Friday 1st of June 2007 and I woke up to a rainy day
Forecast says 3 days of rain so maybe the painting will be delayed.
When I came on deck the yard was busy hosing down our tank deck with hoses and high pressure nozzles. Well, you might be surprised, but they didn't sweep the deck first and our scuppers was full of plastic before anyone had a chance to say HEY!
Now starboard side of deck is full of water with oil slicks running over the fish plate.
The garbage is swept in to heaps along the fishplate, scrap, plastic, blaster grits and all kind of debris from the work on deck.
Now we are only waiting for the garbage container so they can take ashore the flotsam. As an EX Greenpeacer I was chocked when they made jetsam of the whole lot.
Everything was jettisoned right in to the river.
- The Chinese don't care, the guy next to me said.
- Well who does? I asked.
We don't mind buying the cheap stuff even though we can read almost every day about eco-disasters in China, so who is responsible?
We will never have to see this shit again.
Hmm, maybe when you bring your children to the beach next time
It's a, excuse my language, a fåcking outrage and scandal
I was on deck pressure testing the heating coils in cargo tank 2 starboard when I ran in to our Paint Inspector, an always smiling lad from Great Britain.
- I was visiting your web page yesterday. Excellent!
- Did you see the picture from our friend's birthday party in Phuket?
- No, but I will be back soon.
The whole day was gloomy and grey and with our scupper clogged and deck full of water you can understand that I didn't spend more time on deck than necessarily.
But I took a tour without Paint Inspector from Jotun to check on how they had managed to mask the cabling on deck. Our Jotun guy is the Inspector for our deck and hull and we have one Norwegian and a Belgian Inspector for the paint in the cargo tanks.
I had planned to go ashore and upload my web page and check out my internet bank. But they are taking out the ship in the dry dock and they take off our gangway while lowering the dock.
I guess I'm stuck in my cabin with a bunch of DVD movies.
- Hmm, maybe a good opportunity to take out my language course.
- Well, I will go and check if they had put back the gangway. If not I will turn on a movie, it's Friday night and I got the four last cases of diet drinks onboard delivered to my cabin during the afternoon.
I sipped on a diet drink watching a Norwegian movie and it was a good movie.
Høstens Tøffeste film er Norsk!
Saturday 2nd of June 2007 and was ready to take on another shitty day. Captain told me that he would be relieved by the Captain from Barcarolle, the very same that gave me the pictures of the crocodile.
Ok, that's good news. One good Captain is relieving a good Captain and I don't have to work with some Brustomte. But it's outrageous that the company don't tell me about this, I will reveal the true conversation when Laurin called me in FUNKY TOWN.
I had been with my Life Coach to buy new doors for his condo and we were rolling in his car when they called from Laurin Maritime.
- Can you sign on Marimba next week on the ship yard in China?
- No, I want to go to Bolero
- You will be there for 3 to 4 weeks and then you will relieve the Captain.
- How much is a Captain making?
- 1500 US more than you, she said.
- CAPTAIN MAKING MORE THAN CHIEF OFFICER??!! CHIEF OFFICER IS THE ONE KICKIN' BEHINDS!
Now I got this shit in my face and I'm most disappointed and I can't find any words, but I will at least be free from any responsibilities. I have no experience what so ever from this kind of cargoes and I sent them an e-mail. I wrote that I'm not suitable to be Chief Officer on this ship.
Take this heap of crap out from the shipyard, I'm up to my nose in shit. But we have a GRADE-A crew and our Captain told me this almost first thing when I came onboard. Well, not quite, the first two days we walked around looking stealthily at each other. After two days in the conference room we both remembered where we had seen each other before.
- HEY! It's you with the ketchup! I said.
- Yeah! It's you, Captain said.
Well, he told me that we have a very good crew onboard and that is a comfort, but what does' the company think when they lie to me.
- You can go to Marimba as Captain.
Then they are thinking; oh, nice now we managed to get that idiot to the ship yard. They can't find crew to their ships and they pull something like this. Now they just lost another Chief Officer, good work. They don't even bother telling me, just an e-mail to the Captain:
Please arrange a invitation letter for the new Captain arriving next week to the yard.
Everyone knows except me:
- HEY! Look at the wanker walking around thinking he will relieve the Captain.
Well, I can't help wondering what they think at the company.
- If we are lucky he will not notice that he's not the Captain.
They will start the grit blasting tonight with 80 nozzles so the ship will be covered in a dust cloud. The crew has a reservation at the very same restaurant where we had the birthday dinner. I didn't want to go, well, I wanted to go but the walk back through the dust cloud wasn't very tempting.
I was sitting in the conference room with Captain and Jotun's paint Inspector when I came up with a master plan. I asked our British Paint Inspector when he was going back to his hotel.
- I will take the 2100 shuttle, he answered.
- Do you think they have any room available? I asked.
- There are always rooms available, Captain said.
- OK, I will take a shower and then I will come with you, I said.
We left the ship just after 2030 for the office. Our Paint Inspector had a pushbike and he went ahead, he would change from his boiler suit at the office.
I walked to the office and when I arrived our Cook and Pump man came on a pushbike on the way to the birthday dinner.
- STOP!! You're not allowed to be two on one bike. I have to do a throughout inspection, I said.
- This is a violation of the very harsh Chinese law regarding pushbikes. I have to put you on the internet, I said.
- Yes, excuse us. We didn't know.
- You must hold my “ We don't mind being on the internet ” note, I said.
- Yes, whatever you say as long as we don't end up in jail.
When I had my picture I waved good bye “ HAVE FUN! ” and our Paint Inspector came out in his leisure clothes.
We arrived to the hotel quarter past 9 and I asked for a room. Saturday night and Farmer John is coming to town. The girls in the reception could not believe their eyes. I'm sure they were thinking: Look at this guy, Saturday night and he think we will give him one of the cheap rooms.
- We are full!
- But HEY! Wait a minute! We have a super deluxe room available.
- OK, I take it.
Our Paint Inspector was going for a shower and we would
meet at 10 o'clock. I took the opportunity to go to the ATM. I was down to 50 Scooby Dollars and that's not enough. When my valet was loaded I went to my room and I left my cards and keys under my pillow. No thief will ever find it there.
a person who steals another person's property, especially by stealth and without using force or violence.
It was a nice room, but no diet drinks in the fridge. Never mind, I'm not here to drink diet drinks. I left my room and I stopped at the first pub for a beer. Now the clock was 2130 plus a few minutes, so you understand that the whole check-in, get cash and to see the room operation went pretty quick.
There were no people in the pub, only the bartender. I tried to find out a little about the night life in the town.
- I English no good, she said.
She had a note book with some English phrases she wanted to try. I had no time to stay for the practice, I'm off to meet our Paint Inspector.
I took the two minutes walk to the pub and I stepped in just before 10 and if I remember it right our paint inspector arrived some 20 minutes later.
We had a nice evening with a few beers and talk about the good old times. I know that he is a regular visitor to my web page. He knew all about me and my life.
- I like tea.
- Yes, I read that on your web page, he said.
- Sometimes I like to have a diet drink.
- Yes, I read that on your web page, he said.
When I came back to the hotel I ordered 3 bottles of water. Good to have when I wake up tomorrow. I asked if they had water on the room when I checked in.
When I came to the room I found the tiniest bottle of Evian I have ever seen.
- This is not enough!
Later on I found two bottles in the bathroom and 6 bottles will be fine for tomorrow morning.
Sunday 3rd of June 2007 and I woke up with a headache. No B-12 vitamins in my hotel room, this was the last thing on my mind yesterday. When I realized that I should have brought the B-12s I was already sitting with a beer in my hand.
Well, I was lucky that I had ordered water yesterday so I drank 4 bottles of water before even thinking about leaving the bed. After 4 bottles I felt ready for the shower
I was watching the CNN for a while without understanding, yeah, it was one of those mornings. When I finally managed to muster the energy to get out of the room I checked out and I left the hotel behind in a taxi.
I was praising my decision to get a hotel when I walked from the gate to the ship. This is nothing you want to do when tipsy 4 o'clock in the morning. The blasting was in full swing and the ship was covered in grey dust.
Bosun (I think) spray painting the funnel
When I came onboard I stopped at the funnel for a word with the crew. They are just about to finish the funnel and it looks like new. I handed my “ We don't mind being on the internet ” note to the SILVER MAN, I think its Bosun, and I got a picture of him.
The whole thing with the “ We don't mind being on the internet ” is getting a little annoying at times. It's hard to get any shots from the hip when you have to hand them the note all the time. The other day I wanted to take a picture of our Deck Fitter and one of the ABs.
I was on the other side of the spray painter in the funnel and our Deck Fitter had to squeeze himself between the spray painter (It's not a small one) to be able to reach me and the darn “ We don't mind being on the internet ” note.
When I came to my cabin I could not find my cloths. I looked everywhere but they were gone.
- What the ...?
It was our Mess man, he had washed everything and I got them back in the afternoon.
Well, at least I could find my B-12 vitamins and I took a fist full of the small wonders. A fist full of B-12s.
- Hmm, isn't that the title of a movie?
I was pestering the 2nd and 3rd officers on the bridge while waiting for the B-12s to kick in. You don't want to be on deck today with all the grey dust from the blasting is all over the place.
I had my camera on the bridge to get a picture of the blasting, but I never brought the “ We don't mind being on the internet ” note. 2nd Officer told me that Bosun had been at the internet yesterday visiting www.aladdin.st (again).
I will just make a “ We don't mind being on the internet ” note and you and 3rd Officer will soon be on the internet as well. I made the note and I had the picture in a jiff.
They stopped the blaster at 1600 for cleaning the deck. Our paint Inspector told me that they will start again at 2300. Good, I will have a chance to go ashore uploading my web page. I promised our boss in Houston to take off the gay that had complained about being on my page. I also promised to take off the BEAUTIFUL flag of Skåne that I used to cover all Laurin logos with. He also asked me to change back the ships names to the original, so it's done. A lot of work to change everything again.
I left for the internet place after dinner. I uploaded my web page and I
checked my e-mail. There was an e-mail that made me very happy from our Bosun's wife.(J, ditt e-brev gjorde mig också glad, bara så du vet det)
Hi sir! Got the chance to browse your web address when my husband, Mr. Rhodel Catungal, who is happened to be your Bosun at M/T Marimba, told me about your website. It is very interesting and it gave me more insights on the lives who are dear to me who worked in the seven seas. I saw Rhodel's pictures featured in the May 2007 article. So seldom to see him, but through your website, I could glance at him with pride any time. Thank you so much and more power.
She was happy ..., yeah you can read for yourself.
When I was ready at the internet place I bought some chocolate and I was back onboard just before 8 o'clock. Chocolate and a DVD or two is a perfect end for a Sunday.
Monday 4th of June 2007 and the blasting of tank deck was up and running. They think they will be ready tonight so they can start paint tomorrow.
I started my day with a jug of tea and some fresh made buns together with Captain. Then I took my jug with tea and I left for my office. I wrote an e-mail to Bosun's wife and I checked my inbox, a pretty dull day at the office.
There was not a single e-mail from the company, even though I wrote to them that I was not suitable for the position as Chief Officer. We have not heard anything from the Seagoing Personnel Manager for a long time now. Captain told me that it was the lady in the reception that sent the e-mail for the invitation letter. Not a word from the company about the relievers, this is something you expect from a PanamaGreek company. They just ignore the crew:
- Why bother replying his e-mail?
Everyone knows, except me and I'm sitting here like the village idiot, good luck finding future Chief Officers.
I was offered a new job and the new company said that they would release me from this contract and stupid me said no.
After dinner I left for KINGs ROAD and the internet place. When I had done my internet business I went to buy a ice cream. A MAGNUM, I like the almond MAGNUM. But the wrappings only had Chinese signs and I'm no good in Chinese. So I got a MAGNUM coffee flavour and I was almost throwing up.
Tuesday 5th of June 2007 and my phone woke me up at 0130. I had forgotten to turn off my phone.
- Mr Aladdin?
- Do I disturb?
- I'm sleeping! I'm in China and its 0130!
- Well, now you're awake so I can as well speak with you for a few seconds.
- Do you want to sign on a Chemical tanker trading between US and Europe?
- Uh, what's the salary?
She discharged a volley of € per day, 10% tax, 3 on 3 off and family allowance.
- Are you married?
- If you're married you will get a higher salary!
- So I will have to get married then.
I woke up at 0730 and when I came down to Captains office I saw on his white board that I should be at the pushbike parking at 1430. Our Agent will pick me up for a visit to the Doctor. I will get a x-ray of my foot.
They started the painting of tank deck and when they are ready it will have to dry for 4 - 5 hours before the strip coating begins.
I think they used 20 painters so the spray painting was ready in a jiff, maybe 2 hours. They did the last spraying when I left for the hospital at 1420.
I was at the pushbike parking just before 1430 and I thought it was the Agent coming when I saw the first car arriving a few minutes later.
The first car unloaded 2 guys with boiler suits and the driver opened the window. I thought that maybe it was the Agent so I approached the car.
- Very strong! The driver said.
- Yeah-yeah, blah-blah
Our Agent arrived with his car 2 minutes later and once again I had to worm my way in to his car. He don't have any sun roof, but this time I didn't had any luggage.
We arrived to the hospital just before 3 and I felt sick as soon as I sat foot inside the hospital. I can't stand hospitals, this is why I never go there.
When we stopped outside the Doctor's office there was a guy lying on the bunk in pain. I stare up in the ceiling making sure not to get a glimpse of any gory.
- I hate this!
I felt indisposed instantly, my foot hurt more than ever and I was suffering from swindle, dizziness and nausea. Weak at the knees and unsteady with stomach ache. Well, in short, I was ailing.
But I had to check my foot, no problem to walk, just a little pain. But when I'm in bed it hurts and something is wrong. The Doctor wrote something in Chinese on a paper and our Agent took me to the x-ray section. I was only looking down the floor while walking and I didn't had to encounter any ghastliness, just a few Nurses giggling.
I was called in to a room and the Nurse asked me to sit on a wheeled table.
- This will fall to pieces if I sit on it, I thought.
But the Nurse pointed at the table and I sat down on the table. A new giggle from the Nurse but the cute giggle soon became a groan when she tried to push the table to the x-ray machine. I jumped off the table and I offered to help.
She just pointed at the table and I was soon back on the table with my right leg stretched over the table. Our Agent came running to help and they had soon placed my foot under the x-ray machine.
I was looking at the machine afraid of what it might do to my helipad.
- My last hair will soon be gone, was my thought when the machine started to make some noise.
When we were ready I went to the room next door to see the pictures. I'm taking pictures all the time, there is no end to what I do to get a few pictures for www.aladdin.st.
Our Agent told me that I will get the pictures so there is no need to take my own picture.
- They will be ready in 30 minutes.
- OK, I wait on the street, I said and I was glad to leave the hospital.
I went across the street and I bought a diet drink while waiting for the doctor to be ready. I was sitting outside the hospital enjoying the sun and my drink when our Agent came.
We went back in to Doctor's office and I got my picture. what the Doctor said? I don't know, but our agent translated and I'm not allowed to walk on my foot.
- I will just stop at my office before we return to the ship, our Agent said when we left the hospital.
- OK, no problem.
We were back at the ship just before 4 o'clock. When I was ready to get out of the car our Agent asked.
- Can you do me a favour? Take this parcel back onboard for me?
- Are you trying to kill me? I'm half dead and the Doctor was amazed that I could walk and you want me to carry around boxes like a donkey?
When I came back onboard (with the box) Bosun came to my office.
- Where have you been?
- At the hospital!
He looked at my x-ray and he was impressed that I was still on my feet.
- You must be made of Swedish steel, he said in disbelieve.
- Well, when ass has to be kicked they call the ass kicker!
We had received stores and when I and Bosun should put in our new boiler suits and gloves and stuff in the store.
The store is on 4th poop deck and when we were on the 4th poop deck I took the opportunity to show him his wife's e-mail on my web page.
Well, the latest news is that we will shift tomorrow morning and I will stay in my cabin watching a movie. Maybe I will munch on a SNICKERS® while watching. I was on KINGs ROAD yesterday and I emptied a whole convenient store on their SNICKERS®.
I'm not allowed to walkso I better off in front of the TV with my SNICKERS® and a bottle of water.
Wednesday 6th of June 2007 and I started my day with a diet drink and a shower. When I came down in the mess room I made a jug of tea and I checked the e-mail.
I started with a little paper (I'm not allowed to walk) work and around 9 o'clock the pilot came and we started to shift. We moored outside the AURORA TANKER. When we had three lines fast the pilot told us that we would change place with the AURORA TANKER in 30 minutes.
We left with help of two tugs, we don't have any engine power and we waited in the busy river while the AURORA TANKER left. We took her place and she moored outside of us. We are lucky to have a strong crew because we can't use our hydraulic system. One leak and the paint job on deck is all for nothing.
In the afternoon they told us that there was a possibility that we had to swap place with the AURORA TANKER tomorrow again. I'm not surprised. Finally it was time for dinner and this day has been very slow.
Well, I'm not allowed to walkso it looks like I have to spend the evening in front of the TV with my SNICKERS®. Our Bosun was in the city yesterday and he bought some Chinese dried meet for me, but I don't know if I can handle the excitement trying this out, at least not to night.
Thursday 7th of June 2007 and the strip coating of the second layer was finished in the morning. They started the third layer around 11 and they expect the last layer to be painted tonight.
Lunch, it was nice, half day gone. Time is very slow when you're not allowed to walk, not much to do. So far no news about my reliever from the company.
I have been onboard for almost a month and not a word since I came onboard, at least to say, very strange. Well, maybe not.
Just after 3 it was time to shift again, the ship inside of us was moving to the dry dock and we had to move. first they moved the AURORA TANKER and then we left. We were both lying in the river assisted by tugs while Ektoros left for the dry dock.
We were ready just in time for dinner, spaghetti Carbonara. When I came to my cabin I opened a diet drink and I started to check the picture I took during the shifting. My phone rang and it was a shipping company asking for a Chief Officer for a tanker.
(Strange, all companies calling, except the company I'm working for)
- I'm fed up with tankers, do you have something else?
- We only have oil rigs and tankers, he answered.
- Are you interested in oil rigs?
- Yes, what's the salary?
- Are you sitting down? Maybe you will fall backwards, we're talk different salaries here.
(It's true, he really said that)
- Bring it on!
- Chief Officer have 422 or 452 € per day! 4 weeks on 4 weeks off!
- I'm still standing, I said and I continued:
- I never been on oil rigs before so I have to start as 2nd Officer.
- 315 € per day. 4 weeks on 4 weeks off.
Well, I can make my living out of that. And even if they fåck me over telling me that I will go as a Captain I have a good salary as 2nd Officer. They have oilrigs in Brazil, Egypt and pretty much all over the word.
- I live in FUNKY TOWN, do you have anything close by?
- I will send you a list.
Friday 8th of June 2007 and we started the day with shifting, darn, I had not even had time for my tea. We were ready just in time for lunch and I was off to my cabin for a diet drink after the meal.
I must stop this diet drink thing, I had 5 cans during the shifting talking good ol' times with Captain.
Not long after we had all fast they started to lift onboard our cargo pumps. Our Pump man was running around on deck while the rest of the crew was busy with broken pipes on deck.
I was watching from the poop deck and when it got to hot in the sun I went to my office. I'm ordered to rest for 2 weeks by the Doctor. It's boring and usually I should have a bad conscience about it. But I promised myself not to care. They could have sent a Chief Officer instead of the cripplethat was supposed to be the Captain.
I have been doing this for almost 25 years. Working when I have been sick, always left for a ship when they had asked me. Signing off and on the same day. I had covered 2 ships for the summer for Laurin Maritime, they could forget the 2 ships until autumn and Barcarolle they didn't had to think about. You are willing to help and they fåck you over. Then you have the people getting a back pain as soon as Christmas approaching, those guys get the VIP treatment.
- I cannot sign on, I have time for my laundry!
- I cannot sign on, I need a hair cut!
- I cannot sign on, blah-blah-bla
I must have done something wrong on Barcarolle, that's the only explanation.
- Hmm, maybe it's my web page. Our Superintendent said the whole family were against it.
I can understand that they don't want their logo associating with Shanghaiing. Because
this is exactly what it is.
•Verb (shanghais, shanghaied, shanghaiing) force (someone) to join a ship lacking a full crew by drugging them or using other UNDERHAND means.
Well, if they think they got a Chief Officer onboard they will be surprised. I start with 2 weeks rest according to Doctors orders. Hey! I have been around tank decks in a wheel chair just to be able to do my work, but now I could not care less.
acting or done in a secret or dishonest way
I really must thank Laurin Maritime for making me throw shit on my own name and reputation.
- THANK'S A MILLION!!!!
I must try to elucidate this issue, maybe a phone call to the company will throw some light on the matter. When I finally had managed to muster the energy (remember me being half dead with a fractured ankle) required to make the call it was almost 4 o'clock, 10 o'clock in Sweden.
- I was supposed to be the Captain and I haven't heard a word from you in a month.
- I read your web page and there it says that you have spoken to the boss in Houston.
- I have only been speaking about my web page with him.
- Oh, I thought you had been speaking with him, he is the head of the personnel department.
I told her that she had told me that I would sign on as a Captain.
- No, I never said that. I said that there was a chance for you!
- Whoa whoa, you said that I would relieve the Captain after 3 - 4 week.
- No, first you must be evaluated.
They have an onboard management and she told me that I had to be evaluated before I can join as a Captain.
They send me to relieve the Captain and onboard I have to be evaluated.
- No, you didn't pass! You can sign on as a Cook.
If I failed the test they should have sent me home again. Well, I don't think any of you have any doubt about them trying to blow smoke up my behind.
- The onboard management didn't think that you were suitable to be the Captain.
- So you try to tell me that the Captain didn't want me to relieve him?
Captain been showing me around just like I was going to relieve him and he was surprised when the lady in the reception sent the e-mail for the invitation letter so I told her
- I don't believe that!
Captains in a hurry to get home and he don't want me to relive him so he can go home. What a shit load of crap! They should have sent me home the same second they found out that I wasn't good enough.
I will soon join the home going team. During our phone conversation I asked our Crewing, well, I really don't know what she is. She told me it was the guy in Houston that was the Seagoing Personnel Manager and he took all the decisions.
- I didn't know this. He never mentioned me failing the back slapping test, I told her.
He never said anything to me, respect! I haven't heard anything except through the grapevine, I cringe.
- Obviously they want me to give my notice, I said to her on the phone.
- NO! WE WANT YOU TO STAY!
Well, if you can't be the Captain you for sure can't be a Chief Officer.
- I cannot stay, I know nothing about this job, I said.
- I spoke with the new Captain and he said that you knew everything!
- But you just told me that you never told me that I should relieve the Captain and then you said that I was not good enough!
Well, seems like the Shipboard Management evaluated him at the same time they evaluated me. If he means that I'm capable to be the Captain and the Shipboard Management don't. Hmm, then they mean that he is incompetent as well.
- I cannot stay, I have a fracture on my ankle.
- How many days do you think you need to rest?
- Doctor said two weeks.
- If you want I can find a reliever for you, she said.
- Of course, you should have sent my reliever the same second they found out that I wasn't good enough for this ship, I said.
At least now I know they use my web page as reference. Not a word in a month and she explained it with:
- I read on your page.
I remember on a ship.
- Aladdin, can you relieve the Captain? we have one but we don't like him.
I was working with the Captain, we drove the ship I did the paper work and almost every day we got reports from the company on their progress in finding me a reliever. Problem finding a Chief Officer, surprised? After two weeks they said that they could not find any new Chief Officer and they had to take onboard the other Captain.
- No problem, I stay as Chief Officer, I said.
Saturday 9th of June 2007 and we started the day with a shifting. It was a sunny morning and the shifting went swift. Our Captain told me that they found a reliever for me.
- It's the Captain on Swan Lake, he has been home for 2 weeks. He will come in the load port to relieve you.
Good, I will soon be in bed for a week or two. Then a new x-ray and I will hopefully be ready for action. I have small doubts, I don't feel any difference in my ankle so far. But there has not been very much resting.
We only have one paint Inspector left onboard and the mess room is getting empty during the meals. But my table is full, we got a new Chief Engineer yesterday. Our British Paint Inspector left yesterday, flying straight to Dubai and the next job.
Before he left I said that we should meet up in Dubai with the Chief Engineer we know from the gas tankers. I took a picture of him leaving on the jetty. He held up to empty hands with an imaginary “ I don't mind being on the internet ” note.
Our freshly painted deck looks like shit. Yesterday they started to take of old IG lines that had rusted to pieces and when they started to bunker the bunker lines burst at three different places.
I was sitting in my office and if it wasn't for my foot I would have laughed. Remember we were busy on deck welding and stuff and I was happy for every extra day we got on deck before the blasting started?
I got one extra day and I had lined up all guys on deck with welding machines and grinders. I wanted to do as much before they started to blast and paint. As you understand all this welding and cutting will mess up the coating on deck.
- We need to paint the inside of the funnel!
The onboard management had been on me since day one about the funnel.
- The funnel has priority 0! We do it when they blast and paint deck, then they can't be on deck, I said.
I was taken for an idiot that could not understand the importance of the funnel.
- This is a big project! We had 2 extra engine boys to clean the funnel.
- Well, I conceder deck more important. We cannot load without IG lines and tank hatches! I have the ABs helping our fitters changing pipes. All crew needed on deck to get the cargo hatches, supports and IG pipes ready, I said.
Voice was raised:
- It's overkill to have a AB helping the Fitter! NOW WE HAVE TO PAINT THE FUNNEL!
- I give a shit, I said and I lost all interest in future maintenance of deck.
The deck crew was jumping up and down on deck while waiting impatiently to get started with the painting.
- Why aren't you painting, I asked.
- The funnel is not yet ready for painting. The engine department is working on it and they are ready at 1 o'clock.
- They have been on and on about the funnel for weeks and the darn thing is not ready to be painted, I said laughing.
- I don't care! But this is a big project and we can't lose a second! So you have to be stand-by here waiting for them to be ready, I said and left.
They started 1 o'clock and at 1800 they stopped painting.
- Are you ready ? I asked.
- We have about 1 hour to go, but we don't have any more paint.
I could not believe my ears, one day wasted on deck all for nothing. Our deck Fitter managed to change IG line to 6 Port and he started to make a new line for 4 Port. God knows how many pipes and cargo hatches they had managed to get ready if I could have given them the last two days on deck.
Now we have to do it all on the fresh paint and they guys had plenty time to do the funnel when they painted the deck.
I can't understand, but then, I only have a limited knowledge of paint and stuff, but it would have been nice if we had been ready with the welding of cargo hatches and supports on deck. Also nice to get as many IG lines as possible ready before the painting. But again, I don't know anything about maintenance work on ships.
Now they are running around like they are saving the ship. I have to listen to crap like:
- Plenty to do on deck!
- We cannot load without the IG lines!
- Well, Do I look like I care? Did anyone say overkill?
A few more days and I'm off! I will have a sick leave for the first time in my life. While sick I only have 50% of my salary and I'm losing 4 to 4500 US per month. How did I end up in this shit?!
Sunday 10th of June 2007 and I had an e-mail from the 1st Engineer on Barcarolle saying:
- It would be nice to have the picture on internet. I will send one with a “ I don't mind being on the internet ” note next time.
I got a picture of his new born yesterday and I sent him a e-mail that I could not put the picture on internet without the “ I don't mind being on the internet ” note.
Well, the guys are busy making deck ready for departure. A last check of the DB tanks and we can start fill up ballast. I'm on rest so I'm in my office busy looking busy. But then again, I'm not here to be the Chief Officer.
Yesterday evening I was sitting in my cabin resting my foot watching a DVD when I realised that I had Scooby Dollars left in my valet. Last day and still money, maybe someone is going ashore, it's Saturday night.
I found some of the guys and I gave them my money.
- PLEASE! If you find SNICKERS® or Mentos can you please buy for me?
- No problem!
If you can't find buy beer for the money and have fun
Now they came with a bag of Mentos and SNICKERS®
- We spent all the money!
- You should have had a few beers for you self as well, I said.
I'm on diet!
We started to fill ballast just before lunch and there was problems with some of the valves. Our Pump man has to attend the problem after lunch.
Our new Captain arrived just in time for lunch.
- Yoo! Aladdin, we will stay until Panama and then we go direct to Barcarolle.
- I'm going home!
- What? Our guy in Houston told me that you would be Chief Officer onboard.
- You can't trust anyone in this company. I was supposed to be Captain but I failed the Onboard Management's test according to our Seagoing Personnel Manager.
Soon time to leave and I'm in a hurry eating all my candy and to watch my DVD movies. I gave a bunch of DVD to our 2nd Officer yesterday.
I don't know how many I have, but it's plenty. I was here to be the Captain and I had to have something to fill my days with. But I'm on a two weeks rest so I will do my best to finish the DVDs.
I spent a few hours in front of the TV and it was way too late when I finally got to bed. Tomorrow I have to hand over some of the candy to the crew. Not allowed to walk, if I continue this TV watching and candy eating' I will soon look like a balloon.
Monday 11th of June 2007 and I started by handing out my Mentos in the CCR. Ok, givin' away my Mentos don't help me winning the “Sveriges tjockaste Hiphoppare ” award. But never mind, I already have Laurin Maritime's “Wanker of the year ” award in the palm of my hands.
At least I think so, otherwise they would not lie to me without any embarrassment.
- We never said that you would be the Captain
I have not told anyone about me signing on as Captain, still everyone knows it. I got e-mail from one of Laurin's ships.
- The Ship chandler in Brazil told me that you are Captain on Marimba.
- I will never be a Captain on a Laurin ship, I replied.
At 10 o'clock it was time to leave the shipyard. Two river pilots and one dock pilot onboard screaming in the VHF.
We tested the engine and we were off and two tugs hold us while we left the dock pilot and we did a few more engine manoeuvres. It was nice when I put the engine to slow ahead and later on half ahead. Hopefully I will never have to see the Chengxi Shipyard again. I can have my door to my cabin, CCR and my office open again.
We could hear firecracker on the jetty when we left and I thought it was because they were happy to see us leave. We had three pilots onboard, 2 river pilots and 1 yard pilot.
The yard pilot was onboard the see that we could get off the ship. When we had all lines onboard and the engine worked he left us in the hand of the two river pilots.
Leaving Chengxi Shipyard behind
We steamed down the rivers for hours and it was port and Shipyards all the way. Millions of ships and barges. during the afternoon we got news about load port, Singapore. Very good, there are flights to FUNKY TOWN every 10 minutes.
I had a chat with our new Captain, the very same that recommended me to be promoted to Captain on my last ship. He had talked to the Boss in Houston and he had said that I was the Chief Officer onboard.
Backstabbing seems to be normal in Laurin. What the fåck, I was sent here to be the Captain and he says that I will be the Chief Officer without even asking me if I want to. They think they can treat the crew how they think suits. Talking blah-blah, oh so nice and very good. Then you get a knife in your back, I cringe.
We cannot find crew, no young people wants' to work at sea. The government has to do this and that and a lot of thing that shall be done by others to solve the problem. What about some honesty and decent behaviour?
Our Superintendent told me that the boss in Houston would call me.
- We don't want to lose you. He is ashamed and he wants' to give you economic compensation.
- I don't care for any economical compensation. I just want some decency, I said.
Well, anyway, I and the new Captain agreed on that it would be a nice voyage from Singapore to Panama and then we would left and go straight back to Barcarolle.
- But I don't want to be onboard when you're the Captain, I said.
- If it had been the other Captain I wouldn't mind, he told me that it didn't mean anything that the Doctor ordered rest. I would gladly have passed the Pacific with my foot in rest mood.
Well, now we have a new Captain and if he asks me what 2+2 is I want to be able to say 4. But I was taken for an imbecile.
- I don't know, is not the answer I want to give.
Laurin Maritime treated me like a blockhead and they took it for granted that I would just stay onboard happy and smiling. But I'm pissed off and I'm not here as Chief Officer as I told the other Captain. This is why I called the company and now I'm going home.
- Well, my foot starts to hurt so I'm off to my TV sofa. See yaa tomorrow!
Tuesday 12th of June 2007 and I woke up at 6 o'clock. The ship was rolling slightly due to some swell. It was a gloomy and grey morning on the East China Sea.
Well, Singapore is a week away, hopefully we will stop to bunker in Hong Kong and I can go home. Hopefully never to come back, but I have a 183 days contract and I don't know how many more days I have to do. So maybe I have to go on one more ship.
Going home, that means losing money. But I will spend some quality time with friends and maybe my teacher. Her parents have a rubber tree plantation and last time I was home she asked if I wanted to spend the weekend.
I could see myself with a knife in front of millions of rubber tree and accidently I thought of my first job. I was 12 or 13 years old, so we're talking end of the 90's here, long time ago.
I arrived to the farm on a Wednesday and I was supposed to pick potatoes. This was a boring job, standing on the machine behind the tractor sorting out the stones from the potatoes the conveyor belt. We should pick it the potatoes and put them on the second conveyor belt going to a box in front of the tractor.
When I was at the potato box checking if there were any stones coming in the box. After a while I lost concentration and I throw the potato back in the field and I left the stones in the potato box. Farmer John was furious.
- Aladdin! You don't have to come back on Monday, the farmer told me on Friday afternoon.
Well, I think a skip the rubber tree weekend.
Our deck Fitter is busy on deck with all broken pipes, after spending two months on shipyard our fire line is leaking like a sprinkler. Our new Captain told me that he had seen tug boats spraying water when a new built ship arrives to port.
- Here we have our own fountains on deck, he said.
- But the inside of the funnel looks nice, I said.
Our Deck Fitter told me that his son starts his day by checking out my web page.
Well, stuff like this is always nice to hear and it keeps my counter spinning.
Our Pump manis busy tracing leaks on the hydraulic lines to our remote valves. I'm busy reading computer magazines in the CCR.
There is plenty leaks on the lines and it takes time to locate all of them in order to get the valves to work again. deck is full of blaster grits and shit so they crew our hosing down deck and cargo tanks.
Times turns slow when you have little to do. I have read most of the computer magazines onboard and I'm reading issues from 2004. It's like a time machine and you are millions of years back in time. Floppy discs and all the other stuff we had forgotten all about.
Even when times turns slow it will eventually be time for dinner. A diet drink and a few laughs, can it be better?
It will not be easy to leave this crew, it's a very good one and there is always something to laugh about.
After dinner I withdrew to my cabin and a diet drink. No more wind and the sea are like a mirror, some swell every now and then, but it's a nice evening. I will enjoy the evening in my sofa resting my foot watching a movie. And for sure I hope I have better luck than yesterday. I ended up with a French drama about Russian roulette and the skip button was used frequently. This is why I got to bed early and I could wake up 6 o'clock in the morning.
Wednesday 13th of June 2007 and I didn't woke up at 6. I was still tired when my alarm went off at 0730. It's a gloomy and grey morning with rain. Rain means water in the CCR so I guess it's no smokin' when we have dangerous cargoes onboard.
I started my day with a barrel of tea while checking my e-mail. I talked a little with one of our Mess men, he was filling up the allotment list.
- I'm sending money to my family. My wife had been on you web page and she likes it.
We sent the day testing high level alarms and other important stuff. Our Electrician was busy with our IG pressure sensors.
There are problem with some of the high level alarms and I hope our Electrician can solve the problem before load port.
We managed to find out how the control panel to the IG pressure was working, at least I hope so. The manual leaves more than a little to wish for. But as our Electrician said:
- Today the just give you a number to call when something is wrong.
- Yeah, and they charge you big time for some Scooby advices.
Lunch time and then I had to go through a boring afternoon. I went to the bridge to say hello to our 2nd Officer and our new Deck Cadet. I had no pens, neither in my office nor in my cabin and the 2nd Officer have the key to the store.
Our crew was busy taking away all the old scrap pipes from deck and it will soon look good on deck. Well, when she gets painted anyway.
Well, finally this day came to an end as well and I was off to my TV sofa to rest my foot. I was lying in my sofa when the phone rang at 8 o'clock.
- YOO! ALADDIN! We have a birthday party in the day room and we are waiting for you.
I brought a 6 pack of diet drinks and I went to the day room. Soon most of the crew were sitting there eating salmon, squid and some other stuff I don't know the name off. But there were cubic meters of popcorn and I'm proud of myself. I managed to resist the popcorn.
Thursday 14th of June 2007 and I started my day with a barrel of tea while checking my e-mail. They deck crew is preparing deck for tank cleaning and I'm in my office.
I'm not on deck and I spend the days in my office resting my foot. Very boring, I really want to go out there to kick ass with the crew. But I have to resist, I'm resting my foot and sending away a ship from the shipyard without a Chief Officer?!
Well, different company , different approach to how things shall be done.
Well, it's nice not to have any responsibility. If the cleaning are good or not? I don't know. I'm ordered to rest by the Doctor and I should be in bed. Captain said that it meant noting that I was ordered to rest. I told him that I would not do the cleaning so I guess that he is on top of things.
A boring afternoon slowly turned in to an exciting evening.
- Yeah, fat chance!
But it was nice to go take a shower and to rest my foot in front of the TV. Our new Chief Engineer gave me a few magazines yesterday that I will try to read. But they were all so called Auto Magazines and I'm not very interested in cars as long as there is a TAXI nearby.
Friday 15th of June 2007 and I woke up to a gloomy and grey day. I started my day with a barrel of tea while checking my e-mail. There was (among other) an e-mail from the 1st Engineer on Barcarolle. Our new Captain had asked me to ask the 1st Engineer how the work on deck was proceeding.
Well, the nimble and good-humoured 1st Engineer (from Skåne) rushed up the bridge and he got us a picture.
During the afternoon I got my flight details. We have ETA to Singapore 18h of June but no voyage orders. I will fly home in the evening so it seems like we're just stopping for bunker and then they will continue the voyage.
BOOKING REF: X81XVZ
AIRLINE REF: SQ/LY5NIU
Flight Date Org Dest Dep Arr Term Status
SQ632 18JUN SINGAPORE FUNKY TOWN 2035 2200 2 OK
I will be home Monday night after a very short career as Captain in Laurin Maritime. I have to go to the hospital first thing Tuesday morning, my foot doesn't feel any better. Well, maybe a little, but standing 8 hours in the CCR is not what I call a rest.
On Tuesday it's two weeks since I took the x-ray. The Doctor said I needed 4 weeks of rest and he asked when the accident happened.
- One or two weeks ago. I was tripping on deck!
- Ok, so you need to rest you foot for two more weeks.
I tried to explain that I had not been resting my foot since I tripped. I had been up and down tanks, running around like a track horse on deck.
Painful, but we had work to do.
Saturday 16th of June 2007 and it was nice weather when I woke up. We are getting close to Singapore Strait and the weather is always nice there.
I was on the bridge after breakfast, ETA Singapore 1400 on Monday and I will have a few hours before my flight leaves. This will be a quick handover, but as our Seagoing Personnel Manager said:
- You didn't pass the Onboard Managements test.
That's the same as saying that I don't know my job. So then they should have sent me home as soon as I failed the test. Long or short handover? I don't care.
Still no loading orders and we got e-mail from our Agent in Singapore. My reliever is coming onboard at arrival and I will leave with Captain and Chief Engineer for the airport.
It was a very slow day and finally it was time to go back to my cabin. I will try to finish as many of my DVDs as possible so I can give them to the crew. I guess there will be a few diet drinks for them as well.
Sunday 17th of June 2007 and my last day in the office, I hope. The days are really long sitting in the office looking out in the blue.
After lunch I will start to pack my bags and I hope it helps alleviate the boredom. I spent my lunch hour in my cabin drinkin' diet drinks writing on my web page. Our Pump man is coming 1 o'clock for a pair of new working shoes.
- Can't you take my old shoes? Just put a newspaper in them and they will fit, I said.
When I had him in the store I could as well give him a new boiler suit, now he will look dashing on deck. I must when representing the company.
When I had given our Pump man his stuff I went to the bridge to check out our latest ETA to Singapore, around 9 o'clock tomorrow morning. I'm better off packing my suitcase so I'm ready to leave tomorrow.
A tedious afternoon ended with dinner. Then I was off to my shower and I could do my last laundry and all my stuff is packed and I'm ready to go.
I managed to finish 4 DVDs in the evening and I got a heap of DVDs for the crew and a case of diet drinks, the last soft drinks onboard. Well, before going to bed I must just tell you a little something about the Chinese DVDs. Where ever I had been in the world buying movies the cover had been full of:
Best movie ever!
Olaf Fjølebratt, Guns & Ammo
I could not stop watching!!
But on the Chinese covers you could read stuff like:
Farmer John, Hicksville Daily
It's not awful but what a waste.....
Lousy gags bad music
To distribute a movie all over the world doesn't mean to take everyone in the world for a simple minded guy....
Monday 18th of June 2007 and we were in Singapore Strait when I woke up at 0725, 5 minutes before my alarm went off.
ETA to our anchorage just after 10 o'clock and our Pump man and I had time to check the valves to the FP before arrival. I was in the mess room when 1 of the guys asked if I was going home.
- Have a safe flight and I hope you come back.
- I will not be back!
Our deck Fitter came to the CCR while we tested the remote valves.
- What about your helmet? Are you bringing it back home?
When I came onboard Captain gave me a helmet painted like the American flag.
- No, you can use it, I said.
We had just dropped the anchor when my reliever came onboard and I showed him the stuff. He had been onboard for a few minutes when we got a leak on our hydraulic lines and deck was full of oil.
Our crew have experienced more than one bursted pipe on deck and they were soon pouring sawdust over the oil.
- Well, this is a good oil spill drill, I said.
Time for my last lunch on M/T Marimba, meatballs. When I was ready I went to my cabin to pick up my last things. We will leave at 1630 for the Immigration and transportation to the airport.
Our boat was delayed for 10 minutes or something. No problem, but we had a HFO bunker barge on our STB side and a GO barge on our Port side. That means climbing over the GO barge to get to the boat taking us ashore. We were lucky, the top of the bridge was just in level with our accommodation ladder and it was just to step over.
Well, it was a wee bit more than to step. I had to do a Jackie Chan over to the next ship, landing on my left foot. I don't think my right ankle would have liked a jump like that. Once again I had reason to be happy for my past as a commando.
Assaulting beaches around the world and this bunker barge should not be any problem. After swinging myself over to the bunker barge I had to climb down a mast and I was standing on the poop deck.
Last step, get to the tank deck and over to the speed boat. I climbed the railing and I swung myself over to the speed boat by holding on to a rail on the roof. I landed on my right foot:
I limped out on the aft deck to get our bags. When we were onboard on the speed boat we left the bunker barge and we got alongside Marimba just aft of the bunker barge to get our luggage. The crew sent down our bags with a heaving line.
It didn't take long before we had our bags onboard and we could leave Marimba and the bunker barges behind. It took us about one hour to reach the Immigration and the waiting driver.
I was the first to pass the Immigration and I bought a SIM card outside first thing. I could pester my friends while waiting for my flight.
They dropped me at Terminal 2 around 1830 and after check in I went to the TAX FREE shop for a few bottles of vodka.
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