Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beating the hell out of the Queen

Well, I copped it this weekend.

 In a little while, we're off to load bunkers for two cruise ships. First one is a visitor from the Euro trade, and no big deal, hopefully. Second one is the God-damned Queen Mary II.

Photo courtesy of Sumdood

 When the weirdly-accented pointy heads from the EU designed this ship, they, as they often do, forgot to think about how in the name of Christ they'd fuel the thing. They failed to add mooring points low along the hull, which is the standard means by which bunker vessels moor to cruise ships. Instead, there's one Panama chock (an attachment point) in a very inconvenient spot, and we have to kiss some Limey booty and get them to open up their watertight hatches in the hull and moor to the ship's internal framing using massive shackles... but these hatches are also not conveniently located.

 Luckily for us, they put the bunker hatch in the right spot, anyhow. Well, one of them. The other is high as hell up in their bow, where we can't possibly get to without holing them in the process, and yet EVERY. DAMN. TIME. they open this unusable hatch and say that we must use it and it all goes according to script.
Following is the script, as exchanged in full-throated yells.

Indian Oiler:  "Here Here!" (Makes the sign of the cross for some reason)
Me: "No Good! I can't moor here safe. I need the after bunker station."
Oiler: "No aft bunker station. This only one."
Me: "Get me an engineer, you fucking liar."

Officious Junior Engineer: "You must bunker here,"
Me: "I can't, chief. Nowhere to moor and I'll drive my timberheads through your bow if I come alongside. I need the aft bunker station."
Officious Junior Officer: "That's not possible. We're lined up to fuel from here"
Me: "Sorry. It's not safe. Aft station only"
Officious Junior Officer: "Well, we can't do it."
Me: "OK. You can't have your oil today. Call your agent.  I have other ships who will take your oil. See you next time!" I then wave goodbye, turn and make theatrical finger-across-throat gesture while pointing out to the harbor. (And the Oscar goes to...)
Officious Junior Engineer: Blank look, then wide eyed: "Wait! Wait one." (Talks on handheld radio.) "OK, we're opening the after bunker station door."
Me: "And the watertight doors midships."
Officious Junior Officer: Blank look. "..."
Me:  "I need to shackle in. You don't have any panama chocks for me."
Officious Junior Engineer: Sighs. Goes inside.


 After we're all fast and have connected a fuel hose, it's time for the pre-bunker conference, when we'll talk about what's going on, go over paperwork and the ship's engineer will gauge the tanks and look confused because we use the English system of cargo measurement, and, despite them being English officers, they use the metric system. 

 After all, there are two types of countries: Those who use the metric system, and those who put a man on the fucking moon.


Bryn, Isle of Anglesey said...

I can understand the junior officers confusion with English measures - they have been indoctrinated foreign measures since their primary (elementary) school days.
But surely they can do the simple maths involved in converting from a supplied Imperial tonne to the metric tonne figure required by their engine management computers...?

Bryn, Isle of Anglesey said...

Typo : for Imperial tonne, read Imperial TON - I really should not post comments after a quality control session with the home-brew....

blowspittle said...

damn. It never occurred to me: we put men on the moon with the English system! this is going to my head...! Yay NASA! more for NASA, less for NSA.