Wednesday, February 24, 2010

If this barge was sitting somewhere in Africa or in the Middle East, today would be a fine, fine day to practice the ancient art of Capebarre (sp?). With a partial load of now-homeless oil on board, there are plenty of places in the world where the crew would make some pocket money quietly selling off a portion of the cargo on a cash basis.
If you're the reading sort, I would absolutely recommend Max Hardberger's "Freighter Captain," which deals very honestly with the dirty and ugly side of shipping, including a scandalous account of the captain selling off bunker fuel to buy food for the crew and spares for the engine room after the owners failed to make

payroll or send stores.
Hard to believe that such things could be in the modern era, but I think back to my days with the Notorious B.O.B. and I'm dead certain that he did things like not pay bills to give me a paycheck in the summer doldrums when cash flow was nonexistent. Still, that's a far cry from having to defraud a shipowner because he is defrauding you. In the B.O.B's case, as the captain, and later as the vessel owner when I became captain, he was the one making the sacrifices. Capt. Hardberger's account was more dire, of course, though both his pragmatic reasoning (the crew needs to eat if they're to turn a profit for the owner, so that the owner can buy food for the crew) was rooted in the same altruism that the B.O.B. showed. As shipowner, though, Notorious B.O.B. set a higher bar morally.

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