Saturday 1st of December 2007 and I woke up to a sunny but windy day We expect to be at the anchorage around 1500 and latest news is transit early morning 3rd of December. Our new 1st Engineer will arrive on the roads today and we will take bunker as well. Busy Busy.
The Christmas songs are still on full blast from the crew's dayroom. Today their day room was Christmas decorated by the Mess man. So I guess Christmas is here to stay, at least for this year and I suspect that it will stretch quite a bit in to 2008 as well.
We arrived to Panama City anchorage just after 1500. We had planned to do the annual inspections of our cranes after anchoring. I was on the bridge when we approached the anchorage, I got a few pictures before the boredom drove me out on deck again.
I went forward to the fo'c's'le to have a few words with Bosun and then I went to pick up one AB so we could check the deck crane. We checked the hoses and stuff and when Bosun came we could check the wire. 1 AB driving the crane, Bosun on top of the crane checking the winch and wire and I were on deck checking the wire.
We checked the limit switch before lowering the hook until there was no more wire on the winch. We lowered the hook in to the sea, better than to have a greasy wire all over deck.
After dinner and still no sign of our Agent or the Authorities. Our new 1st Engineer will also come today and we're waiting for the boat to bring them. We have to see if they are going to do any gas measuring around the tanks. I was not able to measure the gas myself due to hard wind on deck.
But there is no pressure in the tanks so I expect an inspection to turn out well. At least I hope so, we remembered last passage when we used cement and stuff. The cement is still there, but there is always a little gas leaking.
Bridge of the Americas and the Panama Canal Entrance
Sunday 2nd of December 2007 and, well, Sunday and nothing much happened during the day. I felt asleep during the afternoon and now I know that it will be hard to fall s sleep tonight.
Our crew were busy fishing during the evening and they caught plenty fish. I was on deck checking the night watches washing deck with 2 SNICKERS in my pocket. I passed one of the AB's cabin on my way to deck and he gave me the chocolate. Not good for the diet.
Monday 3rd of December 2007 and today its 5 years since me and my friend had the famous Christmas dinner.
- What the BIP are you on about? Famous for what!!??
- We didn't drink any Julmust that Christmas!
I received e-mail from one of the characters last week. he is working on a gas tanker and he had showed my web page for the crew.
They are all impressed. My favourite is the Christmas Horror Story.
I had forgot all about this EPIC but it strikes me that I had all this time to come up with drivel like that back in 2002. The story is changed a little from the original 2002 edition to protect the innocent.
Well, enough about that nonsense. We are still anchored outside Panama City and the crew was busy on deck. We had an Engineer onboard for inspection. He came onboard just before 10. He was checking so the steering, winches and other stuff was working. It didn't take long for him to check the equipment and when he left he told me to keep my eyes to the east during the transit.
- This is where you find the biggest crocodiles.
- Cheers! I will keep my eyes out, I said.
Half of the Panama City covered in rain
Well, it was one of those day again, sunshine, rain and even rain and sunshine at the same time. So the painting was interrupted all the time.
- Let's do the greasing instead.
We left 4 of the guys to chip deck and the rest could start greasing.
Our 1st Engineer is busy packing his stuff, he will leave either today or tomorrow afternoon in Christobal. Well, Panama City must be the obvious choice, Christobal is just a heap of garbage. But as I told him.
- If you go home tomorrow you make an extra 350 US just hanging around looking at crocodiles.
Suddenly at 5 o'clock the boat came to pick up our 1st Engineer. He got a 30 minutes' notice so he was in a hurry to get ready. 5 minutes to 5 he asked if I could copy a DVD for him, but we had to cancel it when the boat came.
The boat was waiting for our 1st Engineer while he was looking for duct tape. His suitcase was in two half's and, well, as I say. Quality has the little extra added on the price tag but you never have to use duct tape on my SAMSONITE.
After quite a few minutes and quite a few dollars of duct tape he was ready to leave.
Tuesday 4th of December 2007 and we were in the Panama Canal when I woke up. We we're in the first sets of locks. As usually it was sunshine and rain so the crew spent most of the day greasing.
- Have a pot of paint stand-by if it looks like the sun will shine for a while, I told them.
The only good thing is that they could finish the greasing and there was a whole lot of painting done as well. Our deck crane is almost finished, but we need white paint.
I was pretty satisfied with the day. There was a lot of job done even though most of the crew was unavailable due to the transit. Always 1 man at the wheel, one guy forward stand-by to drop the anchor.
We arrived to the last locks around 2 o'clock in the afternoon. The sun was shining over Barcarolle, but the sky was black over the locks. This is the kind of weather we had had the last 2 days and the crew is frustrated when I'm on deck screaming.
- Paint, she is red like a fox!
7 minutes later:
- Start greasing!
And again when there is a sun ray coming over deck:
- Paint, she is red like a fox!
Another 8 minutes later I can feel a drop of rain:
- Start greasing!
Well, I'm sorry but we work under a tight schedule and we need to show result and thus I shuffle the crew all the time so we can get the most out of the weather
Approaching the last set of locks
Many ships anchored waiting to pass through the locks
And I must say that we have succeeded so far. Nitrogen tank, C-deck, pool, provision cranes and back of the house painted. And not only that, the crew has managed to get the deck (almost) finished. What a TEAM I have on deck and now I'm pulling all the stings I can to get this A-TEAM back.
Deck looks nice, well, except for all the blue and yellow spots. We are still waiting for paint. Well, anyway, we entered the lock and I was on the bridge exhausted after the crocodile look put, I had came up with ZIP and I had given up. Well, I was on the bridge wing looking at MÆRSK NEXØ in the lock next to us. There was a beautiful girl on deck and I waved. She was waving back and our crew got green of envy.
I was happy for our deck, I had notin' to be ashamed of and I could show myself in full pride. I remember when I passed the Panama Canal when I joined Barcarolle January 2007, back then the ship was an embarrassment and I did everything to avoid exposing myself for people along the Canal and crews on other ship.
- HEY! Look at the Chief Officer and the shape he managed to keep the ship in!
- Yeah, looks like a real PanamaGreek!
Well, those days are over and I didn't mind flirting with the beauty on the ship next to us. Our crew tried to flirt as well, but as I told them:
- Don't bother! You remember the drama in France.
We left the last lock around 3 o'clock and I left for the CCR to get out some of our ballast. I started in the galley making myself a bucket of tea. I tried to find some milk in the fridge. I didn't recognise any of the packages. But there was a pack with a cow and it said “Nutri Leuche”.
“Nutri Leuche” and I were reminded about Nutrilet and that was not bringing back any good memories. We all remember me carry around diet powder. Several kilos of lint seed and diet powder was carried between my ships. Well, I guess I burnt a few extra calories just carry the darn thing around and that was the only good thing coming out of that.
I had been in the CCR for 5 minutes when Captain called.
- Now there are plenty crocodiles on the beach!
- What side?
- Starboard side!
I went out, but notin'. Well, I could see that MÆRSK NEXØ had just left the lock and that the Panama crew was leaving. I even thought about where they were going. Where are they bringing this beautiful girl? But no crocodiles, well, never mind. I was returning to the CCR and my ballast. Lo and behold, I could see one crocodile on the beach. I went out and I knocked on the window to the crew's mess room and I pointed at the crocodile. Well, it was nothing to write home about, it was a baby crocodile, about 2 meters long.
Wednesday 5th of December 2007 and, well, my GOOD MORNING look out of my window did BIP all to improve my mood. RAIN! OK, I went on deck before I had my morning tea. All chipping machines up and working, it's OK to chip when it's raining. Water blaster up and running.
Luckily enough, a gloomy morning turned in to a nice afternoon and the painting was soon in full swing. I was pleased with the day and it seems like we're bound for Beaumont. No BIPPING surprise there!
First I gave them a suggestion, 2 parcels of Gasoline and 1 parcel MTBE. ( Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't MTBE forbidden in the civilized part of the world?) But they asked if we could increase a little on the small Gasoline parcel and to take a little less of the MTBE. Common line no problem.
We made the adjustment and I asked Captain to tell them that then it's not necessary with tank cleaning. Well, here onboard all our tank cleanings are totally unnecessary and a heavy burden for the environment. But this time with common line, well, anyway, it will be interesting to see what's happen.
For me? I only care for the environment. The cleaning is no job at all and it takes me about 1 hour while drinking tea exploring my nostrils with my index finger.
- Yeah, right! Dream on! I'm going to watch a DVD.
Thursday 6th of December 2007 and it was a beautiful morning. The crew knew what they have to do, no excitements there. We started to change all the ballast at 0815 so we will be ready before arrival to Beaumont.
Well, I was interrupted in the middle of my constitutional with some cargo calculations and when I was ready I lost interest in the walking. I did some planning for tomorrow with the crew and I hope tomorrow will be the day the deck crane is ready. Well, we don't have white paint, but almost ready.
I was pretty pleased with the day when I was back in my cabin just before 8 o'clock. OK, I lost it for a while around 5 o'clock when I was on D-deck checking down on C-deck. Everything is black with sot from the funnel.
- What the...!!??
I had to put my best guy on the job with a fire hose.
Friday 7th of December 2007 and I woke up to yet another beautiful day and we started to prepare the ship for the vetting and DNV inspection. But most of the deck crew was painting and chipping. keeping appearance is important.
It's strange, Saturday, late afternoon and I finally got some time over (Yeah, right! I got nothing but time) to write a few words on my web page and I can't remember anything that happened yesterday.
- HEY! The tank cleaning just sprung in to mind!
We cleaned 1 and 3 CT so we can load MTBE in those tanks.
Saturday 8th of December 2007 and it was a beautiful morning. I kept 3 of the crew for painting and chipping. The rest of the crew cleaned deck and prepared the ship for the upcoming inspections.
A few days ago the plan was to drop anchor at arrival to Beaumont, then it was berthing on arrival. Today it was anchoring at arrival, the ship channel is closed due to fog.
- Good, we have more time for chipping and painting. I'm in no hurry, I told Captain.
Anchoring due to fog!!?? OK, there was a little haze at the horizon, but nothing to write home about. Well, I don't complain. I don't mind staying anchored for a few days to get a little extra painting done on deck. We don't have any more top coat, the crew finished the last red top coat yesterday so we are literally running on the fumes here. But we have about 1000 litres waiting for us in Beaumont.
We dropped anchor around 1430 and now I understood why the ship channel was closed. The fog was so thick you could touch it. The whole ship was wet and walking through the fog was almost like walking through the rain. We had to cancel the painting and start the cleaning of deck, there is always something to do on a ship.
Our internet kicked in at the anchorage, but it was very poor. I managed to get some e-mails, but it was very slow.
Sunday 9th of December 2007 and we were still anchored when I woke up. The fog was thick and everything was wet on deck. So the whole deck crew spent the day washing the ship, the whole house and the tank deck.
I told the guys they could finish at 3 and they were soon playing basket ball on C-deck.
Be careful! Deck is freshly painted!
Monday 10th of December 2007 and I could hardly see out of my window due to the fog. Well, it looks like it will be yet another day at the anchorage with chipping and painting. Deck on starboard side is almost ready so the extra day at the anchorage was good, but it's getting boring. And I have snus waiting for me.
The ship channel was opened for outbound traffic in the late afternoon so hopefully we can go in during the early morning hours. I had it with the anchoring by now and our 2nd Officer is happy. He is going home and he will be back to relieve me in April. By then we should be ready with the ship, I hope. Well, anyway, he will have to work up hill because he is from the Philippines.
I'm from Sweden and I can sit on my arse while the ship falls in to decay.
- I'm working very hard, but the Filipinos are all useless! Well, let's have a beer.
Tuesday 11th of December 2007 and a third of the month has passed already. The time turns quick and I better turn up my diet a notch if I shall look good when I sign off. Yesterday I told our Cook that I held him personally responsible if I'm not looking good in April.
- But.... I can't help..... I will put a web cam in the mess room.... don't blame me....It's not my fault.....
- NO! YOU BETTER SHAPE UP! I'M SERIOUS!
- But please........
- HEY! LISTEN UP! IF I'M NOT LOOKING GOOD IN APRIL I WILL KICK YOUR BEHIND SO HARD!
I really hope he understood this time, we have been through this so many times by now.
OK, I woke up at 0740 and I discovered that we were moving when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of the window. As I found out later, the Pilot had just embarked when I woke up. I went to the bridge after my morning tea in order to try to find out an ETA.
- Around 1400 1430, the Pilot said.
We were steaming up river and I asked the Pilot when he expected us to reach fresh water.
- I need to hose down the superstructure. There is plenty salt, I said.
- Well, it's brackish, he said.
I told him that we would wait another hour and that we would start after the coffee break. Last preparation for inspection and we got rid of a little sot and stuff from deck. I also had 2 guys on deck with brushes and paint.
Arriving to EXXON's refinery
I was in my cabin just after 12 when I could see us approaching the turning point.
- What the BIP! He said 1400 1420 and now it's 12, I have to skip the shower.
I had planned for arrival at 2 o'clock and now it was 12. OK, my white shirt was on in a jiff and I stepped in to the wheel house.
- You said 1400 - 1430!
- That's when I'm home drinking beer, the Pilot said.
- We have hauled ass, he said.
- We're used to hauling ass but next ship might be a Greek ship making 3 knots, I said.
Well, we had all fast at 1315 and the Immigration was onboard at 1400. 4 Immigration Officers came onboard with plastic gloves and dust masks. One of our Mess men have chicken pox and he is isolated in our hospital.
We are detained until our Mess man has been on the hospital and the Chicken pox is confirmed. Then we have to get vaccination before we can go ashore. But we have time, EXXON informed us that we will not start loading in at least 2 days. Good we have time for the inspections.
At 1600 our on signing Captain and 2nd Officer (former 3rd Officer) arrived in a van. The caught sight of me 2 seconds after coming out of the van. Now we only wait for the Inspectors and the DNV Inspector arrived at 6 o'clock and he will work all night so he can leave for the next ship tomorrow. I only want to get rid of the CHEVRON vetting before we start to load.
Wednesday 12th of December 2007 and I woke up after a full night sleep. No one disturbing us during the night and we were still waiting to start loading. We have plenty time for the DNV Inspection.
The DNV Inspector was very happy with the ship. Every time you ran in to him he said
it was a very good ship.
A letter that our Captain found in Trade Wind
"How to tackle the crew crisis"
(23 February, page 32)
I was rather shocked by some of the imprudent suggestions made by industry
people regarding alleviating the perceived shortage of ship's crews.
The solution to the looming crew shortage is extremely simple: money!
Anybody with a smidgen of economic schooling knows that supply, demand and price levels are interrelated. In a free market, when prices go up, overtime supply of a commodity or a service will increase.
In other words, with better wages, ships can still be manned with competent seafarers. However, if wages are kept stagnant, sooner or later the more intelligent ones will look for lucrative jobs ashore.
I never understood why owners of a capital-intensive asset like a ship want to operate it with the cheapest - often substandard - crews. These owners must be fans of "The Simpsons", an US TV cartoon series in which the dim-witted Homer Simpson is at the controls of a nuclear power plant.
Do we want complex ships - often operating in a dangerous environment - to be manned by mental midgets?
I would be frightened to go to sea with them. In time of danger you want to have competent people around you.
Furthermore, why is it that penny-pinching should only apply to ships' crews? How about cutting some executives from the payroll? In many instances, the salary of one of them would pay for a complete well-trained crew of 25 to 30 people.
- This inspection runs very smooth. The crew knows what to do and I'm soon ready to leave!
- Well, this is how it is when the company pay the extra salary to get a good crew, I told him.
Now we are only waiting for the CHEVRON Inspector so we can finish the vetting inspection. No one knew where the Inspector is and Captain called Laurin in Houston.
- We have cancelled the vetting.
I don't know why they didn't bother to inform the vessel, but different styles in different companies.
Well, I was confident in the outcome of the DNV inspection and with the cancelled CHEVRON vetting I decided to go ashore for some shopping. I called a TAXI and I was off to Beaumont shopping area. I was back at 9 o'clock in the evening with new flowers (artificial) for my cabin.
Thursday 13th of December 2007 and I woke up at 0730. I was very pleased, I had expected a call in the middle of the night. The plan was that we should start loading
5 o'clock in the morning.
I can't complain, I think, well, I can't remember me working night time for the last 3 months. Only scratching behind and laughing, life at sea is GOOD.
13th of December and its Lucia. Lucia was a girl from Italy that saved Jesus life or something. I don't know any other country than Sweden celebrating Lucia. I got e-mail from my friend at Broström Tankers in Gothenburg. They had had some festivities and they had him dressed up as Rudolf with the red muzzle. I don't know anything about Rudolf with the red muzzle, never even heard of it, but maybe it was something they came up with just to get him to wear the funny dress.
At 11 o'clock the Loading Master came onboard and now we expect to start loading within hours.
Friday 14th of December 2007 and we were still loading first parcel when I woke up. So I had time for tea and the crew removed the covers to the aft and fore peak. The Paint Inspector arrived yesterday and now he wanted to start with the tanks.
We completed first parcel at 11 o'clock and we started 2nd parcel at 1235 and that means that we will have to work until early morning tomorrow. Well, I will spend the evening in my cabin watching movie munching on chocolate. The crew has been ashore shopping and my desk was full of chocolate.
Saturday 15th of December 2007 and they called me at 3 o'clock in the morning.
- 1 hour until we're ready!
- I'm coming...........
I was dead tired and I almost fell asleep in the shower. After 20 minutes in a very hot shower I went down to make a bucket of tea to bring to the CCR. We completed loading at 0400 and I was back in bed at 6 o'clock when the paper work was ready. But I failed to fall asleep and when I finally felt a sleep it was time again. I was very tired when they called me at 0810.
- Time to check for gas in the ballast tank so the Inspector can go down.
- I'm coming...........
I had been dreaming of the Captain. I was going to one of the locks in Panama to pick up my flash light and walkie talkie. I didn't have my ID card so Captain had to come with me. Well, anyway, I checked the gas and I was back to bed.
They called me again at 1030.
- Time to check for gas in 4 STB DB tank so the Inspector can go down.
- I'm coming...........
Measuring gas and preparing the paper work for the next jetty, well, that's pretty much what I did during the day. We expected to shift to the next jetty at 11 o'clock but we heard nothing. Usually it takes 6 hours for EXXON to release us from the jetty. But I'm in no hurry.
Our Norwegian Paint Inspector and one OS started the day with 4 DB and after lunch they started in 1 P/S DB. I had 2 AB's in 3 DB to clean the mud boxes and our Bosun was on watch at the tank entrances with a radio.
When our Paint Inspector was ready with the first of the two #2 DB I asked about 3 STB. He told me that he found something looking like a leak from the cargo tank above this morning. But I was tired and I didn't paid any attention to it and I was too tired to understand. But in the afternoon I was full of vim and he found something looking like a leak in one of the stools in 3DB.
I asked where and I prepared myself mentally do go down in the tank and I was not looking forward to it. But the Paint Inspector saved me.
- I think you are, well, a little bit on the big side to be able to get in to the stool.
Captain on the way to check the ballast tank
I don't want to say that I was laughing, but...... Well, staying on deck was not a bad deal
Captain went down while I was on deck, it was a cool wind blowing over us and the crew was freezing even though the sun was shining after a day with rain. It was a strong and cold wind blowing over deck and I could not help myself, but I burst out (Mostly to myself):
- Where the BIP is this BIPPING cold wind coming from!!!?????
- From the poop deck! It was one of our OS and I will not mention his name. It took him 0,4 seconds to realize that this was not the answer I was looking for.
Well, the only nice thing happened during the day (Except that I was a wee bit too big to get in to the stool. OK, I must point out that this was our Paint Inspectors view of things. I have no doubt that I would have managed to get in there) was that it was no leak in the stool. 2nd thing was that our Paint Inspector was, well, I don't want to say impressed. But he had been onboard at the ship yard in December last year and he remembered how the deck looked back then.
- A remarkable improvements! He said.
OK, I must admit that he was impressed by the white steps on all the ladders. We also have holes for our mooring ropes through the stringers on deck.
- You even have the holes white with a black edge around it! He said when he came onboard.
- Well, we have the best crew! Filipino sailors are the best! I said.
A major improvement
Our crew have been working hard
I had planned to take a few pictures of the crew while on deck checking gas, but I forgot my camera in the excitement and when they were ready to enter DB 2 port I borrowed the Paint Inspectors camera. I got a few pictures for internet. After dinner when the Paint Inspector came to my cabin so I could copy the pictures we discovered that I hadn't pushed the button hard enough. No pictures!
I ran in to our mess man with Chicken Pox in the evening. I was spotted, he didn't want me to take his picture.
- I don't want my girl friend to see me like this when she is on www.aladdin.st!
Well, the time was turns quick on a Saturday evening in Beaumont and it was after 7 o'clock and still no news about any departure time or Pilot. Well, we have heard pretty much BIP all.
Sunday 16th of December 2007 and they called me at quarter to one in the morning.
- The pilot will be onboard at 1 o'clock.
We left EXXON at 0135 and I was in my cabin just after 2. But it was soon time again, at 0240 they called, soon arriving to CHEVRON.
I went to bed at 8 and they called me at 1330, time to go down DB 1 Port. I went on deck and it was cold. It was like walking in to a wall when coming out on deck and I really wish we will leave for Mexico soon.
We had a water barge here this morning at arrival and at 9 we should have provisions and stores at 9. When I came on deck I asked if the stores had arrived.
- We wait for the 2nd barge. Provision has arrived but the barge with the stores is stuck in the mud. They wait for high water and hopefully they can get out of the mud.
I don't know if I should be surprised or not. US are the country where anything can happen, but I was pissed off.
Well, when the Paint Inspector was down the ballast tank I returned to my cabin to watch a DVD movie.
Well, At 3 o'clock I went down to check for gas in the last ballast tank and the latest from the barge was:
- They are still waiting for water.
Maybe we have to leave without the paint and stores, my biggest concern is the 26 rolls of snus that I expect to be delivered.
Well, we completed loading at 2045 and Pilot will be onboard at 2300. All our stores and 75% of our provision are standing on the sea bed so we will have to leave without it.
Our Agent came onboard and I asked for his motorcycle. At EXXON he told me that he would come on his Harley at the next jetty (When we were at EXXON the weather was fine).
But I already knew (most certainly) that he would not bring his bike, its freezing and the bike is better off in the garage. But he was disappointed, I could hear him talking to the Surveyor while I was screaming at the printer. I printed the pump log and when I should print the SLOW LOADING protest the printer sounded like a chipping machine and capsized. Rest in peace! This printer will never be used again.
Well, anyway, I could hear the Agent telling the Surveyor that it was too cold to drive the bike.
- Hell, I should bring it here so Chief could take a picture of me for his web page!
- Hey! I can take a picture any way.
Monday 17th of December 2007 and I woke au to a gloomy and grey day. Later on I would find out that it was freezing cold as well. But there is notin' stopping the crew and the chipping is in full swing. They changed the brake lining on one of our winches on poop deck as well. Just a normal day on Barcarolle, everyone is busy and Chief Officer walking around exploring his nostrils giving pointers at the crew.
I spent most of the days with paper work, there was plenty to fill up in our Maintenance System after having UNITOR and the Paint Inspector onboard. I only wish we could have got the blaster grits and paint. But I have a little paint, but this is the last paint and then we're running on the fumes.
Captain was a little disappointed about the paint and grits.
- Don't worry! We will not lose any time. But I will need to order more black and green FLEXI, I said.
We will use our last black and green FLEXI to cover the rest of the primer spots on Starboard side. Starboard side is ready and we just need FLEXI to paint the deck. I will use my green and black FLEXI instead of red and we can continue like before. When we get our red FLEXI we can spray the whole deck.
Changing oil in the tank washing machines
Always something to do. When it's too dark to paint there is maintenance to do
I hope to be ready with deck for New Year's eve, at least the chipping. The chances to get our grits are, well, slim so I guess it will be to chip the rest of deck. We have 18 sections to chip on port side and it will soon be finished.
Starboard side will be finished, well, deck is ready and it looks nice with all the blue, yellow, green and black spots. We have to take whatever paint we have, but it's ready to be sprayed with red FLEXI top coat. We have a little left to do on the pipes, but I expect it to be ready tomorrow.
Then we can concentrate on the port side and we will soon be ready to spray the whole deck red. Our deck crane is also ready, but we don't have any white paint for the final top coat. I guess we will be very busy with the spray painter very soon. The whole crew is excited and no one can wait until we're ready so we can see the transformation from a PanamaGreek ship to a ship of less dubious character.
Well, after dinner is to dark to paint so I have 4 chipping machines up and running and the rest of the crew maintain equipment and washing. Our chipping machines is always up and running, never mind if it's raining or if it's dark. I even saw the crew making a tent on deck so they could chip under it. Then when the sun is shining they can cup brush and paint. Not losing time, we can't afford it if we want deck to be ready.
Chipping in the dark
Tuesday 18th of December 2007 and the GOOD MORNING look out of my window did BIP all to improve my mood. Gloomy and grey and water spray on deck. But the crew was out on deck chipping and painting.
I told them not to mix any more paint when they finished the paint they had mixed.
- All crew on chipping detail!
So all crew was chipping and I hope we get good weather tomorrow so they can brush and paint. We will drop anchor tonight and they expect us to wait 2 - 3 days at the anchorage. At least we will not have any water spray on deck and I hope we can finish the deck before Christmas. Then it's only the painting to go before we start with the poop deck and fo'c's'le. I hope we will be ready with the ship in April when my reliever comes. But tank deck will be ready in days. (Except the painting)
- You're not allowed to sign off before the ship is ready! Captain told me yesterday.
Well, that's an improvement. As I said at the dinner yesterday.
- The original plan was for me to go home when I was 100 KG, I said.
- We don't want to keep you for the rest of your life!
So there is an end to it, but we need paint. Now we only have a few litres of green FLEXI to go before we're dry.
had just stopped the discharging of the slop and I managed to discharge some 40 - 50m3 of slop water before the PPM was out of range and we had to stop. I had had an AB on watch on deck while discharging the slop and he could return to the chipping after lunch.
I went to see our Cook, we better come up with a real good plan if I shall be close to 100 when deck is ready. And I mean a really good plan. We have to crank up the fat to flat effect more than a few notches. I could not believe my eyes when I stepped in to the kitchen. It looked like a crocodile farm with all the fresh made bread lying around.
Not only that, our Cook and mess man were busy eating fresh bread with Nutella.
- What the BIPPING BIP is this!!?? I asked.
- Do you want some?
- What the!!?? Of course not! I'm on diet!
- Hmm, well, maybe a little, I said.
Well, time turned quick and it was soon time for lunch. We
No provision, paint and well, we're pretty much running low on everything. We have finished all our cup brushes. But we have plenty cup brushes left for our old machine. The machine capsized months ago, but the cup brushes only fit on the capsized machine.
But our Bosun is not unable to act. He just cut of the fitting in the old cup brush and drills a hole for fitting in our machines. It takes some time, but it works and we don't need to stop the work on deck.
I went to my office to check my e-mail before our fire drill. Now it's Pilot on arrival and I have to be up all night. If we have all fast at the SPM at midnight I will have to spend hours with millions of people in my office doing paper work.
Wednesday 19th of December 2007 and I went to be at 3 o'clock. We had finished the paper work and we were waiting for the analyze of the cargo before we could start loading. I was really happy that I managed to get 2 hours of sleep after dinner yesterday.
They called me again just after 5 and it was time to start discharging the MTBE. We cannot start discharge our gasoline until the ship discharging at SPM #2 is ready so I went to bed when the MTBE was up and running. I managed to sleep until just after 9 when they called me again.
- Time to start discharge the gasoline!
The crew is painting on deck and now all our topcoat is finished. I only have 10 litres of Orange Hardtop left and then we're dry on topcoat. Our Bosun is busy with the tank cleaning machines so there is always a little something to do for the crew.
Next voyage is confirmed and we will load Naphtha in Pajaritos, I don't know if it's 15 hours or so to Pajaritos from TUXPAN, but we will have to do a quick tank cleaning.
I was on deck taking pictures of the crew working, but when I transferred the pictures to my computer they got lost and you will never have to see the crew paint the deck orange. But maybe you're better off.
Thursday 20th of December 2007 and they called me at 0545, soon time to start strip the last parcel. Well, even though I came to bed late yesterday I wasn't tired when they called. Well, a little, but after 20 minutes in a hot shower it was all “GO”.
We completed discharging at 0715 but we had to wait for the Surveyor and PEMEX representative, they were on the ship at SPM #2 and they will finish this ship before they come to us. They were onboard around 8 o'clock and we could do the paper work.
We will do tank cleaning after departure and I went on deck to check the preparation. I left the Surveyor and PEMEX representative in my office with my music on full blast.
I could not believe my eyes when I returned, Polish Hip Hop on full blast and PEMEX representative up on the floor shakingit.
- Give it to me Papa! I screamed.
- The most devoted Hip Hopper in Mexico! I continued.
It was all laughs in my office. When PEMEX representative spilt his coffee all over the table I was screaming.
We were screaming of laughter, Well, except the PEMEX representative. They were almost wetting them self's when I started to fill up the “STATEMENTS OF FACTS ”
Well, it's always larks and frolic here in TUXPAN, a slight difference from the first times I came here. They were gaping at me in disbelieve thinking:
- Who the hell is this guy??!!
But I understand them, I was running around screaming. I still do but now they know its how I am. I think I told you about when I called this girl.
- HELLO! Can I speak with Miss Daisy?
- She is not home! Was the answer and I could hear how the phone was slammed down.
Later on she asked if I had called. They told her that there had been a guy calling and he was DRUNK AND ANGRY. Well, I'm better off sending job applications by mail. Calling on the phone seems like a bad idea.
We left TUXPAN at 0942 and we have ETA to Pajaritos around 2 o'clock in the morning. We started with the tank cleaning and we were ready just in time for lunch. The latest news is that we will drop anchor at arrival to Pajaritos. There is one ship loading Naphtha but they are out of cargo so we have to wait.
Friday 21st of December 2007 and we were anchored outside Pajaritos when I woke up. It was a beautiful morning and the crew was on deck painting and chipping when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of the window. I was in a good mood.
Bosun ask for extension
Luckily enough I was there with my camera to perpetuate the moment
Captain was very quick to accept the offer
Captain could not believe his luck and he closed the deal in 0,3
Well, I started my day to check out the boys on deck and some paper work. Our Bosun want to extend his contract until August. They usually do 9 months but our Bosun want to stay for 12.
- That's the spirit we're looking for!
I took our Bosun to my cabin to offer him a diet drink while we did some planning of the work on deck. He caught sight of my shoes. (It's still only 2 pairs, the other pairs is still on the barge on the bottom of the river in Beaumont)
- Whoa whoa, what is that? He asked pointing at my shoes.
- HEY! Back on deck, I answered.
Our Deck boy will be promoted to OS in January and he will relieve the OS we promoted to AB. He and Bosun signed on together with me in Port Everglades July 2007. Now he wants to extend his contract as well.
Busy day at the office
Deck Boy (OS in January) asking for extension
I spent the afternoon calibrating our gas detectors. Time turned quick and it was soon time for coffee break. Our Captain wanted a Christmas picture of the whole crew to send to the other ships so we meet on the bridge after the coffee break
We wish you all a Merry & Happy everything
Well, I gave the picture to Captain on my USB memory and he will send it to the other ships in the company with HOLIDAY GREETINGS.
Well, I had just given the picture to Captain when I discovered that I had spelt everything without the h. I discovered it quicker than my good ol' spelling detector, but will they discover it on the ships?
In the afternoon they told us that we will get the Pilot at 2000 and in the evening it was changed to 2300. I'm impressed by how they are running things here. OK, you forget or make a mistake one time. But here it is every time, it's like everything happening here is a surprise. They don't have a clue when the ships are ready or when, well, it's like it's impossible to plan ahead. It must be terrible to work like that.
- Oh! There is a ship waiting to come along side. What a surprise!
- Oh! they are finished now. Strange, they load 300,000 Bbls with 10,000 Bbls/h and they are ready after 30 hours. Very strange!
- Oh! we're out of cargo. They will load 320,000 Bbls of Gasoline and we have 200,000 Bbls available. What a surprise that the shore tank is empty.
- I don't have a clue when the vessel will be ready. Let's take a wild guess.
If it happens one or two times, well, that's normal. But every time, just imagine if we were running the ship the same way.
- I don't have a clue when we will arrive.
- I don't know how much cargo we have onboard!
- I don't have a clue, it's all a guess work for me!
I was in my cabin writing a few words of wisdom on my web page when I heard that the anchor was up at 2215. I better prepare myself for some heavy duty action, let's start with a hot shower. Then I'm off to the bridge (full of vim) for some frolics and lark with the Captain.
Saturday 22nd of December 2007 and we had all fast just after midnight and the Agent told me that the Loading Master would be onboard tomorrow at 7 or 8. I went to bed, but 5 minutes after the Surveyor came onboard and it was night work again. At 3 I was back in bed and at 0835 the Loading Master came onboard.
- Maybe we will start loading at 1600, maybe, he said.
- Well, a lot of maybes around here.
Last time in Pajaritos we ordered new upholsters for our furniture and the Upholsterer was busy from early morning to late evening. It's almost a year since we were here last time so they have been waiting for us, mostly the money. But they have had all the cushions and material ready for a long time.
My furniture's got wine red and I had ordered signal red so I was a little disappointed, but it looks good so never mind the colour. But of course, the bright red would have looked nicer.
Saturday night and the crew wanted to go ashore for some excitements. I asked Bosun if he was going ashore.
- Well, I don't know........
- I order you to go ashore having a good time. We can not only work hard, we need to have a good time as well.
I told the crew that they could sleep tomorrow morning and I didn't want to see any of them back before 6 o'clock (In the morning that is). It was hard to convince our Bosun and I had to go to his cabin and get rough on him.
-Go ashore or I will knock off your overtime!
Sunday 23rd of December 2007 and it was raining when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of the window. We have two men on watch and I could see them lifting ashore all our old mooring lines. We have around 10m3 of old mooring lines under the fo'c's'le and I have wanted it off the ship since I joined the ship in January. The Chief Officer took me on a tour on the ship in Panama and when we came to the Bosun store under the fo'c's'le I was in for a chock.
- Please! Tell me the story about all this ropes, was the second thing I said after joining the ship.
I could not believe my eyes, I had never seen so many discarded mooring ropes before.
My first question when joining the ship was:
- What's in all the drums?
When I joined the ship I lost my breath when I saw the state of deck and when I saw all the drums all over deck I was, well, not worried but uneasy with the situation. It really looked like a toxic waste dump on deck. Last time here in Pajaritos we got rid of all the drums and I was very happy. We left about 50 drums behind last time and the deck looks very good without the drums.
Even the poop deck was full of unmarked drums and I had no clue on what they contain. One of the drums on poop deck had Russian writing on top of it and I asked our Electrician to translate:
SHIT! DON'T TOUCH!
Well, about time to get rid of that drum. So I was very happy last time when we left Pajaritos. The only drums left onboard was marked with content and stored at 2 different places (Swedish style). Now I could see the drums without being in a bad mood.
I guess it will be the same this time, I have avoided the Bosun store because every time coming down to the Bosun store seeing this shit makes me a more than a little irritated. Now we have 5 brand new ropes and 2 used (In good condition) stored in the basket forward. Plenty space over and we're operating in the “HAPPY” mode again.
We got provisions in the afternoon and I had the ship chandler in the day room and in the CCR so we could measure the windows. Hopefully she will be able to find us some flower boxes before we leave.
Loading is very slow and with this rate and no stops we expect to be ready 25th in the evening. So I hope for at least one long stop so we can stretch the loading until 9 o'clock in the morning of the 26th.
Monday 24th of December 2007 and I woke up to yet another gloomy and grey day. The work with lifting ashore mooring lines continued. Half the deck crew were sleeping, they had been ashore yesterday to paint the town red.
Well, Christmas and I told the crew that they needed to finish the mooring ropes and the greasing of the mooring winches, then they could call it a day.
Our Bosun was busy repairing the brake to our anchor. We cannot use the brake after last anchoring and he have to adjust the brake so it gets hold. But the adjuster is all rust so it took him almost 2 days to fix it. Sounds like a long time, but this is heavy duty equipment and it's not easy to work with it. Big tools and no room to use them.
Bosun working with a big spanner
I spent Christmas Eve in front of the DVD. On my way to the cabin I stopped at the CCR asking duty Officer where the AB with the cabin full of chocolate was. He wanted to give me a bag of SNICKERS yesterday but I said no.
The AB was in the CCR after 23 seconds and we went to his cabin and he gave me the bag. I just got my DVD up and running when I paused the movie and I returned the chocolate to the AB's cabin. I only wish I had done the same yesterday when I got a big bag of candy from one of our Motormen.
Tuesday 25th of December 2007 and it was yet another gloomy and grey day. Well, the crew will be busy greasing and when I came down for my morning tea I found our Cook busy with the Christmas food.
It's the same every year. I'm coming out of my cabin the 25th of December feeling lucky to have been able to dodge the Christmas. But everyone holler MERRY CHRISTMAS at you. In Sweden it's the 24th and it's the 25th on the Philippines.
Christmas Horror story in the year of our Lord 2007
I called our Ship Chandler and she will be onboard at 11 o'clock and I will see if I go back to town with her. Maybe I find an internet shop so I can upload the latest excitements happening on Barcarolle, well, it hasn't been much happening the last few weeks. But it might be nice to get ashore for a few hours.
Wednesday 26th of December 2007 and we completed loading at 0905. Perfect, no up and running in the middle of the night. Luckily enough they stopped loading at 1530 yesterday when I was ashore. When I came back at 4 loading was stopped and they didn't recommenced loading until 0105 in the morning. Do the math yourself and you can figure out just how lucky I had been. Especially if you take the 4 hours of paper work and waiting before departure.
We left just after 1 o'clock and I had 2 of my best guys on the BBQ detail, suckling pig for the Christmas dinner tonight.
I had 2 of my best guys (Bosun and one of the ABs) to repair the brake to STB anchor winch while the other 2 of my best guys attended the pig. It was very nice when they finished both the anchor winches and I didn't have to worry about those any more.
So I was in a good mood when it was time for the Christmas dinner, plenty to choose from, but I only had meatballs.
Well, I had a few sausages and some salad (potato) as well. Even though it's Christmas I have to think about the diet, OK, I had an accident after the dinner and I ended up with the smallest piece of cake I
had ever seen.
Not much to write home about and I were pretty happy that I managed to get through yet another day with the FAT TO FLAT effect running on top notch. We really want to see those amazing BEFORE and AFTER pictures and it's not far away now.
Karaoke, the flavour of the day
We had only been eating for 5 minutes when the karaoke kicked off. Some of the crew are real good at it, but at least one time I had to storm in to the karaoke lounge.
- HEY! You have a phone call on the bridge! Hurry up!
It sounded like the guy was about to die and his singing slowly sucked the will to live out of me.
Thursday 27th of December 2007 and I woke up to yet another exciting day, discharge slop day. But first I had my GOOD MORNING look out of the window. Gloomy and grey with passing showers. But we were lucky and it didn't rain on us so the painting and chipping was in full swing.
After lunch we held a safety meeting and after the coffee break we held a few drills. Fire drill, fire in the paint store and Bosun lies on deck outside the paint store with severe burn injuries. The alarm went off and the excitement could start.
Fire group #1 approached Bosun outside the paint store with fire hose and fire group #2, headed by me, sprayed the area with the foam monitor. My best guys turned on the sprinkler in the paint store and closed the ventilation. Bosun was soon at the hospital and just when we thought it was the climax of the adventure it was time for an emergency steering drill.
Just when you thought it was impossible to intensify the buzz it was time to gather in the steering gear room and the excitement escalated. Our 2nd Engineer took charge and the emergency steering was up and running in a jiff. First man out was one of our OS. Engine apprentice and Motorman got the chance to try the steering as well and they were both beaming of joy.
While I did the communication between the steering gear room and the bridge our Electrician took my camera. The rest of the crew paid attention to the drill, but the Electrician went crazy with my camera and he went on a photo spree with my camera.
He never understood the worm's-eye view only when taking picture of me.
- From neck and up only! I told him.
When we were ready I knew that this afternoon's event will be hard to match, but we will try next time. Until then we have to try to entertain ourselves with less exciting stuff.
Well, my guys don't need to worry about tedious days, plenty to chip and paint. But it is worse for me, I'm suffering from negative stress. I guess I have to go do some important paper work and try out our new tea.
Finished with the drills for this time
Friday 28th of December 2007 and we were about to drop the anchor when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of my window. It was windy and it looked cold.
The latest rumour is that we are staying anchored until 31st of December and I don't mind. 2nd of January is even better and by then tank deck would be finished (Weather permitted)
Well, at lunch it was sunny and I was sipping on my last diet drink in my cabin. I double checked my fridge, but it was empty.
Saturday 29th of December 2007 and it our Bosun's birthday. Well, never mind birth day or not, I saw him kickin' behinds on deck when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of my window. According to Captain it would be a nice day to day, but it was gloomy and grey. Windy and it looked cold outside.
Well, our Mess man prepared a seat for me next to Bosun for lunch. His birthday and I have to pay respect.
- How old are you? I asked.
I ran off to check the crew list and I was soon back.
- I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU ARE 150!
Our Mess man had made some aluminium flowers for Bosun and the lunch turned in to a festivity. Well, while having my lunch in the crew's mess room I took the opportunity to interrogate them.
- OK. Who has any diet drinks?
Even though I put the screws on the crew I came up with zip with the browbeat.
In the afternoon I found out that Captain had preformed his own investigation. I was in his office in the afternoon and when he came down from the bridge he burst out in surprise when he saw me. First I thought it was because my jeans. Yes, you read it right. I wore jeans, it's darn cold on deck. Last time I had jeans on was 1972 and when I was on deck the crew stopped working gaping at my jeans.
- Long legs!!?? No shorts??!!
- Pantalongas and I'm ready to take on any disco, I said.
Well, anyway Captain told me that he had been looking for me during the afternoon. He had launched a search and rescue operation in order to find some diet cokes onboard.
- I had to do a cabin inspection and I found 2 diet drinks, he said.
But he was already gone just to return 3 seconds later with 2 diet drinks.
- Where did you find them? I asked.
- I promised not to give up any names! They were scared for retaliations, he answered.
I disappeared to my cabin for a quiet diet drink, it tasted good. Well, time turned quick and it was soon time for dinner and, well, let me start by telling you that I skipped the ice cream. But after dinner I went to the crew's day room to see how the celebration of Bosun's birthday went.
Well, the karaoke machine was up and running and I knew it was time to go back to my cabin enjoying some of the diet drink our Captain “organised” for me. Maybe I will find the time to watch a DVD but I hope I will fall asleep early.
And I hope to wake up to a nice and warm day so we can forget all about the jeans for another 20 years.
Sunday 30th of December 2007 and, well, it's Sunday. I discovered that the wind was gone when I had my GOOD MORNING look out of my window. Still gloomy and grey, but a few hours later the sun was shining.
Actually, the weather became so nice so Captain called me in my cabin. I will not reveal the time he called, then you will think I had a “long lunch”
“What the BIP is he doing laying around in his cabin like a Engineer all day long?”
- We cannot expect the weather to be much better than this so we launch the life boat after the coffee.
Sunday afternoon and we all appreciate the extra excitement. The weather was nice so we enjoyed being on deck.
I spent the evening in my cabin watching Simpson the movie, what a waste of time. Simpson, the series is very good, but the movie? Well, I will not bother watching it again. But I finished a book and that was good value (I borrowed it of the Captain)
Monday 31st of December 2007 and we were on the way to the berth when I woke up. I had a shower and a bucket of tea before starting with the paper work (2 minutes of paper work, but when I tell the Captain and the rest of the crew I make sure that they are under the impression that its hours of heavy work)
- Well, honestly. These 2 minutes of paper work, hmm, we could have managed without it.
But after several days walking around doing BIP all I felt bad about myself. My bad conscience is really nagging me. But some early morning paper work (Reading my e-mail) makes me feel important and needed. But never mind that, the most important is to make the others think that I'm busy with some VERY important stuff. But as a said, I could as well have stayed in bed.
But at 10 it was action. We were about to arrive to Point Comfort and I was on the bridge. Fresh from the shower in a white shirt, looking good never missing a chance to tell the pilot and Captain and anyone wanting to listen how busy I had been with my paper work.
- BIPPING BIP, the paper work is killing me!
- Yeah, this is the shipping of today, Is the reply I get in a voice full of sympathy.
When the matter of how much work I has going for myself is settled I ask the pilot for a shopping center. Looking around and the only thing a see is grass and some factories so I doubt that the will be any shopping centres nearby. But I need Diet Drink.
- Any Wal-Mart around, I asks with hope in my voice.
- No Wal-Mart. But we have a SUPER Wal-Mart, he answers.
We had all fast at 1135 and the Agent were soon onboard. Immigration will not come until tomorrow so we are not allowed to go ashore. What a waste! SUPER Wal-Mart 10 minutes away with taxi and we are not allowed to go ashore. When I'm coming to Captain's office our Agent ask me if he shall bring Diet Drinks for me.
- Captain told me that you had been grumpy for the last 3 days and you need Diet Drinks.
40 minutes later he was back with 26 bottles of Diet Drinks. This is the very same Agent that bought me the hair trimmer in Corpus Christi last February.
Well, anyway, I had 2 bottles before Captain had a chance to say HEY!
There were also 2 packages for me, 6 rolls of snus. In the nick of time, I'm running very low. I ripped the packages open and I stuffed my fridge with the fresh snus.
When I ripped open the packages I also found a tin, with General ONYX, obviously a special edition. When I order snus they always send some extra promotion stuff, last time I gave the promotion stuff to our 1st Engineer. Well, this General ONYX was a special tin with silver lid. Well, silver, as I told Captain when I gave him the tin.
- Don't get upset because the lid looks like silver. It's pure plastic, I guarantee.
Well, I'm out of here. I will move over to my sofa and turn on a DVD relaxing until bed time when I will start a new book. Well, I like it, sitting around doing BIP all. But we have a word for it in Sweden, negative stress.
In Sweden it's very popular to be on the sick list with salary. If you're not sick you can always HIT THE WALL with the meaning that you suffer from stress and have a very stress full job. Imagine ending up at a table with a bunch of hard working people. All of them suffer from stress and you're the only one at the table not having a job that wears you out. Not good for the self-esteem so they came up with negative stress. If you do nothing you suffer from negative stress and you can be on the sick list together with the movers and shakers. Negative stress is as dangerous as stress and you can stay home for months on sick leave.
Well, for people like me there is negative stress and that's good to know. Well, I will swing right on to 2008 and tomorrow I expect 20 more rolls of snus. A good start on a new year, well, cranking up the diet would not be bad either. To make it a New Year resolution, na, I don't think so.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
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
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!
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.
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!
คุณพูดภาษาไทยได้ไหม ไม่มีปัญหา ถ้าคุณต้องการไปหน้าถัดไป ให้กดปุ่ม “Next” ข้างบนนี้
Вы говорите по-русски? NJET PROBLEMA! Просто нажмите синюю кнопку "Next" с левой стороны и Вы моментально переместитесь на следующую страницу!
E ni Svenskar och inte förstår Engelska så ska ni skämmas. J och Björn, med det menar jag inte att alla mina stavfel ska ältas varje gång vi träffas.
Well, the flag of Skåne, just a BONUS flag.
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