Thursday, December 4, 2008


Well, I was gonna bitch about something but then I saw this.


You, know, my own proposal to the Mrs. had some similarities, but I staged the whole thing above the high-tide line. Plus One point for me... Dinner for two, afterwards, as well.
Anyhow, the above story kind of smacks of Mail Order Bride Issues, a subject which I find hilarious, in my shameful way. Just in case it's legit though, I'll not say more.


Well, I got some nice emails and message responses to my last entry, which makes me think that I'm not alone out here in my feeling all back-of-the-bus for being denied shore access in my home country. True story: about an hour ago, we were tying up here on the Mississippi. The dock guy asks if we are sending his linehandlers wire or soft rope mooring lines. My watch officer tells the guy it's all rope on this ship. The dock guy (More on him later) says "Oh, good. I like this ship already. Rope is easier." His linehandlers are suddenly cheerful and chatty amongst each other... admittedly, the soft rope lines we use are a LOT easier to handle than heavy wire rope.

Yours truly sees the smiles, but over the heads of said linehandlers, only 100 yards away, he also sees traffic driving down the levee public road, right through the refinery complex.
So, with freedom a 45-second walk but a million miles away, I am feeling shifty, and my wiseass reflex is hitting 4th gear. I say something about our being restricted to the ship. Ain't gonna be repeated here, but it was crude and funny and on point without being offensive, and made everyone in earshot (on board)guffaw. The dock guy? Oh, man, wiped that smile right off of his face.

Now, I'm telling you this trite and smarmy story for a reason. The last time I was here, we had a local on board, guy with a new baby. He was told, by this same asshat: "Ain't no damn see-man stepping one foot on MY dock."

Moral of the story: we all have to enforce bad policy sometimes, but if anyone's going to be a total dick about it, I'm going to mess with them.


Also, in response to the messages left vis a vis the last entry:

I feel that there is little I can do to protest the No Shore Leave policy of some refineries. Legally, they're in the wrong, as signatories to the ISPS code, which is actually part of a larger convention put in place through an international treaty. There isn't enough wiggle room for a snake to pass gas in the applicable passages (which I looked through and saved on my last laptop, R.I.P.). Now, I spent tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of torture in discussing international maritime treaties in grad school. I can get at the meat of a convention, and find expert opinion rather quickly... but there isn't anyone so annoyed or affected by the lack of shore access as to bring suit to the dicks who are holding the doors shut.

Now, the suggestions I have received: Bringing up the gangway and denying access TO the ship, citing 'security concerns' : Funny, would feel good, too, but ultimately unfair to my employers, who would then be responsible for demurrage and costs relating to the charter party agreement... So that's out.

The US Coast Guard can't do anything in a competant fashion beyond saving lives these days. They've made a complete disaster out of almost everything they touch. Their response to violations of the ISPS code is limited to sending letters quoting marginally relevant passages of the ISPS code. Not much more they can do, really.
My union has been threatening to send more strongly worded letters protesting unfair treatment contrary to the spirit and language inclusive in the ISPS code. Unfortunately, this is like setting a toothless dog on a door-to-door solicitor: no bite.
In general, getting anyone to give a fuck is the main problem. It's an annoyance at most to the movers and shakers. To the little guy, it's another impediment, another nail in the coffin that contains our quality of life, and a classic example of why every generation born in the upper middle class places less and less value on the seagoing way of life.

Ah well.


Bill Elms said...

Whoa...they had been dating on-line since 05 and she just got to the US now? Man that sucks...he was 45 and she was a 4 foot 11 95 pound 22 year old. Yeah, that just screams true love. Man am I a cynical bastard.

Rich said...

The Coast Guard issued a memo a month or so ago addressing shore access at terminals. Legally, as you stated, they are required to provide access to those of us who have benefited Lockheed-Martin and gotten our TWIC cards (as well as other reasonable forms of identification). definitely an ongoing problem.