Friday, August 17, 2018

A Familiar Face

We got lucky here on HAWSEPIPER's Afloat Global HQ/ floating hot dog cart.  With my tankerman taking some time off, I've had fill-in guys on board. Last Week, I had The Pastor- a deeply religious man with skill and experience, a guy I know pretty well (who is, actually, in the final steps to becoming a baptist minister) and have worked with before, so when he was on board, I could sleep- more on that later.

 I also had Spare Paul, another experienced tankerman, for a short time. He, however, is more comfortable with dock-to-dock clean oil transfers, a somewhat different animal than the dirty game of bumper cars we play on here. I did not sleep well. In the end, he did just fine.

 Yesterday the Cuban Missile came aboard.
     I've worked with the Cuban Missile a few times, including an enjoyable but tough month down in the Windward Isles in the caribbean.He's experienced and very competent. I am sleeping well.

 Familiarization plays a big role in the effectiveness of how we carry out bunker transfers. Dock to dock work, you plug in the numbers, fill up the tanks to the numbers you want, and check to make sure you're not going to stress the hull. Maybe you ballast, but it's formulaic.

   Bunkering is more dirty and works on a lower profit margin, I'm sure, and requires a fair bit of back-of-the-envelope math. Blending oils to achieve certain densities, sulphur content or volume (or all of the above)- cross-tank loading without stressing the hull, unequal volumes of multiple products, stuff like that- meat-and-potatoes stuff, but things that require a bit of experience and understanding that is deeper than swinging wrenches and valves... not rocket science for sure. I mean, you can shave a monkey and make him do my job most days, but doing and doing well are different things.

     Really, all you need is someone to teach you, some classroom time, and experience under an experienced tankerman, and you can technically do the job. This is what happens some places- you get a short-bus seat warmer who can sign the DOI (a document saying that you did this and that correctly) legally, but who can't be trusted to unwrap a lollipop otherwise, and then you get an unhappy, experienced person watching over him and not sleeping.I've had a touch of that here and there, like when Father Time, the ancient of days, used to camp out and eat my food and sign the DOI but was otherwise not able to do things like turn valves or run the crane. But he technically fulfilled the letter of the law, which only requires warm bodies with a participation trophy from the Coast Guard. Father Time was a kindly gentleman, so we dealt with it. Guy bunkered the Ark for Noah.

 So, with the Cuban Missile on board for a week, I'm sleeping well. He's familiarizing himself relatively quickly, and is willing to ask questions to get up to speed quickly. Plus he's good company, too. And I'm sleeping well. I trust him not to blow us up or cause a scene.  Still, I'll be glad next week when B comes back and things get back to normal abnormal.

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