Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fire Fermunda

Some days you're the windshield, and some days you're the bug, I guess.

Last night was one of those nights where nothing quite went as I wanted. We had our first job in a week (!), and I woke up at about 11pm as we were topping off the load.

Most of the night was fine. I helped out Jamie (the other guy on board) in topping off, and due to the schedule we had, I relieved him early, so as to better share the workload.

We sailed about 3 hours down the Delaware river to bunker up a reefer ship, a fruit boat, specifically... and that's where the trouble started.

Rather than go through a laundry list of my troubles, which were minor if time consuming, I'll give hightlights, and I'll just say this: everything I did required a fix. The swing tackle on our hose boom (the block-and-tackle arrangement that lets us swing the boom from side to side) jammed badly, requiring some serious jimmying. The fueling hose slipped off the deck, requiring some rigging and a spanish windlass to get it back in place. I parted a line, which required whipping and splicing. I backlashed the cargo runner on one of our booms. Then it rained like a damn monsoon, except that it was 40 degrees out.
So, as you can see, it wasn't a disaster, but it was a pain in the ass. I managed eventually to get the hose sent over to the ship, where a half dozen sodden deckhands were waiting patiently, and they set to work removing the blank (steel plate) from the end of the hose, which then gushed oil on their deck. Apparently, the valve for that hose wasn't properly seated, and there was about a barrel of cold bunker oil in the guy's containment area. Very messy, but safely contained, and I can probably expect NOT to be on someone's Christmas card list after fouling their containment area. Anyhow, after that, they managed to get the hose hooked up, and we passed out paperwork and eventually I got our pump started. Thankfully, not long after, it was time for me to relieved on deck, and I was able to get a shower and a nap.


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