So, today wasn't a great day here on HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/ home for failed male escorts.
Just another job- a larger cargo, and problems with our ship- they were slow, mind-numbingly slow, achingly slow. A job that should have been done in 9 1/2 hours stretched out into 13+.
And it's always that way with ships belonging to this particular container ship line. They must put their people through hell, or hire assholes, or both, from what I have experienced.
So at the end of today's job, the ship sent a junior engineer and a motorman down to me to take closing gauges- ships are supposed to come aboard and witness us measure the level of cargo in each of our tanks. Only about 1% of ships take closing gauges, though. Most take opening gauges only. So be it, they're actually carrying out due diligence, which is cool by me, except by this point I just have NO patience left, so I'm merely being polite and did ask them to be quick, as we were already delayed hours on end.
So I'm walking in already in a bit of a brown study, but I'm not going to be rude about it, it's not the fault of junior crew, after all.
The young engineer has good english, with a strong obvious French accent, and is a happy, likeable little guy. He had that gift that some people have, the ability to share a sunny disposition, and while we were gauging out the tanks, we started chatting away, banal stuff, but I felt my mood lift. What the hell, we were almost done anyhow. It's unusual to have French mariners to deal with for me, and it's really unusual that they're friendly, likeable guys.
When all was said and done, we pumped off more oil than we had loaded- we had a skin of oil in several of our tanks' bottoms before we loaded (called, originally enough, 'bottoms' ranging from less than 1/8" thick to 1", this is the unpumpable stuff we can't always get out of the tank, often congealed oil that cooled too much to pump. Well, today's hot oil and high temps in air and water, we pumped off EVERYTHING in every tank. The engineer couldn't figure out why they gained 10 tons more than predicted, until I explained. No arguing, either. The ship is one of the new post-Panamax beasts, the largest size that can be taken in the northeast. They were loading 60,000 barrels here, 8000 tons, to top off their tanks. That's a hell of a fuel bill. 2.5 million gallons.
At any rate, it's amazing how encountering the right person at the right time can change your day so much. I felt better after just 15 minutes of normal conversation with a stranger. I guess I was being pessimistic after the job turned into a bit of a shit show.
Anyhow, next cargo is in 4 hours. Tomorrow is the halfway point of this tour.