I can NOT abide people being rude to me when I haven't earned it. It's my Achille's Heel. Someone gets rude to me, I tend to one up them, and that's a character flaw. I should be de-escalating at all times, but rudeness puts me into the red. This has caused ill-will here and there, as there are a few assholes in my company who aren't bad boathandlers, and my employer values results more than smiles. Shipping is a business where people with no social skills can excel, despite being hated by everyone they meet. So it goes. My employer has a startlingly high percentage of nice folks on their afloat staff. A few grumps, a few excitable guys with tempers, the odd 'sperg with a license, whatever. No problem. Confrontational folks don't seem to stay long in our New York fleet in particular, and for that I am thankful.
It's 8 damn degrees out, and that's before the wind chill. It was blowing 50 when I woke up, which didn't help. If I can manage to be polite and pleasant despite that, I'm doing pretty well.
A little rudeness happened today, which inspired me to write this.
Far be it from me to slut-shame the ignorant, but there is nothing, NOTHING I love more than being accused of being a liar and a thief.
I've mentioned it before, but other countries are famous for trying to gouge shipowners for fuel oil. Places like Singapore are famous for their art. People that had to be forced to learn to use toilet paper at gunpoint a hundred years ago get quite creative when it comes to robbing others blind.
Take "Cappuccino" bunkers. You take a ship's fuel oil, and aerate it heavily prior to transfer. Heavy Fuel Oils like RMG-380 (a type of #6 oil, about the consistency of cold maple syrup when you heat the shit out of it to make it flow easier) take hours to offgas when there are bubbles in it. So, in Singapore, companies sometimes aerate bunker fuel to rob the receiver of a few tons of fuel in the process. The air bubbles make the tank appear more full than it actually is.
We don't do that shit here. First off, I do not own the fuel. I am the charioteer only. Second, where in the name of Jerry Garcia's rectum would I put a couple of tons of fuel oil that doesn't flow when cold, and smells like a mass grave? (No shit, 6 oil smells like matches and burnt hair). Even if I was a thief, and wanted to resell the oil, who would I sell it to? This isn't Haiti, where no one notices if you're selling oil on the side of the road.
At any rate, it being home heating oil season in New York, we're getting a lot of tankers than normally only trade in eastern Europe or the far east, visiting for the first time... and it's annoying as shit, because the crews are fucking retarded and unprofessional.
Plus, you know, they're assuming that since they're fucking thieves and criminals, that I am too.
So in the last 24 hours, we've fueled 3 ships. The engineer on the first one wanted me to cut their order 20 tons shy but mark it as fully transferred, and we'd split the value of the other 20 tons 50/50... so he was trying to rob his employer. The other two ships accused me of cutting them short and trying to screw them, which is a pretty common tactic outside the civilized world. I am polite as I can be under the circumstances. The second ship, I just say "no, sir, you got all the oil. This isn't Singapore, we don't lie or steal, because then you won't buy oil from us again next time." When I get pushback, I just say. "No, I'm confident you DID get all your oil. You gauged my tanks with me. Please document any differences, and I will sign a Letter of Protest, and it can get worked out by our lawyers."
The third ship, this morning, however, pushed back my pushback, at which point I wasn't as polite. I gave the usual "This isn't Singapore" spiel (The ship was Singapore-homeported), but the guy didn't budge. I requested documentation and a Letter of Protest from the ship. He refused, saying it was too much trouble for his Chief Engineer, who was much too busy. So, dispensing with diplomacy, I said "OK, pal, you say I shorted you. I asked you to document that, so that everyone is satisfied, and you're refusing. You're still sitting here, complaining, and you're calling me a thief and a liar, and no one calls me a thief and a liar on my own fucking boat."
Well, the guy backpedaled, saving face, and I let that happen. They might be back, and I think he learned a lesson about trying to pull shit when he's here.
Fast and Furious II
33 minutes ago