Tuesday 1st of April 2008 and Captain came on the bridge at 3 o'clock fresh from the bed.
- Well, middle of the night work again, I said.
- Yeah, I went to bed at 7 o'clock yesterday, he said.
- You have been Captain for 25 years and you have a lot of practice sleeping all the time, I said.
I told him that I had had beginners luck yesterday.
- I went to bed after dinner by chance. I never expected that I could manage to fall asleep, I said.
When they called me 30 minutes after midnight I was sleeping like a log and as soon as I realized (Always a few minutes of, where am I and what's happening) that I had been sleeping for 5 - 6 hours I was in a good mood.
- Now I'm ready to stay up all night.
We left Public Warf 0325 and we had all fast at SHELL Rockfort at 0510. On the way to SHELL we passed a ship I thought I recognised, yes, it was old Rankki now named Kingston with Greek owners and it looked like a Liberian flag. Well, Kingston turns out to be a ship spotters heaven, who would have known?
KINGSTON, former RANKKI in Kingston
When I went to bed at 9 I saw former Rankki mooring just behind us and I went to take a picture before going to bed. Well, I tried to sleep and I managed to get, maybe 1 hour of sleep, give and take, before 2nd Officer called me.
- 30 minutes until we're ready!
At 1305 we completed discharging and the pilot was ordered for 1500 so we had time for paper work, diet drinks, good music and a chat before the pilot would be onboard. Our Agent came onboard and what a difference. It was a remarkable change in attitude.
- Sorry Sir! Can I have some times? PLEASE!
- Oh, sorry Sir! We take it when you have the time. No problem.
This is how it should be working. We have never been in the port and we pay 5-10000 US for the Agents service and he expect us to serve him. I mean, anyone passing the ship when he was screaming at the gangway would have thought it was an f@cking zoo. 10000 US and at least you expect him to get his funky behind in to the office. Same with the Loading Master, I gave him the samples from the load port.
- Can you please have a guy taking them to the gangway for me?
- What the ....!? You come onboard watching TV, eating breakfast and now you want the crew to carry your samples.
- It's only to the gangway
- Hey, my crew is busy with important stuff! If you take your samples by yourself or if you call some service it's up to you. I don't care.
Coming onboard a ship, expecting free food and people carrying their stuff around. Like it's an f@cking hotel. NO SIR! Not when I'm onboard. I have other more important tasks for my expensive crew.
But the best was the Surveyor, he came onboard just after 8 in the morning. I had been up all night and the crew had been breaking all rules and regulations regarding work hours and rest hours there is. Now this guy is coming straight from his bed asking me:
- Do you have a cabin for me where I can take my rest?
- What about going home? I asked.
I told him that he could sit in my office or to keep 3rd Officer company. 3rd Officer didn't look to happy at my suggestion.
Pilot was onboard at 1510 and we left SHELL Rockfort some 15 minutes later and it was nice to leave Kingston behind. Montego Bay next and we hope for nice weather so we can spray paint deck while waiting for the cruise ships in Montego Bay. There is only one jetty and when the cruise ships are in port we have to wait outside the port. They expect cruise ships 2nd and 3rd of April so I hope we get 2 nice days drifting outside Montego Bay. And I wouldn't mind coming ashore to some internet place @ Montego bay.
Leaving Kingston behind
I was back in my cabin at 1600. No time to rest before my night watch, there is plenty to write on my web page. So I pop open a new diet drink and I sit down in front of my computer with German Hip Hop on full blast.
Wednesday 2nd of April 2008 and I woke up with a bang.
- Thunder! Darn! No painting today, I thought.
I'm almost sure my alarm went off at the same time because I'm convinced that I turned off the alarm at the same time. But obviously I must have been delirious with sleep because I woke up a second time when my alarm went off.
I looked out my window and I discovered that the deck was under 15 cm of water so there had been a heavy rain passing.
- OK, just take me the BIP out of here now! I don't care about the deck anymore, I muttered for myself on the way to the shower.
But it was a nice feeling. I don't care anymore and I'm ready to go home. I will never see the deck painted, deck is ready, only the quick 4 day spraying left to do. The big job is done and I couldn't care less any more.
I was whistling in my shower. I was in a good mood, I'm leaving the ship. They can send my reliever whenever they want. OK, I have to wait for Captain and my new computer in May. But I don't have to wait until deck is painted, I don't care anymore. Take me out of here, but first my DELL and it's on the way.
I went on deck after my GOOD MORNING Oatmeal Surprise® and in this weather there is only one thing to do, greasing. I did some paper work, updated Arrival and Departure check lists in the SMS and at 10 o'clock I relieved 3rd Officer on the bridge.
At 11 it had been sunshine for 2 hours and we decided to try our luck with the sprayer. Bosun on deck and I was screaming from the bridge wing, well, we managed to agree that we could start spraying. No visible rain clouds coming our way.
It was the normal trouble getting the sprayer up and running, but at 12 o'clock they started spraying and I was on deck first thing when I was relieved by 2nd Officer. I could hear the sprayer as soon as I stepped on deck and my mood improved a few notches instantly.
OK, I admit, it would be pretty nice to see the deck ready before going home. When we started this project they just shake their heads in disbelief.
- Yeah yeah, this will never be ready!
But my guys have done an incredible job and actually we have had the paint to spray onboard since New Year. Our last delivery in Point Comfort, but the weather have failed us all the time. But finally it looks like we have some luck, at least for a few hours.
After lunch I went to bed and I woke up at 5 o'clock. Good, I'm ready to take on the night. Pilot at 1900 and we expect to leave Montego Bay at 0400 tomorrow morning when the first cruise ship arrives. One more day drifting outside Montego Bay and hopefully some more spray painting.
When I woke up we were just outside Montego Bay, we had picked up an Engine specialist arriving to Montego Bay today. Our #2 auxiliary engine had seized and he came to check the engine. Well, at dinner I heard that it was only scrap left of the engine. So we can only use 2 cargo pumps until the auxiliary engine is repaired.
Pilot onboard at 1835 and all fast at 2000. Ullageing, sampling and paper work was ready at 2220 and now we only wait for the cargo hoses. We have to stop discharging at 0400, Pilot is ordered for 0500 and we have to leave to make space for the cruise ship.
Montego Bay and the music were on full blast along the party road. I was on deck checking on the sampling at 10 o'clock and I could hear the music from the party street.
- Hmm, maybe I should go ashore looking for an internet place.
There must be something open with all the music and flashing light across the bay, 5 minutes with taxi. Let's hope we can get this show starting soon. But it looks bad, they have not even prepared the cargo hoses and its 11 o'clock. Well, if we have started discharging by midnight I'm off the ship.
Thursday 3rd of April 2008 and well, no going to town for me. It was after midnight when we started discharging. But when we were discharging with full rate our Loading Master picked me up and he took me to the internet in his office. No music, but I could upload my web page. GREAT!
Well, maybe tomorrow night will be better for visiting the town. Keep an eye out for updates and you will soon know everything there is about our excitements in Montego Bay.
I was back onboard just before 2, hardly any meaning with the trying to sleep. But I had my afternoon nap so I'm doing OK and I just updated my web page so I'm in a good mood. I prepared 3 pictures for the Agent in Brazil. So I will send them tomorrow if I come ashore to internet. Well, it's not tomorrow, it will be tonight.
Well, no sleeping even though I gave it a try for 30 minutes. MOGAS 95 completed 5 minutes past 2 and we will stop MOGAS 87 at 4 and we hope we will complete the gas oil a little after 4.
Montego Bay from the anchorage
I was in bed at 6 and I managed to get a few hours of sleep before my watch at 10 o'clock. Rest hours STCW . I made myself a bucket of tea and I enjoyed the view over Montego Bay. We were anchored 500m from the beach and the restaurants.
At our jetty was a big cruise ship and another on was lying next to it. And I could see airplanes landing all the time, so I guess the place is full of tourists. A beautiful day and the crew were spray painting on deck so I was in a pretty good mood.
In the afternoon it started to rain so the crew went from painting to greasing and Pilot onboard between 18 and 1900 so we can go alongside and finish the discharging. Then we have to go back out drifting or anchoring waiting for 4 Technicians arriving tomorrow afternoon.
I tried to sleep in the afternoon but I failed. I read for a while and I tried to sleep again, but no success even though I was very tired.
We were on the bridge at 5 o'clock and we saw the last cruise ship leaving. But no sign of any pilot for us. Darn! I'm in a hurry so I can go ashore to buy some Losec. I think I had a wee bit too many diet drinks and now I suffer from severe heartburn.
- Hmm, maybe it's my Oatmeal Surprise® giving me the heartburn.
Well, I got my upload yesterday, but I wouldn't mind a new one tonight. And I also need to send the pictures to our Agent in Brazil.
Friday 4th of April 2008 and they called me 10 minutes before 5 o'clock. Paper work and the Surveyor left at 0530 and I had to wait for the Loading Master. Pilot is ordered for 9 o'clock so no chance to go ashore buying Losec.
Everything closes at 9 in Montego Bay and I was busy until 11 o'clock yesterday and I went to bed. When we arrived I was full of vim after a full afternoon of good sleep. But yesterday lack of sleep made me wanting to go to bed instead.
But we will drop anchor after departure waiting for the Technicians and we will go ashore with the MOB boat. Earl Grey tea is needed and some famous Jamaican coffee. I hope I can find an internet place close by the shopping center.
We dropped our anchor just off the beach at 0925. Not far from what we all thought was a PARTY TENT but later on we found out that it was a church. But we didn't found out until we took a taxi back to the MOB boat on the beach, but more about that later.
Well, I as on the bridge while 3rd Officer prepared the MOB boat and Captain came to relieve me on the bridge at 1020 something. 3rd Officer would take me, Chief Engineer and one of our Mess men to the town in the MOB boat. We had to buy some provision, well, the only thing I wanted was EARL GREY tea and Losec.
Finally, out last passenger coming and we can leave for the town
I had asked 3rd Officer if he was planning for a swim on the beach after his watch. Then I could have returned with them at 1 o'clock if Mess man and our Chief Engineer wanted to go back earlier with the provision. OK, my blindfold diet, but a quick stop at a restaurant would have been nice. I also needed a few minutes to upload my web page.
- Yeah, our Deck Boy wants to go swim at 12, he said.
- Good, then I go back with you at 1 o'clock, I said.
Before going to deck and the MOB boat I stopped at the crews dressing room and asked if anyone was going for a swim at 12.
Well, no one had planned for a swim and Bosun only liked swimming pools. But one of the ABs asked if he could join us in the MOB boat leaving now.
- OK, Hurry up, we're about to leave.
We had to wait for the AB, at least a few minutes and we were jumping up and down in the MOB boat impatient to get to town.
- WHERE IS HE?! We hollered to the deck watch.
It took us a few minutes to get to the beach and when we approached we had to keep and SHARP LOOK OUT for rocks on the bottom. They had put a lot of rocks on the bottom as some kind of breakwater, at least I think that was the reason for them to put all the rocks at the bottom. Or maybe it was to prevent boats to come in to the beach, what do I know? But as soon as we had passed the rocks it was a nice sand bottom.
Well, I was the only one wearing socks and sneakers and I was alone in the boat when the rest of the guys were standing on the beach.
- HEY! I'm wearing sneakers!
Sand beach and if remove my shoes I my feet will be full of sand after wading ashore and after that it will be impossible to get my socks and sneakers back on.
- We only have one option and that is to beach the whale, I said.
3rd Officer with the MOB boat
Well, it was a 2 minutes' walk to the shopping mall. Shopping mall, I don't know. But there was a drug store and a shop selling t-shirts and stuff. I found Losec, but I didn't have any prescription so I had to buy something called Zantac. I never heard of it before, well, who needs to when there is Losec. But I will try them out. I bought a jar of Centrum vitamins. SILVER, specially formulated for adults 50+
- What the...!!??
- Hey! Do you have something for us between 20 - 25? I asked.
The girl was just laughing, but the 50+ formula might be the thing for my hair. It will grow back and I will soon walk around with hair like Bob Marley. Well well, we see about that.
We needed some provision, tea was top priority but there were other things on the list as well. But before buying perishables we wanted to see a bit of the town.
- We do the sightseeing first so we don't have to walk around with all the groceries, our Chief Engineer suggested.
- Sounds like a plan!
The supermarket was just across the street from the mall, but we turned left and ended up at a fish shop. Only frozen lobsters and we left. OK, Montego Bay didn't look like much. I mean, there wasn't really something to see unless you wanted to party. But we were too early for this kind of activity. And we had to be back on the ship before the Technicians arrived so we could leave Jamaica.
Internet, I decided to wait until Chief Engineer and Mess Man returned onboard with the groceries. I could do internet and a restaurant while waiting for the crew coming ashore for a swim.
I took a few pictures of the street and instantly I had a few of the local boys screaming coming after me.
- HEY! YOU NEED PERMISSION FOR THAT!!
I understood that they meant me taking pictures. But permission to get a few pics of the street, no I don't think so. I hollered back:
- PERMISSION FOR WHAT? HAVE YOU SMOKED YOURSELF RETARDED?
I didn't hear another word about permission and I continued taking pictures. No end to the hassle getting pictures for www.aladdin.st for you to see on tedious days.
OK, not much to do so we went to the supermarket. When coming into the supermarket, well, actually my hope to find Earl Grey tea disappeared already outside when approaching the supermarket. It didn't look like much and when we came in, I understood that here was not very much to find. High end stuff, not at this place. Some bread and Lipton Yellow label and some other strange stuff. Yellow label, who drinks Lipton Yellow label? When I'm at a restaurant or coffee shop ordering tea I know exactly what kind of place it is when they serve you Lipton Yellow Label. Yellow label is the cheapest tea around and when I get a pot of Yellow label at a restaurant I tend to be a little sceptic.
We decided to look for another place and in one of the shops they told us about SUPER+. The name sounded promising and maybe I can find my Earl grey tea. It took us 5 minutes to walk there and I found the Earl Grey tea.
We had been at Super + for 2 minutes when Captain started to call us on the radio. We had walkie talkie with us and now he called every minute to ask when we would come back onboard.
- According to the Agent you're not allowed to be ashore!
We asked the Agent if it was OK before leaving the berth and it was OK. Obviously they changed their mind and we were not allowed ashore after receiving Port clearance. OK, internet and uploading my web page was in the toilet together with lunch at a nice restaurant. Well, we had been ashore for 7 minutes when I decided not to go to any restaurant in Montego bay, I can't say there was anything that looked nice and clean.
We had 2 big carts of groceries and we decided to take a taxi to the beach and our waiting 3rd Officer.
- Take us to the party tent on the beach!
- It's a church, the driver informed us.
3rd Officer was waiting for us in the rain, he was swimming when we arrived and 4 minutes later we were onboard. Our Technicians were lost at the airport and when they finally got onboard there were only 3 of them. One Technician missed his flight and he supposed to arrive tonight. We waited at the anchorage and at 10 o'clock in the evening we could leave Montego bay.
Saturday 5th of April 2008 and last cargo Gasoline and we are going to load gasoline. So of course I spent the day with tank cleaning.
One of our ABs is signing off in Houston and it was planned for a farewell “get together”. I bought two cases of beer for the crew before going on my night watch and I told them that it was “day off” tomorrow. They have been working very hard the last week and some rest will do them good. We have plenty work to do so I want a rested crew on deck Monday morning.
The farewell “get together” kicked off at 8 and I sent down the OS on my watch to keep an eye on things with my camera. It was almost like I was on the “get together” when I watched the pictures on the bridge sippin' my tea.
Sunday 6th of April 2008 and the crew were supposed to have the day off. I told Bosun:
- Hey! “Golden Silver brush” awarded or not, we can't only work. We need some rest as well.
But the crew is so excited now when she looks nice on deck and they were on deck at 8 preparing the sprayer.
- WHAT THE F@CK! YOU SHOULD HAVE THE DAY OFF TODAY!
It's not because they want the hours. On Sundays I have them watching video and relax and they can write the hours. If you work 11 hours a day and sometimes 15 to 16 hours you need one day for relaxing. Especially when they are onboard for 9 months. But as I said, they are very happy when the deck looks nice and they are full of enthusiasm and vim.
Coming down to my office after my watch to send the ballast exchange report and I find my computer full of pictures from Captain. It's all about me and the blindfold diet.
My blindfold diet goes down the toilet
Picture by Captain
Monday 7th of April 2008 and we started the day, well, first my shower and Oatmeal Surprise®. But then we started in my office at 8 o'clock. We need to get the last paint on deck before arrival to Houston. We all went on deck to check what's needs to be done during the day.
The crew have been kickin' behinds on deck
One AB was busy stripping the tanks but the rest could paint and I could take a few before and after pictures in the sun shine. Looked like we would get a nice day and I was in a good mood.
I tried to discharge some slop, I gave it three try but I failed big time. Well, some paper work before I'm going to relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge.
I can't believe it! I'm sitting at my office doing some heavy duty cargo planning. OK, I had time for a diet drink and I had one finger up my nostril. But never mind, I looked out the window and I spotted a heavy shower dead ahead.
- WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE SUNSHINE!!??
The crew have been kickin' behinds on deck
I called our 3rd Officer on the bridge and I asked him to steer clear from any rain. In the nick of time, we only got a few drops on deck and the painting continued without breaks.
Now it's about 2 days of spray painting left and I hope we get nice weather on the way to TUXPAN and then it's ready and I can go home.
Well, to have been Chief Officer with this very good crew (“Golden Silver brush” awarded) has been like a dream. Well, I use to say: “Chief Officer is never better than the crew” I recall another ship I was working on and I read the following from the summer of 2003:
The big boss from Chemtrans in Switzerland was onboard when I came on watch. He was in Sweden to visit his mother so he paid us a visit. He thanked me for the ship was looking so good.
- Don't thank me, it's the ABs hard work, I said.
(I was about to ask him how she looked 3 years ago, but I never did)
- Yeah, make sure you let them know, he said.
I told him that we had a very good crew on deck and I promised to tell them that he was satisfied with their hard work.
Same story on that ship. A very good crew and the Bosun, 60 years old. But he looked like 25 and had the energy to go with it. They kept the ship in excellent condition while Chief Officer was watching video having a good time. It's good to be the Chief Officer, well, at least when everything is working as it should.
This is how deck looked, (at its best) 1 year ago.
And she came straight from dry dock
This is how deck is looking on ships
that I'm used to work on
The crew have been kickin' behinds on deck
Well, we will arrive to Houston Pilot around 10 o'clock tonight. It's about 6 hours in Houston Ship Channel so I really hope I manage to fall asleep after my watch so I can get a few hours of sleep before arriving to VOPAK around 4 o'clock tomorrow morning.
Our tanks are stripped and our OS told me that there had been some blaster grits on the dipper in 5CT. Well, nothing to worry about, a little sand and grits on the bottom is normal. But I wanted to dip the tank to check for myself. Otherwise I would have lost my sleep tossing around in bed thinking about it.
In 5CT there was ZIP
- OK, let's try 6CT as well.
ZIP, and we dipped 4CT and we could not discover anything unusual. I was in a good mood when I went for dinner and my good mood was soon to be improved by several notches.
- We will drop anchor for 3 days, Captain told me.
Well, you never know around here, but I will be very happy if we get 3 days at the anchorage. Maybe we can start grit blasting on poop deck.
Well, we see what happens and until then:
Cykeln på köpet på er!
Well, after all the Chief Officer having a good time you might think I'm only hanging around eating cookies, sleeping all night long and having a good time. Believe it or not, but there is a Nocturnal Aladdin as well and I was thinking that it's about time we follow him on his nocturnal adventures. But first I must stress that Nocturnal Aladdin is not to be mistaken for Charisma Man.
Even though it happens that Charisma Man wakes up as Charisma Man after a rough night on town (At those occasions a very hangover man is sure to show up in the afternoon, no matter how much B12 Charisma Man is eating) Charisma Man is always nocturnal.
Well, anyway, I relieved 3rd Officer when we approached Houston and after weeks of nothing on the radar screen it was full of targets. Exciting, crank up the music and bring me a bucket of tea and we're ready to take on everything they throw at us.
I was listening to good music drinking my tea while steaming north in the fairway. 3rd Officer had given the one hour notice to the engine department when I came on watch so I reduced to manoeuvring speed at 2100. Full speed is 125 RPM and manoeuvring speed is 103 RPM and it takes 20 minutes or so to go from full to manoeuvring speed.
We would arrive to Galveston anchorage at 10 o'clock and when I left the bridge to go to the fo'c's'le to drop the anchor I was pretty sure that we would drop the anchor. No changes from SHELL and VOPAK so at least one night anchored, hopefully more.
Last minutes changes are pretty common and you go from good mood to bad mood in a second. Expecting to go to bed and it turns out that you have to be up all night. But today it looked like we were going to drop the anchor.
Bosun was forward to remove the lashing on starboard anchor and I left the bridge just before 10.
It's very nice working on the fo'c's'le nigh time since they painted the fo'c's'le white
WOW! What a difference to be on the fo'c's'le now comparing to 1 month ago when she was rusty, dirty and dark. Now it's fresh white paint and it's almost like working in daylight.
Something for the Safety Committee to think of next time trying to come up with something to improve safety. All ships should have a white fo'c's'le and the crew don't have to run around doing dangerous work in the dark. I mean, look at the pictures! I would not even bother trying to take pictures on the fo'c's'le without the flash a month ago.
Well, we dropped anchor at 2215 and I was back on the bridge some 30 minutes later. The anchorage was full of ships so I had to keep an eye out for dragging ships while finishing my diet drink. I had decided not to drink any diet drinks during my watch, but when we approached the anchorage I asked the OS on watch if he could be so kind to go get me a diet drink from the fridge in my cabin.
Tuesday 8th of April 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. A quick shower and an Oatmeal Surprise® and I were ready for our GOOD MORNING kick off in my office at 8. Blasting and chipping on poop deck and now it's like I remembering it to be a Chief Officer.
Start planning jobs to keep the ship in good order. We are 7 guys on deck so we are plenty people so I really don't understand why they have let the ship fall to the state she was in 1 year ago. And it's seems to be the same for all ships in the company. I have been on two and I have heard about the other ships. Well, maybe this is how Laurin wants their ships.
Don't misunderstand me, we still have poop deck and the house to do so there is plenty to do. but I can start plan for other jobs and to put maintenance routines in to effect. But today I had one AB to wash down the fo'c's'le, plenty dust after dropping the anchor yesterday. A few months ago this was unthinkable, we had tank deck and I had to hang from the bridge wing screaming to the crew working hard on deck.
But now we have time to maintain the good look and I even called the AB on the radio and I asked him to wash away the bird poop on the fo'c's'le. Ask anyone with a car what bird poop does to the paintwork and you understand that we will have to remove this before it destroys our paint work. Well, we have time to maintain the ship and to finish the house and poop deck. Nice to be Chief Officer when you see the progress and you can do some work and not only emergency work from early morning to late evening.
Latest news is that we will go in at 12 tomorrow, well, don't hold your breath. Anything can happen here, but 12 o'clock is good. Then we will arrive to the jetty around 1800 and hopefully we will be loading all night long.
I spent the afternoon listening to Swedish radio on internet. I was also hearing the chipping machines from poop deck so I knew the crew was busy chipping. Good, I hope they get starboard side ready before I sign off.
Wednesday 9th of April 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up I discovered a gloomy and grey day when I had my GOOD MORNING look out the window. Well, today it's chipping on the program. Chipping for a few hours only, we will have 3 guys on watch from 12 o'clock when the pilot is coming.
One man at the wheel, one stand-by on the fo'c's'le and one guy on deck while going up the ship channel to Houston.
Well, I was on the fo'c's'le with Bosun and one AB to hose down the anchor chain and we started to heave up the anchor at 1110 and when it was up we had to drop the anchor again. Our main engine wouldn't start and all our Engineers had to work with the problem. The engine breakdown delayed us until 3 o'clock and I was in my cabin watching them on the fo'c's'le heaving up the anchor.
Even though we have one man extra to hose down the chain the fo'c's'le and tank deck is covered in mudd. So the crew spent the afternoon hosing down deck while waiting for the engine to be ready.
They told me it was 6 hours to our jetty and I was surprised when they called for stand-by at 1800. A wee bit quicker than expected, but I don't have to take any watch on the bridge with the pilot at 2000. Good!
When we arrived our provision and stores arrived. A fridge to my office and the ship is soon in a 2008 standard. A few more things to do though, but they are talking about crew computer (standard in ships the last 10 years). They will make our old duty mess to a computer room and the ship will soon keep 2008 standard. Just to upgrade the crew furniture's and we're smack in the 21st century.
Thursday 10th of April 2008 and it was stop for line displacement at 1 o'clock. We started loading at 2320 and a 90 minutes line displacement was required. Some calculation and foot samples and we could resume loading at 0145 and I was off to bed.
DARN! Impossible to fall asleep. The clock turned 3 and I was still tossing around in my bed and at 4 I was still awake. So I was very tired when they called me at 0610 from the CCR.
A few minutes in a very hot shower didn't help very much, but I was in the CCR in good time to calculate API, temperatures and final ullages. They could not give us shore stop on the MTBE parcel even though we agreed on this at our Pre Transfer Meeting.
Well, we stopped loading at 0705 and Pilot was ordered for 1030 so we had time for sampling and paper work.
We received stores last night, well, the crew was busy until early morning with the stores. So our deck was full of paint and blaster grits and the crew will be busy during the day to store all the stuff.
One of our ABs will sign off today together with the Electrician and they will be picked up around 8 o'clock. It was closer to 9 when they finally left the ship, but our 3rd Engineer and I took the opportunity to help the AB to carry his bags.
I tried to lift the big suitcase first.
- M@THERF@CKER! What the ...!!?? What's in your bag?
The darn thing must have weight a ton and I tried the small bag.
- M@THERF@CKER! What the ...!!?? What's in your bag?
The darn thing must have weight a ton and I changed my mind again and I took the big bag. Luckily enough it was a wheeled unit.
Pilot was delayed by 30 minutes and we left VOPAK at 1125 and we had all fast at 1230 at SHELL. Paper work, ullageing and sampling again. Hours went by and we could start loading just before 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
Stop for line displacement at 30 minutes later and it was 5 o'clock when we were up and running with the loading. The crew had not been on Wal-Mart for a very long time. Cash advance and the crew left the ship with pockets full of burning cash. I was thinking about joining them, but I had not been sleeping for a very long time and I was tired. So I went to bed after watching a movie.
Friday 11th of April 2008 and I will forbid the crew to go ashore, at least until I have signed off. I woke up (OK, I wee bit late, but I was tired) and I went to my desk for a diet drink and to check my e-mail. I could hear that someone was trying to open my door. The Mess man wanted to come in to clean my cabin.
I opened the door and I discovered a bag of SNICKERS hanging on my door handle. My GOOD MORNING mood turned sour.
- WHAT THE F@CK IS THIS!!?? I'M ON DIET!!
The same story every time they go ashore and from now on I will tell them that I prefer cash instead of chocolate. I told Mess man to get the chocolate but he didn't want the chocolate, and that was even though I threatened to beat him up if he didn't took the chocolate.
We have a slight problem with our grit blaster and when I and Bosun were on the way to see the Chief Engineer we passed my cabin.
-OK, Bosun, you take the SNICKERS or I will put you chipping in the ballast tanks.
He didn't need long to think about the offer. He took the SNICKERS and he saved my diet. While we were in my cabin the Chief Engineer came by with a box of fresh Doughnuts.
- It's coffee time! He said.
3 man on watch, but I had one of the watch men to paint on deck while loading. We got all the paint we ordered, except the JOTAMATIC and we expect to receive it next time. MARINE TRANS was onboard yesterday and they have 200 litres if MIO they can't get rid of. So maybe we can get 200 litre of paint for free next time. MARINE TRANS had tried to send the paint for destruction, but that would have cost them millions so I hope it's the same MIO we're using and we can get it for free.
Bolero had ordered the paint, but they didn't want the paint. I don't know if it was different paint from what they ordered or what happened. But we are happy to take it. We have finished hundreds of litres of disused paint on our deck and thus saved thousands of dollars and most important, we can say that we have been environmentally friendly by using it instead of throwing it away. Well, that's how it works on Barcarolle
Afternoon and time for the second coffee break and I skipped the doughnuts again, soon time to go home. I asked our Chief Engineer if he was going ashore. Our Electrician wanted to come with us and when we left at 4 o'clock our 2nd Engineer and Motorman had joined us as well.
We are not allowed to walk at the terminal so we had to call one of their shuttles to come pick us up. It was a 3 minutes ride to the gate and we had to get shore pass and show our ID.
The security called a taxi for us and we had to wait for about 10 minutes before the taxi arrived. We told the driver to take us to the big Wal-Mart in Pasadena and it took about 5 minutes to get there. The driver dropped me, Chief Engineer and our Electrician at Best Buy and 2nd Engineer and the Motorman asked to be dropped off at Wal-Mart.
I was looking for a bag for my new computer, but it seems like they don't have 20 inch laptops in the US so I could not find any bag for my new Dell. I was also looking for wireless loudspeakers for my office and, well, I came up with ZIP.
When we were ready at Best Buy we were hungry and our driver had recommended Chili's. I was sceptic, but we took the 2 minutes' walk to Chili's and it turned out to be OK.
Our Waiter brought me plastic glass for my water and I asked for a real glass and he returned with an iced glass after 4 seconds.
My deep fried Mozzarella was delivered in a plastic basket and I asked for a real plate. Except for the plastic in the beginning the food was excellent and there was plenty of it. We could not finish all the food and we paid 125 US for 3 persons, so it's cheap to eat out in USA.
3 persons eating and we left half of the food and the giant helpings explain why everyone is running around with a doggy bag.
We were full and we walked to one more computer store, I was still looking for a computer bag and wireless loudspeakers. We came up with ZIP again and we took the walk to Wal-Mart to meet up with the Motorman and 2nd Engineer.
We were back onboard just after 9 and at 10 o'clock SHELL stopped the loading. It will be stop until tomorrow morning and we expect to leave tomorrow night.
Good, I expect a full night's sleep.
Saturday 12th of April 2008 and we had not resumed loading when I came to the CCR at 8 o'clock. But the weather was beautiful and the crew was painting. They had cleared deck from all the blaster grits during the night so deck looks good again, but we need to wash down the deck after departure. And I hope they resume loading so we can get out of here soon.
By now I'm sick'n tired of sneaking around the docks of Houston and new views will be welcome. But it seems like I can't escape having the pilot onboard during my night watch. Thanks to the stop of the loading. We expected to be out of here in the afternoon but now it will be in the late evening, if they resume loading soon. Otherwise it will be in the middle of the night, again!
I spent the time checking the valve to the grit blaster and packing while waiting for them to resume loading. No more laundry for me. I have 3 computers to carry home and now I throw away my shirts instead of washing them. I have way too much in my bags.
I bought a new duffel bag at Wal-Mart yesterday. A big one and that's only for my new shoes, well, Captain and Chief Engineer going ashore buying cloths for me don't help. AND ALL MY SNUS! Even though I use more than 2 cans a day I really have to speed up my use of snus. Well, I have 5 or 6 more weeks until it's time to leave so I hope I will have finished all my cloths and most of the snus 'til then.
AT 1310 we resumed loading and they told us that it will take 7 to 8 hours to load the remaining gasoline. Well, we have about 73000 Bbls remaining and I think it's a wee bit difficult for them to work out that calculation. I'm sorry to say so, but I really think that math is too advanced for them. We expected to be ready yesterday evening.
- Maybe around 3 o'clock, Loading Master said.
At 2220 they stopped loading.
- We will resume 6 o'clock in the morning.
Well, at 1310 they started and it looks like we will be ready around 2100 and that means middle of the night action again. But I hope we have left at midnight.
Sunday 13th of April 2008 and I opened the door to the bridge just before nine, ready to relieve 3rd Officer. When I stepped in on the bridge I was gasping at the splendour of the day. Sunshine and blue sky, spring is in the air and to see the crew washing down the fo'c's'le improved my mood by several notches.
We got new brushes in Houston so now it's a pure joy to wash deck. Before we only had brooms for washing and well, it was good enough for the old deck. But now we upgrade the ship, item by item and she will soon be very good.
Sunday, yesterday we missed our Lördags Mys due to port stay, but things are arranged for our Lördags Mys to take place today and I guess we have to call it Söndags Mys instead.
After my watch it was time for the slop again. OK, I quick lunch and we could start discharging the slop. Today we managed to discharge 150m3 or something like that before we reached 999ppm.
I will give it a new try tomorrow morning again.
I was hoping that we could do the discharge without starting the IG, but I had to call our Electrician just before 1 o'clock for the IG. It didn't' take long before the IG was up and running and I could open to the cargo tanks, just to give a quick blast with IG during discharging. Otherwise we will suck air in to the tanks and we don't want any oxygen in the cargo tanks. No oxygen, no fire!
Our ODME in action
On the above pictures of our ODME you can see that our SLOP water contains 546ppm, 999 allowed. We're making 14,2 knots and we're pumping 250m3/h. You can also see that we are pumping 9,6 liter per nautical mile (1852m) and that a total of 37 liters of oil has been discharged over board.
The figures between the brackets 999 21 600 30 500 is the limits and if we reach this the overboard valve will close and the valve to the slop opens.
You can be sure that on Barcarolle we don't want brake any rules. OK, the slop is a pain in the behind. But really, if we can't discharge we can't and if they want to have the whole ship full slops is not my problem. It doesn't take much intelligence to imagine what the value would be on the ODME if you connect a fresh water hose to the sensor. You don't even need to connect any hose, just close the valve to the sampling sensor.
- ZIP, my friend, it will show ZIP and you can discharge slop scratching you ASS!
- Hmm, I wonder why M/T Panamanian Pride never have any SLOPs in her tanks when arriving to load port with freshly washed cargo tanks.
Well well, what do you say? At www.aladdin.st you're taking part of everything happening on a tanker. Excitements on a daily basis and we're paid for it!
Well, I was in my sofa watching a DVD when Chief Engineer called.
- We are sitting in the sun with snacks and cold drinks. Are you coming?
I was on deck in a jiff. A bottle of cold water and the snacks were finished before soon. We enjoyed the afternoon sun on deck and dinner was served on deck. Avocado with shrimps and steak. When they brought the deep fried camembert and cake it was time for me to leave.
I thought I had escaped the cake, but the darn thing came up on the bridge on my night watch. It was our Mess man coming up with half a cake and I sent it back.
- I don't want to see the darn thing again. Take it to Bosun and if he doesn't finish the cake it will be chipping in the ballast tanks!
Monday 14th of April 2008 and it was a gorgeous morning. We tried to discharge some SLOP before coming within 50 miles from shore, but no success. Some paper works and it was time to relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge.
I downloaded 9,5 hours of music from iTunes in Houston so I had the entertainment center on full blast on the bridge. Yesterday our Electrician was on the bridge working with our printer.
- Where did you get this music? Can I copy it? It very good!
After my watch I went for lunch and then it was time for some relaxing in my cabin. The crew is spray painting and I can hear the chipping machines. The crew is working hard and I can sit down relax in my cabin.
- Hmm, no one has said that we have a very good Chief Officer keeping deck nice for a long time now.
I think I will finish the DVD I started yesterday while they work on deck.
Well well, jag tror minsann att jag slummrade till lite på afternoonen. Looking out my window and the crew is still working hard. Thank God! Now they have finished chipping the area where they disturb me and now I can't hear them anymore. I hope we can finish starboard side of poop deck before my reliever sign on.
In the afternoon we dropped anchor in TUXPAN and the weather was beautiful. I hope we can continue grit blasting on poop deck tomorrow. Spray painting is ready, the crew did it in one pop. I expected
Back in April 2007
2 days for the spray painting, but they finished it in 1. But now the ship looks very nice and the crew is very excited and they really enjoy working on the deck. Now they can see the progress and everyone is happy.
OK, we remember last time I signed of Barcarolle. The crew worked 24/7 to get the starboard
side ready before I signed off in Beaumont. I almost had to step in wet paint when I left the ship. But back then it was nice to see the starboard side ready and the crew really wanted me to see it ready before leaving.
We were anchored when I came on my night watch and the OS on my watch was purging our cargo pumps. I called him on the radio:
- When you're ready prepare a hose, bucket with detergent and one of our new brushes on the fo'c's'le for the next watch. Then you can go watch a video.
- Can I start washing, it's very dirty on the fo'c's'le?
This is the spirit we're looking for. I don't know why, maybe it's because our deck looks so nice now and the crew want to keep it that way.
- Hmm, or can it be the new brushes we got in Houston. Pure joy to use them.
One thing is for sure, we haven't seen this spirit here since, well, never.
But it's fun when deck looks nice. But of course when deck is covered with a 2 inch layer of rust and all the drums and debris on deck makes the ship look like BT Kemi I understand that the crew finds it pointless to wash and keep it nice onboard.
And under the fo'c's'le, well, now we can play squash there. 13 months ago and you could hardly come down under the fo'c's'le due to all the scrap and ropes and, yes, it was full of SHIT.
Tuesday 15th of April 2008 and half the month is history already. Still anchored, beautiful weather and the crew were painting and grit blasting. What a good start of the day. Some paper work and I was on the bridge at 9 to relieve 3rd Officer. A GORGEOUS DAY! A bucket of tea and the music on full blast watching the crew working on deck. I was in a very good mood.
Our Chief Engineer asked if I could take pictures of some small o-rings that he got.
- I only get blurred pictures with the ships camera. But your camera is good so maybe you can get a good picture?
I got right on to the picture business after lunch and then it was just to wait for the drills we will have in the afternoon.
Still no news from PEMEX when we can expect to go to the buoy and start discharging. But I guess no one knows and our guess is as good as their guess.
The other day I discovered that someone had painted the end of the windlass yellow. My plan was to have it black and it turned out that it was our Bosun. OK, I let him have his artistic freedom and it looks nice. And it also shows that he cares about the ship and that he enjoys maintaining the ship.
Today I asked him to paint the winches on deck with yellow as well and he looked very happy when I asked him to do it. I show him my appreciation for his enthusiasm and his artistic creativity and he thinks it's fun and I can relax even more relaying on the crew, not only to work hard. But laughing while doing it.
Well, I'm out of here to take a few more “BEFORE AND AFTER” pictures before the drill
The crew have been kickin' behinds on deck
What the BIP is the story behind all those “BEFORE AND AFTER” pictures? Well, future references, can be nice to go back to see what we did in a few years from now.
I was in the CCR at 1515 waiting for the drill to start. I was alone.
- What the...!!?? They must be on the bridge, I thought and I left for the bridge and the whole crew was on the bridge.
We started with a SAFETY PLAN drill, 2 teams checking the SAFETY PLAN and then to find everything on deck. I was leading the deck and galley guys and 1st Engineer was leading the engine crew. Everything was according to plan and when we returned to the bridge it turned out that the deck team won the contest. Captain left for his office and a box of SNICKERS.
After the SNICKERS extravaganza we discussed garbage and the environment. We are allowed to throw food waste in the sea if we're more than 12 miles from shore. If we are between 3 and 12 miles from shore we are allowed to throw the food waste if it can pass through a mesh with 25mm holes.
- Who the BIP comes up with this stupid rules?
If we have a 27mm potato we cannot throw it in to the sea, but it's allowed to jettison a 25mm potato. Or as I said to the Pilot in Freeport.
- You are catching a fish with your fishing rod. You clean the fish and throw the head and guts back in to the sea and you will end up in jail. But you are allowed to pump oil and chemicals in to the sea.
I guess our 1st Engineer and I were just lucky in France. Imagine being decapitated for feeding the local animals. I have been throwing bread for birds in numerous ports and I guess I have been lucky so far. Pelle Batong coming around the corner with the blue light on.
Well, I took the opportunity to tell our Cook that from now on it's only fried rice and Pytt i Panna on the menu and we will never have any problem with the poop deck full of food waste again.
And thinking about it, pass a mesh with 25mm holes. I think I can get a 40mm potato through that hole. Either by dropping it from 4 meter or throw the darn potato through the mesh. I'm pretty sure it will come out on the other side. Where do they come up with all this crap?
The crew have been kickin' behinds on deck
OK, oil spill drill. Deck department went to have an emergency steering drill and I took the engine department for an oil spill drill. Our Bosun had prepared water on deck during the afternoon.
- Pretend this is oil!
Our Engine Cadet had to line up our oil spill pumps and we could see the pumps in action. We finished the drills at 1630 and I was off to my cabin and a diet drink.
Yeah, I gave up the diet drinks days ago. But Captain gave me 2 emergency cases and here I am with my diet drink enjoying the day and French Hip Hop on full blast.
- Yeah, I think that will be the theme for the night during my night watch on the bridge, French Hip Hop. And it will be on full blast!
My night watch was pretty uneventful, the wind picked up and the Lauritzen tanker left SPM #2. So I guess we will go to the buoy tomorrow. Really, it will be nice to get some action around here again.
Wednesday 16th of April 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. It was a beautiful morning and the crew prepared the grit blaster and our Deck Boy was painting pipes. We transferred SLOP from Port to Starboard so I used one OS for that. When we were ready the OS started to paint pipes as well.
The crew have been kickin' behinds on deck
Immigration and the Agent were onboard at 1025 and they informed us that the shore tanks were full, so maybe 2 - 3 days more at the anchorage. Well, I'm sure the crew will be busy chipping and painting. But tonight I will force that watches to watch video. Yesterday I told my watchman to go watch a video.
- NO! There is a little bit dirt on deck and I will wash deck.
- That's the spirit!
I spent the afternoon packing my bags. My desk top and monitor ended up in my big suitcase and there wasn't space for much more. I could hear the blaster machine while packing and if they keep this pace they will soon be ready with starboard side. We got 5 tons of grits last time in Houston and we use it 2 times. Sometimes we can use it 3 times. We chip before blasting so we save sand and time. But we will soon have to order more sand again. It's cheap with the sand, a few dollars. But it's the handling of the sand that's the problem. Last time we got 10 tons and now 5, that's a lot of sand to carry around. And all together, well, I don't know how much sand we have been using, but its many tons. But the guys are getting a good result.
Hydro blaster is quick, but the result.
Hmm, can as well skip it and watch a video. NO, if you want a good result there is only one option, grit blasting.
The crew is working hard
I was on my night watch went the watch man called on the radio:
-We have a very big fish on the poop deck!
A few minutes later our Engine Cadet came to the bridge asking if they could borrow my camera.
- Go ahead! It's in my cabin, I said.
7 minutes he came back with the camera. He thanked me for the camera and he was about to leave the bridge.
- Whoa whoa! Let's see what you got, I said.
- Why didn't you use the flash? I asked.
- We didn't know how to turn it on.
But it was a big fish, but when I came to my cabin after my watch to put the pictures on internet I could not open the pictures. Something wrong when trying to open them, but PRINT SCREEN and you can see the thumbnails. And as a bonus you can see the thumbnails from the grit blasting extravaganza as well.
Thursday 17th of April 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. This is what I expected, 2-3 more days anchored due to brimmed shore tanks. But when I was on my watch they called and informed us that Pilot would come onboard at 1130. 15 minutes later it was 1230. What to say?
We only come here once or twice a month and I can just imagine how it would be if you had to work here. You would have gone up the wall after a few days.
Well, it was gorgeous weather and the crew was chipping and blasting on poop deck, so there is progress. Of course we're interrupted by the sudden decision to take us to the buoy, but there is still hope that we will have starboard side ready before our relievers sign on in about 2 weeks.
- Well, hmm, or maybe 3 or so.
We had all fast at the buoy 1325 and we soon started gauging and sampling the tanks. While the Surveyor was on deck gauging and sampling our Loading Master and I listened to music and did the check lists.
Our Loading Master told me that PEMEX was building new ships and that there would soon only be Mexican ships coming to TUXPAN. I think it was 14 or 16 new tankers that would be delivered within the next 2 years. I asked about the PEMEX ship laying in Pajaritos.
- That's scrap, he said.
At 1500 we completed sampling and calculation and the Surveyors and Loading Master left. Now we have to wait for a few hours before they are ready with the samples in the laboratory. When the samples are cleared we can start discharging. This time they connected 2 hoses so maybe we will be ready in a jiff. At least this is what we hope for. According to a rumour our Loading Master had heard there was bad weather on the way and then we have to leave the buoy and go drop the anchor again.
TUXPAN, with the SPM and work boat. Tankers at anchor in the back
Waiting and waiting, I went to my cabin and I continued the book I started yesterday. 1730 and dinner time, not a word from PEMEX regarding commencing the discharging.
I was in my cabin waiting for the lab results when PEMEX wanted us to disconnect the cargo hoses. The weather turned bad during the evening, but we could stay at the buoy. Just needed to disconnect the hoses. But the weather turned worse and Pilot was ordered for 2200 and we had to leave for the anchorage.
It was our favorite Pilot coming again, but this time he hardly made it. the rough sea made the pilot cutter jump up and down. Rough sea, 4 meter, but this didn't stop our hero and he was onboard just after 11.
Friday 18th of April 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. A gorgeous morning and I expected the Pilot to board us any time when I relieved 3rd Officer on the bridge at 9 o'clock.
The crew is working hard, for what?
I went out on the bridge wing to see if I could hear the grit blaster. Well, first I made a bucket of tea, but then I went out on the bridge wing. I looked down at C deck and I discovered deck covered in something looking like blaster grits.
- What!!?? Are they grit blasting on C deck?
- NO! IT'S SOOT FOM THE ENGINE!
I was crying, all for nothing. The whole ship was black. Well, I have to put my best guys there with a hose and a brush. But the paint will never be the same again.
The water in the pool was black. Yes, it was black. Unbelievable and I was not in my best mood returning to the bridge and my tea.
Now we are 5 ships anchored at TUXPAN and the ship next to us was the one leaving SPM #2 yesterday when we left SBM #1 due to the bad weather. Now she is also waiting for better weather. I could hear on the radio that she will get her Pilot at 1130 and I just waited for them to call about our Pilot. No call, but after 30 minutes they called and told us that we will get our Pilot at 1300.
At 1130 it was blowing full force from North and we expected them to cancel the mooring operation and I had just finished my lunch when the PEMEX crew left us. They had been stuck onboard during the night. I don't know if it was due to the bad weather or if it was because no one bothered come pick them up.
It was a gloomy and grey afternoon and the crew was washing on deck. Plenty dust from the blaster grits and soot on the house.
During my night watch the wind decreased and there was a slight drizzle. Drizzle, no that's not good enough! I hope we get heavy rain during the night to fresh of deck.
We need it after a few days washing with sea water and deck is spotted white of salt. A killer for the paint work, but we must hose down deck every night due to plenty dust from the grit blasting on poop deck. Washing at least once a week and hosing down 2 times a week, otherwise she will soon look like a PanamaGreek again. And we don't want that. Well, I'm soon off and after that I really don't care, but until then. Well, yet another long day filled with hard work has come to an end and it's time to go to bed and continue with my book.
Saturday 19th of April 2008 and we were preparing the ship for leaving the anchorage when I relieved 3rd Officer on the bridge at 9. Pilot at 1030, well, he was onboard att 1118 and we had all fast at SPM #1 @ 1154. Start discharging 1315 and we expect to be out of here tomorrow afternoon, all goes well.
Sunday 20th of April 2008 and we were still discharging when I woke up. I hot shower and I was down for my Oatmeal Surprise®. I spent the morning in the CCR planning our 3rd Officers wedding. He is getting married and I will be in school in Manila at the time so I was invited.
- What about dress code? I asked.
- Up to you.
Well, lucky me. He isn't as picky as my LIFE COACH and we remembered how I had to get dressed to attend his wedding. Well, anyway, I will meet one of our ABs in Manila and I will ask him how he is going to be dressed. Maybe I should pack my latest Hip Hop stuff.
We remembered me going to the Hip Hop school where I expected to learn all about the latest Hip Hop fashion and cool stuff to say and do. Well, the school turned out to be a dance school.
I will never forget when I was waiting for the girl taking me to the Hip Hop school. She had asked if I wanted to join her in the Hip Hop school and we should meet outside at the train station. When she came she asked:
- Where is your stuff?
- What stuff?
- Your clothes!
Well, Hip Hop school was not what I expected it to be and I was glad that I didn't bring any clothes. Imagine Porky bouncing around on the gym floor, straight up embarrassing.
But it would have been nice if it was a real Hip Hop school. Sverige tjockaste Hip Hoppare or not, it would have been cool to have graduated from a Hip Hop school.
1350 finished with discharging, left the SPM at 1458 and tank cleaning ready at 1600. I was out of my shower and I read a few pages in my book before dinner and then it was pretty much time for my night watch.
Monday 21st of April 2008 and I don't know what I did with my alarm clock yesterday. But it went of way too early. Good, I had time for a long and hot shower, sit down relaxing with a diet drink before going to the mess room for my Oatmeal Surprise®.
I did a few papers in my office and before going to relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge I stopped by at the kitchen for a little something to eat on the bridge.
The BLINDFOLD DIET® didn't turn out to be quite the success I had expected it to be. Well, anyway, the BLINDFOLD DIET® is an old technique. The latest findings shows that the EMPTY CHAIR DIET is the most effective way of obtaining the V-shaped torso. So I decided to skip lunch and dinner. I thought that having a Oatmeal Surprise® on the bridge would keep me away from the mess room.
- Do you have a pack of chrispbread and oatmeal that I can bring to the bridge?
I took my ration and I left for the bridge.
- Don't expect to see me for lunch!
I was hiding in my cabin during the lunch and at 1 o'clock I was out to check out block and bleeder valves on the nitrogen line.
Our Bosun had spent the morning removing them while I was on the bridge wing hollering pointers and I don't know if it was because my pointers or not. Most likely not, well, definitely not. But anyway, the valves were ready for inspection after lunch.
1st Engineer and 1 of our Fitters
The block and bleeder valves looked like new, maybe because they were pretty new. I asked our Bosun to remove the non return valves as well. They turned out to be in the same good stat as the other valves. A little rust on the supports to the pipes to the valves. I went to engine work shop and I asked our 1st Engineer if we could borrow one of the Fitters for a few minutes.
- No problem!
Our Fitter had made 2 new supports by the time I was back on deck to inspect the non return valves. Well, this crew is ass kickin'. Deck crew is busy on poop deck grit blasting and chipping and I have one OS on tank deck to keep the rust away. I think that's the plan. To have one guy on deck taking all the rust spots when we discover them and hopefully tank deck will look nice for a long time.
Well, blasting of poop deck is in full swing and our once so white house is black of dust. But what can we do? The dust is all over the ship and it will be nice when it's ready. Then it's just to wash down the ship and it will look good. Talking about looking good, I'm off to my shower so I look good when relieving 3rd Office on the bridge at 8. 4 hours of night watch with tea and good music.
I will not do the same mistake as I did this morning when I relieved our 3rd Officer on the bridge. I came to the bridge and I realized that I had forgotten my Hip Hop Generator®.
I was too lazy to go back to my cabin to get my Hip Hop Generator®.
- I hope there is some good music on the bridge, I thought.
MOTHERF@CKER! How is it possible? There is 2 GB of MP3 player and hundreds of CDs. We're talking thousands of songs and exactly ZIP. Yes, ZIP good music. I was about to jump overboard when 2nd Officer came to relieve me at 12.
A full watch without music just because I was too lazy to go get my Hip Hop Generator®. But I compensated for the loss during my night watch. Swedish Hip Hop on full blast and several buckets of tea. So I guess it will be hard to sleep when I'm of my watch at midnight.
We approached the safety fairway to Houston/ Galveston and Sabine and there were millions of ship approaching and leaving.
- Good, the time will turn quick, I thought while cranking up the music a notch and pouring a new bucket of tea.
STOLT AMI was approaching the safety fairway together with us and she was calling all the ship on the VHF. Green to green, red to red and there was no end to it.
- What an embarrassment to the shipping in the area, I thought while cranking up the music 2 more notches. A new bucket of tea and I was relaxing while enjoying the night.
At 10 o'clock I changed course to NW and we entered the fairway. Well, we were a wee bit outside the fairway due to STOLT AMI. Strange, she is the slowest vessel around and she have to stay in the middle of the fairway.
Tuesday 22nd of April 2008 and we were anchored at Sabine anchorage when I woke up. I discovered dense fog when I had my GOOD MORNING look out my window.
- No blasting, but we can continue the chipping of poop deck.
Our Bosun kept himself busy with the non return valves to the IG line. Yesterday we inspected all the N2 valves and our Bosun had the IG non return valves ready for inspection at lunch.
Traffic had been suspended in the ship channel during the night due to dense fog. So we have to wait for outbound traffic before we can get our Pilot and enter the ship channel to Beaumont. So we will spend the afternoon here at the anchorage and that turned out to be good. We're loading gasoline in Beaumont and last cargo we had was gasoline, tank cleaning? Of course!
We received orders to do tank cleaning and we were lucky to be anchored and not half way up the ship channel with mud water. Well, I will start after lunch with the cleaning, very important to get rid of the few litres of gasoline in the tanks before loading gasoline. It's better the gasoline ends up in the ocean instead of in the cars.
While doing the cleaning I could not help thinking about the big turtle I saw this morning. Before going to the bridge relieving 3rd Officer I was on poop deck to give a few pointers to the crew. First I thought it was a big plastic bag, but then I saw it was a giant sea turtle coming up for air and he disappeared down in the deep after 3 seconds. Lucky for him he didn't surface in an oil slick.
The afternoon was sunny and dry so the crew could continue painting on poop deck. After the tank cleaning we got updated berthing prospects, Pilot at 22 - 2300, weather permitted.
Changed plans, I was on poop deck with Bosun. It was around 1600 when they called from the bridge.
- Pilot at 1830!
- DARN! I have to spend my whole night watch with the pilot on the bridge!
I started a movie after dinner, but I gave up after 30 minutes and I checked my email. Uploaded the latest excitements to the web and I was ready just in time to relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge. He had a nice surprise for me.
- We arrive to the anchorage around 2230.
- Good, I don't have to spend the whole watch with the Pilot, I said.
I had expected the whole watch steaming up the river with the Pilot on the bridge. So I got in instant good mood, 90 minutes is a very long time standing on the bridge with the Pilot so the early arrival was good news. Captain told me that the ship American Explorer, or something like that was just behind us.
She will load at EXXON and we will have her jetty when she is ready. I hope we get several days with nice weather at the anchorage so we can finish starboard side of poop deck. The grit blasting is almost done. We will get our AB onboard tomorrow at the anchorage so I'm sure we will haul arse now when we are full force on deck again.
Yeah-yeah Blah-blah, I had time for two buckets of tea and I went forward just after 2200. We made fast the tug boat and we entered the anchorage, a small trench. First we dropped, no , we walked out the anchor chain. We only use one shackle so if we drop the anchor we will not be able to see the shackle. I was back on the bridge 15 minutes after 11 and I started to discharge ballast, two bunker barges arrives tomorrow so we need to discharge some ballast. Or as I said to 2nd Officer when he asked if the bunker barges would arrive during the night.
- No, but we're using the ONE STEP AHEAD technique here!
Well, on the way to Mexico last time my friend sent me an e-mail and he told me that Rögle was back in the top series. I was happy, but I needed to get confirmation from a more reliable source. Well, the information was right and my mood improved just before bed time.
Wednesday 23rd of April 2008 and I discovered the bunker barge next to us when I had my GOOD MORNING look out my window. They are bunkering heavy fuel oil and the diesel oil barge will come in the afternoon.
I took a shower and I went to the mess room for my Oatmeal Surprise® before going on deck to check out the action.
Well, no surprises in the deck department. The crew was busy with the grit blaster and I was happy for the nice weather. Sunshine and dry, no fog with deck all damp so it's impossible to paint. No today it was all dry and I hope we get the same weather the remaining days at anchor.
After my tour on deck I went to my office for some paper work. Oil record book, preparing VEF, Tank cleaning statement, 10 last cargoes and stuff. Before I knew it I had spent 3 minutes at my desk and it was time to go relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge.
I was all sweaty after all the paper work so I stopped in my cabin for a diet drink on my way to the bridge. When I stepped in on the bridge the beauty of the day hit me full force. Excellent weather and, OK, I had my camera with me just in case there would be a crocodile swimming by.
But when I discovered the gorgeous day I was sure to see at least one croc. Well, I came up with ZIP even though I was running around on the bridge with the binoculars scouting the marsh around us. Well, maybe tomorrow. Latest news is that we are going inside 25th of April and if I know EXXON right this can as well mean 26 or 29. We see!
Well, anyway, Captain told me that we will get paint delivered to us by barge tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.
- We will get the 200 litres Bolero rejected. FOR FREE!
Great, 200 litres of paint is expensive and we can use it on deck as the 5th coat.
Over 4 coats of primer and under the last FLEXI coat.
So I summoned an EXTRA SPECIAL meeting on the bridge with the crew before lunch.
Before calling them I made a new paint scheme on the computer. We still have about 200 litres of Penguard MIO EXPRESS and I will finish this paint and we will start to use Jostamatic instead.
I told them the good news about the 200 litres of rejected blue paint from Bolero.
- We will use this as the first top coat and then we use the FLEXI as last top coat!
The paint is for free and that's not the only advantage to the blue paint. When we paint first coat of FLEXI we have to mix it a little just to get a different shade. Otherwise it's very hard to see where we have painted first coat. With blue top coat we don't have that problem.
Our new AB came onboard after lunch and now we are full crew on deck again and we expect plenty action. If we stay anchored for a few more days it will soon be time to spray paint starboard side of poop deck and A-deck on the super structure.
I spent the afternoon on internet and it's soon time to go relieve 3rd Officer on the bridge again.
And you just hang on there for more adventures tomorrow.
Thursday 24th of April 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. Launching of the life boat in the morning so we don't have to do this for another, well, I will not be onboard next time the launch the boat so what do I care.
Looks like we will go to Exxon tomorrow afternoon so I hope our stores and paint will be delivered tomorrow morning. Fresh water will arrive with barge around 2200 tonight and we're set to go again. Now it's getting a wee bit tedious laying around here doing nothing.
Friday 25th of April 2008 and I woke up to a beautiful day. Grit blasting was in full swing on poop deck. Well, along with the chipping and blasting there are new welding jobs for our Fitters.
I ran in to Captain on poop deck and he pointed at a crocodile a few hundred meters way.
- He was just here for a snack, he said.
Yesterday after dinner we had a crocodile at the ship side eating sandwiches and other stuff the crew threw at it.
- Hmm, maybe I'm not allowed to say this. Remember that we are not allowed to throw food in the sea.
Well, our stores should arrive around 3 to 4 o'clock and it looks like we will go alongside between 7 and 8 o'clock tonight. But we know how good they are to keep track of time and planning around here, so we never know.
Lo and behold, our stores arrived at 1500 and it looks like the Pilot will be onboard at 1930. Everything seems to go as planned. Well, except the 200 litres of blue paint, it turned out to be 200 litres of Hardener and no paint. What the BIP are we going to do with 200 litres of hardener? Well, we will have to burn it in the incinerator.
We had all fast at EXXON 2123 and Loading Master was onboard at 2125 to inform me that loading would most likely start at 0600 tomorrow, maybe later.
Saturday 26th of April 2008 and they called me at 6 o'clock.
- The Surveyor is onboard!
- OK! I'm coming! Dip the tanks with the Surveyor while I take a hot shower.
They were ready with the tank inspection at 0730 and I expected us to start kick ass. But when I asked the Surveyor if he wanted tea or a soft drink (remember we have a fridge in my office now) or something else to drink he told me that he was leaving.
He had arrived to EXXON just to discover that they were not ready to start loading us. The original plan was for us to start loading at 0600 and they would have flushed the lines during the night.
- When I came down here BIP all had been done during the night. I will go home and I will be back when we will start.
He told me that EXXON thought they would be ready to start in 2 hours.
- HEY! When they say 5 minutes it's 5 minutes'. 2 hours can be a full day, I said when he left.
I was back in bed at 8 and at 11 they called again.
- Immigration onboard!
How many of you remember the drama on Jamaica with the seized shaft to one of our auxiliary engines. We had 4 extra technicians onboard to dismantling the engine and we sent the ashore the shaft in Houston. We got a new shaft with the stores yesterday and today it was time to lift it down to the engine room.
The shaft is almost 3 tons so it's not easy to handle, but with this crew noting is impossible.
Bosun in the crane
Well, I did my immigration business in 17 seconds and when I was finish I found out that EXXON was not yet ready to start loading.
It was 1500 before we could detect any action on the jetty. EXXON's crew started to prepare for connecting the cargo hose.
- We will start loading in 30 minutes.
15 minutes later they gave up. Their crane was leaking and they had to call a Technician, Saturday afternoon and this can take time. Well well, we will see what's happening.
Deck crew went ashore after dinner, Wal-Mart again. Our Engineers was on the way ashore as well, but the driver was busy so they had to stay onboard. I guess they are saving money and Wal-Mart is not that exciting.
I was planning to go ashore during the day, but I have to stay onboard until the loading is up and running, so maybe tomorrow.
I was giving up Diet Drink so I asked Captain not to order any but, well, I got second thoughts and I gave the crew 50 US when they left for Wal-Mart. The returned with a bus brimmed with Diet Drinks so now I think I have enough until it's time to sign off.
But as I use to say, we see. I think we will have a reason to come back with updated news about the Diet Drinks. But as it looks now I will have enough to last me until I go home.
After a full day with waiting it was finally time to start loading, I was in the CCR at 22 something and after more delays we finally started to load at 2350 and I could return to my cabin. I will read a little in my book before going to bed.
- Hmm, I read my book in the bed so it's more like I will read before I fall asleep.
Sunday 27th of April 2008 and I woke up to a gloomy and grey day. When we arrived Friday night the Surveyor told us that heavy rain was expected during the night. But not a drop. When we went ashore in the afternoon the driver told us that heavy rain was to be expected during the evening, but ZIP.
We went ashore after lunch for some shopping. Among other important things to buy was a guitar and a piano for the crew. Our driver asked if we wanted to go to the mall in Beaumont or at Nederland. We had never been at Nederland before so this became our choice, bad move. No guitar or piano, but I found 3 DVD movies. But no cordless speakers for my office.
Well, we have to buy the instrument next time. It's always nice with live music and I remember Stolt Excellence. There was a small stage in the crew's day room and there was always something happening in the dayroom. Always someone in the crew that can play something.
We were back onboard at 6 o'clock and with this loading rate we will be ready 8 o'clock in the morning. Great improvement, when we left the ship we looked at 0430 and in the middle of the night work again.
Monday 28th of April 2008 and they called me 0500 and we completed loading D-GRADE at 0535.
- We will start B-GRADE in 1 hour, the Loading Master informed me on the radio.
At 7 o'clock we started the second and last parcel and 500 cubic meters per hour was for sure no impressive rate. But it was a good rate, ETD 8 o'clock in the morning. So I expected a full night's sleep. But we never knows what happening around here.
In the afternoon we received news about our next jetty. The jetty is occupied until 30th in the morning and we have to see if they can find an anchorage for us. Well, that will be tomorrow's problem. Now I'm more concerned about the loading rate. During the afternoon EXXON cranked up the rate by a notch and now we're loading with the impressing rate of 600m3/h. And it looks like we will be ready 5 o'clock in the morning.
Tuesday 29th of April 2008 and I woke up just after 1 o'clock in the afternoon. Well, I got to bed at 5 in the morning, they had brought up the loading rate yesterday evening and we completed loading at 0220.
Gauging, calculation and paper work and it was 5 before I came to bed so I needed some sleep.
Our Pilot came onboard at 1355 so it was pretty much to go straight to the bridge after my shower. But I had time to arrange the samples before going to the bridge. We left the jetty at 1415 and we passed M/T Ajax, discharging at the jetty ahead of us.
Well, I can't say anything about the crew getting food or their salaries on that ship. But I always get suspicious when I see all the signs on how nice everything works on the ship. The more signs they have the worse it tends to be. But this was a new one: TRUST, TRADITION and TEAMWORK. Where do they come up with all this bullshit? And the red stripe around the superstructure.
And while passing the ship with TRUST, TRADITION and TEAMWORK written all over the superstructure I couldn't help thinking about the other day. I was reading the Svensk Sjöfarts Tidning, the editorial and now we must remember that this magazine is published by the Swedish Ship Owners Association. They were complaining over the lack of attention from the mass media.
- Hmm, well, I don't know about that.
I know a Swedish shipping company spent millions when christening their new ship. The ship was moored in the middle of Stockholm and the Swedish king was there to show up his wife, artists and fireworks. Hell, they must have spent millions only on the Polar bear painted on the side.
My friend signed on the ship just to discover that there wasn't even the simplest radio in his cabin. They can't find crew for the ships. Especially this company had very big problem finding crew even when they spent millions to have the king show up and fancy boiler suits with polar bears on the back. According to the Editor in the Svensk Sjöfarts Tidning the problem was partly due to the lack of attention from the media.
- If no one knows about the shipping of course no one wants to work in the shipping.
But they came up with a clever solution. If the crew work without holiday we can solve several
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.
• Not so much crew needed (This one is obvious)
• New Officers will be Captains very quick. (This one was meant to give strong attraction to the above idea)
Well, I was surprised, increase of salary is never mentioned as a solution. I must put the letter from Trade Winds here again. Well, no radio in the cabin or is it the lack of media coverage that's the reason for the crewing problem? I will be surprised if they ever solve the problem with ideas like this.
I knew plenty people that wants' to start work on a ship, but they want to get paid. The companies don't want Swedish crew because they are expensive and they complain when they can't find crew wanting to work for free.
They build fancy and expensive ships. I mean, in Sweden (Swedish flagged ships) it's the state of the art, edge breaking technology and they want to put crew from countries where electricity is unknown for most of the population. Of course, I understand that they want crew working for as little as possible.
And now you can read more and more reports on how the crew shortage leads to accidents and substandard performance. Well, I'm a case in point: I'm substandard according to Laurin's standard and they have to keep me for 10 months even though I have delivered such an amateurish and unsatisfactory performance.
Wednesday 30th of April 2008 and we were still anchored when I woke up. Pilot was changed from early morning to 12 o'clock and when I was in Captain's office they changed it to 1230.
It was a beautiful day and the crew was painting and chipping while waiting for the Pilot and I expect one more day of grit blasting on poop deck and starboard side is ready.
We had all fast at CHEVRON at 1400 and the Surveyor, the same as we had on EXXON, started to ask about my music. As always it was blasting high at my office.
- Is this from a web page?
- No, I ripped my old CDs, I told him.
- You know, I told my wife about your music today, he said.
Every time the Surveyor is onboard he asks about my music and where I found it. So I asked if he had a hard drive with him.
- No, and I forgot my computer.
- Can we burn it to disc? He asked.
Well, not a good idea. Its 32GB and it will take ages to burn this to CDs. But he will bring his computer when we finish loading and I told him that I would copy the music for him.
Well, the house music was blasting high while we prepared for loading and at 1635 we started to load the MTBE. Expected to be ready around 4 o'clock in the morning. Surprised? Not really, middle of the night action every night. And this time I have a visitor to take care of. We have a representative from PEMEX onboard. He is working for PEMEX in New Mexico and he will be onboard until TUXPAN to study the life on a ship.
- I call you 10-15 minutes before we're ready with the loading, I told him before going to my cabin trying to sleep.
I was lucky again and I felt asleep after dinner and I woke up at midnight. Now it's just to find something to do while killing 4 hours before going to the CCR to complete the loading.
April had finally came to an end and next update will be in May when we're back from Mexico. Until then, have a nice life!
And HEY! Before swinging over to May take a few moments to enjoy the picture of the thing that April 2008 will be remembered for in decades.
The month when Rögle advanced to be a premier league team.
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.
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.
So I put a “Next” button here and I hope that there isn't any problem to understand how to use that one. So just CLICK the “Next” button on your left hand side and you will be on the next page in a jiff!
Marunong ka mag-tagalog? Walang problema! Magpunta sa kabilang pahina pindutin ang “NEXT” button sa itaas
Faites vous parlez le français? Pas de problème! Pour arriver à la page suivante faites s'il vous plaît un déclic le bouton “Next” ci-dessus!
Haga usted dice el español? Ver la siguiente página sólo hacer clic el botón “Next” encima!
Farla parla l'italiano? Non problemi! Per vedere la prossima pagina lo scatto per favore giusto Il bottone “Next” sopra
Sprechen sie Deutsch! Kein problem! Wenn Sie die folgende Seite sehen wollen gerade klicken der Knopf “Next” oben!