The training continues. Apparently, since I appear to be on the way to becoming a brown-water sailor for the time being, my employer feels that I would be best served in being a more versatile tankerman, and, thus, I am currently planted on a bunker barge.
For those of you who aren't in the know, a bunker barge carries black, smelly oil destined for use as fuel for ship engines. Bunker-C, the classic dirty fuel oil, isn't used so much anymore, but we load up with slightly cleaner variants and run up alongside ships at anchor, and then load 'em up.
There have been...adjustments to be made. First off, the living conditions are substantially more tight than they were on my last barge. The fact that I'm the 3rd man on a barge built to house two guys doesn't help. Also, we're all gorillas, so there's no getting by without brushing shoulders or whatever.
So far, I find black oil work pretty disconcerting. It's dirty, for one. My two-years-old foul weather gear got zebra-striped in the course of one 4-hour discharge, and now smells... well, like ass. Bunker fuels smell like sour crude oil, which has a distinctive stink.
Anyhow, the guys are cool. That's the important thing.