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.