One of them recognized me and instantly he tried my ZIP IT WHISTLE®. What can I say? He has seen me once in his life and it was a long time ago, but he still remembers the ZIP IT WHISTLE®.
Where ever he sees me he try the ZIP IT WHISTLE®
He sees me in the window when he comes over deck
Well, yeah, what to say? No he does it to all his fellow-workers as well. As soon as they try to speak with him he does the ZIP IT WHISTLE®. Well, I have to leave. After his mediocre try with the ZIP IT WHISTLE® they all wants to see the original, and as you know, I have other things to do.
Well, there is much to say about the ZIP IT WHISTLE®. Many people try it and I remember on one ship, we had a Polish riding crew. After a few vodka one of them were lying in his cabin trying my whistle, the only
thing he managed to do was to wake up the whole ship. He was crying, he was tearing his hair but he never learnt how to master the whistle.
I was in the CCR after lunch and I caught one of our Engineers in his pyjamas. I will not reveal his name or position in order to save him future embarrassments. But I had my camera in my pocket and I had it ready in a jiff and as soon as he saw my camera he starts to run for the stairs. I was after him up the stair cases with our Captain close after.
- What the BIP are you up to?!
Well, a tedious afternoon turned in to a busy evening. We completed discharging at 1755 and I was busy with paperwork and stuff until departure. It only took us 4 minutes to get off the buoy and at 1850 we left. I had time for a quick cuppa before I was relieved by 3rd Officer at 8 o'clock and I could go on my watch below.
Monday 27th of August 2007 and it was nice weather when I woke up. After my shower I went for a bucket of tea. Our crew started the day with grit blasting and chipping but it soon started to rain and my mood turned bad.
After lunch it was sunshine again and I went on deck to reorganise the crew in my new Reebok shoes. I gave my red PUMA shoes to our 1st Engineer a few days ago. He wanted to do some jogging and he had no shoes.
- I give you my shoes, I said.
- Not necessarily, I will just borrow them, he said.
- As soon as you have had your feet in them consider them yours! I said.
Well, the shoes were of a great sentimental value for me. It's the pair of red shoes that I bought in Rome, but if our 1st Engineer needs shoes he shall have shoes.
I was soon on deck in my new shoes. It's strange, but everyone I meet noticed the shoes. This is how we operate on this ship.
- Do you have new shoes? Nice!
- How much did you pay for the shoes?
- Oh, new shoes! Nice! Was the first thing Captain said when he saw me. I was running in to our Chief Engineer and he came fresh out from his power nap. But he didn't fail to notice the shoes:
- You're feet are white and nice today! Was the first thing he said.
Well, anyway. when I came on deck the maintenance work was in full swing and I was in a good mood. The sound of the chipping hammers was heard all over deck. Not that I noticed, I had my iPod on full blast.
I was taking pictures of the crew while giving pointers. Our 2nd Officer caught sight of me and the camera and he screamed from the bridge wing:
- Hey! Take my picture as well. I want to be on internet!
While on deck I could see the rain approaching again and I asked the crew to stop the painting.
If it continues like this we will never be ready. We have one grit blaster team on port slop tank and one chipping gang on starboard slop tank. We just need to finish this before we can continue forward. But this two hell holes seems to take ages. 2 drops of rain and there is 50 cm water over the slop tanks and we cannot work.
Starboards slop would have been ready tomorrow if it was not for the rain, well, we don't give up and we hope for nice weather tomorrow.
Tuesday 28th of August 2007 and I was in a good mood while taking my shower. I check the weather first thing every morning when I wake up, and today it was sunshine.
I came out from the shower whistling, in a good mood thinking of all the “Kick A ” action that was going to take place on deck today. OK, I must admit, we will get diet drinks onboard at arrival and that might have BOOST my mood as well.
I took a last glance through my window before leaving for the mess room and my bucket of tea and I went in to shock.
Where did the rain come from?
Well, at our PEP meeting in my office we decided to run the chipping hammers and the blaster under deck. When the rain was, well, rain, it was more like a drizzle. When the drizzle stopped they would blast on deck so we can get this two hell holes over the slop tanks ready.
At 1055 we dropped our anchor at Sabine anchorage. The sky was black, but no rain and I could hear our crew on deck. Blasting was in full swing and I took a picture from the bridge wing.
Time turned fast and it was soon time for lunch, it was Raggmunk. One of my favourites, but I stuffed myself with a bowl of salad.
I'm still not sure of our 1st Engineer, the prankster, put some Raggmunks in my salad. But this will be a typical for him and I would not be surprised, always up to mischief's.
But if he did we know why my diet hasn't become the success we were expecting.
Well, after lunch I donned my by now “Almost new ” Reeboks and I left for deck with my iPod on full blast and my camera handy in my back pocket. Always someone to pester with my camera.
Our Fitter was on deck working with the steam return from the Port slop tank. Our Engine crew have done a remarkable job on deck. Back in January it looked like a junker, most of the stuff had rusted to bits. But now she is very good and it's mostly cosmetic left to do on deck.
Well, there is a lot of rust that our crew is removing. But with this crew it will soon be ready. (Weather permitted)
I could see the smoke from the grit blaster while walking on deck. It reminded me of Goa a few years back. During Christmas and New Year the police needed money so with a bunch of dollars in the right pocket you could arrange a rave party and the police where someplace else. When the police were gone there was rave party.
At the sunrise you could see the dust from the dancing people on the beach reaching to the sky, it looked like a funnel. Well, anyway, our Pilot should be onboard at 1500 and I went to the bridge when they started to heave up the anchor. I passed our funnel where our Bosun was busy painting the back side black.
After a few words with our Captain on the bridge I went for a shower before my watch.
- Yeah, I really look forward to my watch, 4 hours with the Pilot.
We will drop anchor in the Crocodile Trench to take bunkers before proceeding to EXXON's terminal and load the gasoline. Well, I was busy talking with Captain during my watch.
- We need to stay anchored during daylight if we shall have a chance to see a croc, he said.
- You practically guaranteed me that I would see a croc last time I was onboard, I said.
- So let's hope we will be anchored for a few days, he said.
- Yeah, there is plenty to grit blast on deck, I said.
We dropped our anchor at 2012 and not long after we had the gas oil barge and FW barge alongside. Someone was lucky to see a croc. I could hear on the walkie talkie how they were talking on another ship.
- Here is one on starboards bow!
- Do you have any chickens?
Well, maybe I can catch on tomorrow if we are still here.
I was sitting in the CCR minding my own business busy with important things (Discharging ballast). Our Engine department was busy bunkering when suddenly I almost shat myself. A loud knock on the window to the CCR and there was our Prankster, the 1st Engineer. Obviously feeling lonely.
Wednesday 29th of August 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. After my shower I went down to make myself a bucket of tea without last milk. I was off to check our draft after the bunkering. We had about the same draft a when we arrived so we were OK. MAX draft at the anchorage is 24 feet.
Before returning to my office and my tea I saw the bunker barge leaving, it was 0755. When I had downed my tea I went for my second shower and I changed to a white shirt. Pilot should be onboard at 0830 but he came 0845. 9 o'clock we had our anchor a weight and we had all fast at EXXON at 1120.
Our Agent brought me 4 rolls of General snus and as soon as we had started loading I was off to my cabin. I ordered 8 more rolls and they are one the way before I turn off my computer.
Our 1st Engineer is all over me again about going ashore. So we decided to go at 5 and I called for transportation. I got a new number from our Agent that we will try. I had it with the other girl they used for transportation last time onboard.
As I said to our 1st Engineer last time (After asking thousand times) he wanted to go ashore.
- I refuse to go with Vinda!
Well, we remember the fiasco last time we were waiting for the car at the jetty when our 1st Engineer was in charge for the going ashore excitements. The car was a no show and this time I took charge, well, what do you know. At 5 the driver arrived and I had to get out 1st Engineer in his cabin.
- HEY! Our ride is here! Now I'm in charge and things are working, slightly different from when you ordered the ride.
The service is a wee bit more expensive, but the services prompt and I prefer to pay the extra for good service.
Our driver took us an ATM on the way to the mal and we reached the mall with our pockets full of money. We searched the mall for ICE-CREAM shoes, but no luck.
I bought a bag of shirts and two diet drinks later we were outside the mall. Our 1st Engineer was looking for an external hard drive.
- Let's go to Best Buy, I suggested.
We took the 5 minutes' walk and we had been in the shop for 2 minutes when I asked for their best computer.
- We have a HP here, it's the best in the shop. 1625 US with a 22" HP monitor.
- I take it with the 22" Samsung monitor (10 US cheaper) if they are good for 220 volt, I said.
I choose the Samsung monitor because I was very pleased with my new TV. The monitor looked exactly the same, but it was a 22" instead of a 40" LCD.
I was also a little concerned about carrying the stuff to Wal-Mart, but I asked our 1st Engineer if he could help me. I paid my computer and it sat me back 1625US. When we were ready to leave I asked the guy watching the door if I could borrow the cart.
- No problem!
- Can I take it to Wal-Mart? (Wal-Mart is 2 km away)
- You can do whatever you want with it.
- Who is picking it up at Wal-Mart? I asked.
- We send someone.
Very good, instead of carry the boxes for 2 KM we could wheel it all the way. Taxi would have been a better option, but so far I haven't seen one single taxi in Beaumont.
Luckily enough the cart was a cross-country cart, there are neither any sidewalks nor any taxis in Beaumont. After 30 minutes of crossing intersections, lawns and parking lots we reached a restaurant. A TEXAS steak house and we stopped by.
We parked the cart outside and we entered the steak house with all our boxes and bags.
- We have a table in 15-20 minutes! Sit down and wait, they told us and handed us something that looked like a remote control.
- Motherfånker, I have no time for this, I said.
We tried one of the tables in the bar, but they we reserved and we had to go back and get the remote.
I asked the girl in the door if we could bring in the cart in the restaurant.
- I will ask the Manager, she said and left.
She was back in 23 seconds and she went out and got my cart. She took it through the restaurant and parked it in the back. Good, I don't want anyone to steal it while we're eating. There is still quite a distance to go to Wal-Mart and we don't fancy carrying all our stuff.
We had been waiting for 10 minutes when the remote started to beep and flash and they had a table for us. After the meal, Hmm, you must wonder how I could ask if I could bring in a big cart. Well, it was a TEXAS style steak house and the floor was covered in dirt and peanut shells. Well, anyway, the girl acted like it was fully normal to bring in a shopping cart to the restaurant.
We tried to pay the bill several times, I'm always a little impatient when ashore. Chief Officer should stay onboard in case of any problem. I can't really relax, even though we have a very good Captain onboard. After trying to pay the bill ten times we left the cash on the table, no tip, and left.
We had ordered steaks and the waitress asked for our side orders.
- What else, 2 side orders are included!
- Macaroni & Cheese, I said.
Our meals arrived with no side orders and, well, we did not feel bad to leave without giving any tip. We just took our cart and left, not in a stealthily manner. Try walking through a restaurant with a big shopping cart and you see.
When we entered Wal-Mart with our shopping cart we swapped it for a Wal-Mart cart.
- What are we going to do with a “Best Buy” cart? They asked.
- Someone will come and pick it up, I said.
We bought what we needed and we were out in 45 minutes, just in time for our ride. We called him when we arrived to Wal-Mart and we didn't have to spend any time waiting.
Thursday 30th of August 2007 and we were still loading the first parcel when I woke up. No one had called during the night and I opened a Diet Zero drink before going to my shower. The sun was shining and I expected a whole lot of painting on deck during the day.
Well, there wasn't much space left on my desk for my morning Diet Drink. New computer, monitor and loudspeakers. OK, my 11 US loudspeakers will not turn any heads, but it's enough until I sign off when I can leave them in my office.
Never mind how much stuff I have on my desk, there is always some room so I can squeeze in a Diet Drink. Well, anyway, I took my bottle of milk and I left for the mess room. We are out of milk and I bought a bottle of LOW FAT milk yesterday. We will get milk and diet drinks tomorrow with a barge.
Provision is always a problem here, we are only allowed to take provision at some terminals and we are mostly loading at terminals were we are not allowed to take provision.
We finished first parcel at 0905 and we started the last parcel at 1110, expecting to be ready in the middle of the night. So it will be a full night and day.
After completion we have to do paper work and waiting for about 6 hours and then we will shift to the next jetty and load MTBE.
We expect to get the new crew onboard during the afternoon/ evening. Two 3rd Officers and one Motorman. One of the 3rd Officers is our former Bosun that we recommended for promotion, so this will be exciting.
Well, the new crew were supposed to arrive between 1600 and 1630. We were all waiting for them to come with gifts and surprises. I was even dressed up in one of my new shirts that I bought at “Tall & Handsome” yesterday. But we were waiting in vain, no crew showed up.
Well, I went to bed. We expect to be ready at 0100 and I tried to get some sleep, impossible to sleep.
- OK, I'm young and handsome so it will be no problem to stay up all night, I though while popping a fist full of B-12s.
The crew arrived at 10 but without any gifts, their bags were lost at the airport.
Friday 31st of August 2007 and the terminal stopped loading at 0055 even though we had 825 barrels to go. At 3 o'clock the paper work was ready and I was off to bed. I managed to fall asleep and I woke up ay 0830 when they knocked on my door.
- Pilot will be onboard in 30 minutes!
We left EXXON at 0922 and I was soon relieved by our former Bosun, now a fresh and enthusiastic 3rd Officer. I could go down to my computer and listen to the news.
We had first line ashore at the next jetty at 1055 and at 1400 we started to load the MTBE parcel. We expect to be ready around midnight so it will be a full night again. My alarm clock went off at 1725, just in time for dinner. The provision barge arrived at the same time, only 2 and a half hour late and in the middle of the dinner.
I was not surprised to find out that a nice and sunny day turned gloomy and grey at the same time. The sky opened up and the rain poured down and we were soaking wet. I tried to dodge the rain, but I had to check all out items together with our Engineer.
Taking provision from a barge
I could count to 14 cases of Diet MAX, 15 cases was ordered so I guess 1 case was lost among the other sodas. Well, anyway, 14 or 15, they will soon fill up my cabin.
I got one case at Wal-Mart, but there is only 3 cans left and I don't want to run out of diet drinks again.
We had checked all the stuff at 8 o'clock and the only thing missing was some transformers. I was back in my cabin for a few words on my web page while sippin' on a diet drink. Our new 3rd Officer was on watch in the CCR and I'm STAND-BY with my walkie talkie.
Well, he will call me when we have 2m ullage in 1CT so I have to go take a shower before the action starts.
Well, I guess that's it for August. Swing right by to September if you think you can handle the excitements!
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!