Thursday, January 8, 2015

Renew, review

So, after just 36 hours on board, I left HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/prison barge and took a train to Philadelphia to attend a company-mandated Tankerman PIC refresher class. I did NOT do this with enthusiasm, as I am an active professional who oversees somewhere around 10-20 cargo transfers a week for 38+ weeks a year. Hell, I don't need a review, right? This is how I make my living, after all.

 Well, it turned out to be a good thing. I was mildly ashamed of how tentative my knowledge of legal matters could be, when it came to the laws that don't impact my day-to-day operations. Same with some health and safety procedures. The same strident censure I have handed out by the bucket in regards to how complaisance kills should have probably come with a mirror for me to look into sometimes. I missed some stuff, and was rusty on others. For the most part, I'm on my game, but we're not talking about esoterica. Things that I should have known in the back of my mind (safety factors related to half vs. full-face masks, for example), rather than needing to reach for a reference were identified. All in all, it helped me quite a bit, and was a pleasant reminder of the stakes that are at play in the course of my average day.

 So, yeah. I'm glad I was there. Aside from the class, there was also the opportunity to network, touch base with folks with whom I have a decent phone relationship but have either never or rarely met in person... stuff like that.

 I also got to see that most of the other PIC's in the class were evaluees or new tankerman. My company is in the middle of a massive expansion, much like the one that saw me hired 6 years ago, and there was an ominous warning that those of us who weren't utter fuckups (which I assume, but can't confirm includes myself) were going to be mentoring some new hires here and there, something I look forward to with the same relish I usually reserve for colonoscopies or dysentery. So it goes.
       I returned to NY last night, and crawled into the bunk. Between the anxiety of starting another tour, travel, sleeping in a hotel in a bad neighborhood (about 20 police cruisers showed up at 0200 at my motel to break up a fistfight in the parking lot, then stayed and blasted their radios and blue strobes until about 5)... well, not much sleep these past few days.

     I was looking forward to some sleep yesterday afternoon, but it was not to be. Swells, blowing winds, insane cold weather and some noisy-ass visiting engineers from a chemical ship saw me with a nice rest, but little sleep. I'll hopefully fix that this morning after 0800.

 For now though, it's 5 degrees outside. That sucks.


Rob said...


Paul, Dammit! said...


Anonymous said...

Gotta love continuing education.

Hey, any thoughts on this:

Want to combat high-seas piracy? Go to the iTunes store.
Andy Medici, Staff Writer 12:31 p.m. EST January 8, 2015
(Photo: NGA)
Worried about hijackings, piracy and kidnappings on the high seas? There's an app for that.

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has released its first mobile app, the Anti-Shipping Activity Message, on iTunes, in order to help ship crews guard against hostile acts around the world.

"We are providing a modern solution to an age-old issue – piracy," said NGA Director Robert Cardillo. "By making ASAM available on commercial app stores, we've truly embraced the idea of getting our geospatial intelligence GEOINT into the hands of our customers.

The app can be downloaded and used offline as well, and the database of recent hostile maritime acts that powers the app, as well as the app software code, is available to the general public. The application was made in collaboration with consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton.

The agency is also exploring ways to enhance the app in order to help sailors identify risk as well as ways to keep pirates from accessing the same tools and databas