Our Father, who art in Heaven, thank you for inspiring me not to strangle the ever living shit out of the retarded gauger who came aboard this morning. Amen.
First off, I woke up kinda shittily. There's a light swell here, and it's making the hawsers scream, so part of my mind, while I was sleeping, was gauging the strain on the lines. Strange that I can do that, but I can, and it's not super-restful, but better than a stick in the eye.
Second, we were 4 hours late in finishing a cargo load, because the terminal we were loading at is full of 100-year old proud union members who do their utmost to pass any work off to the next watch, whether watch change is 30 minutes away or 6 hours away, they'll go to great lengths to sit around and complain on the radio while not working, which is great fun when you're screaming for them to shut down the flow of oil, but the radio won't transmit because they're arguing passionately about getting subs or burgers for lunch.
The real shit frosting on this turd cake was the gauger.
When you load oil, often the charterer, receiver, or your own interest will behoove someone to hire an inspector to gauge the volume. An inspector is a 3rd party who witnesses and prepares reports based on he and one of the crew going around and physically measuring the volume of oil in the tanks. This provides and official, documented measurement of the volume on board.
Except today, the charterer's chosen inspection company sent the fucking B squad.
I had just rolled out of the bunk, and grumpily gotten my shit together, and was sitting outside when the inspector starts rattling away. I semi-impolitely said that I had just woken up, and don't talk much when groggy, and wasn't on watch yet... you know, sort of politely asking the man to voluntarily fuck off. He missed that cue, I guess, so I walked back inside.
When I was awake, and on watch a little later, having finished loading, finally, the gauger went to great pains to tell me that we did not load the proper volume of cargo. This is day 1 stuff. Once I confirmed that I had, in fact, loaded the proper volume, I went over the series of calculations that his computer carried out, and compared numbers. His numbers matched mine, yet he insisted that we loaded the wrong volume. Long story short, as he sat there chewing his cud, looking stupid on a professional basis, I realized that the guy had no fucking idea what he was doing. OK, I'm mildly sympathetic, he's a fill-in... but he's an official representative, and ultimately failing to sway him that he was making a mistake somewhere, my patience wore thin, and I suggested that if he couldn't figure out how to do his job, then I needed to get someone else who could.
I've made calculation errors before. I understand it happens. Computers are utilitarian. Put in a bad number, you get bad results... but what you don't get, normally, is someone who is paid to be a legal representative who has no fucking idea how to do what he's being paid to do, and further, who has no interest in figuring out where he's fucking up.
So that was fun. After I regained a little patience, we eventually resolved the issue. I was correct in figuring out where he made a mistake. No problem, really, except for lost time and a little ill-will.
And then he hands me a Letter of Protest.
A Letter of Protest happens when there's a dispute between the parties involved in a ship's charter. Whether it's cargo, damage claim, whatever, a Letter of Protest is how you document your take on what happened, and your understanding of the facts. It's a tool for documenting dispute... and the guy who is MY hired representative to document how much oil we've loaded, is documenting a dispute with his own customer. This was a first for everyone. When I called my own shoreside contact to ask for advice and see if, fact, this was the Rapture (which is only slightly less likely than a self-inflicted Letter of Protest), the ultra-polite person who I was speaking to said only "Well, that's retarded."
So I accepted his insane letter. I just want the fucking guy gone, and not to come back. I saved his bacon, in finding and fixing his fuckup despite his best efforts, and was rewarded with a Letter of Protest over a point of minutia. We parted on polite terms. The most harsh thing I said was "I can't say that you represented the charterer's interest here. Bye. "
At any rate, this has been my morning so far. On the upside, I'm pretty sure it will get better from here, and this drives home the idea that I really belong out here. I can't abide willful incompetence. When it takes more effort to continue to be wrong, as opposed to finding a way forward, I get apoplectic. It's a nice, sunny day, and I suppose I shouldn't let little shit become the screen door on my submarine.