Monday, April 5, 2021

Why does that hurt?

 Lordy, I did get my exercise this morning. 

      The schedules of oil tankers are hard to predict. Unlike container ships, oil tankers often rush to a port, and then languish at anchor waiting for a berth to open up. This stems from demand- oil is notoriously bulky, and the US, and most countries, come to think of it, have VERY limited oil storage capacity. Just a few weeks' worth, for the most part, less our 'strategic reserve' located in Salt Domes deep underground, which is nowhere near as large as one might think. At any rate, my point is that the oil trade is seemingly chaotic, and that extends to shipping traffic, too. 

         I have experience myself of drifting offshore, waiting for the price of #6 oil to rise one whole cent before going in.  On top of this, storage depots often rent tanks to multiple companies, and at times, ships arrive at the same time and someone has to fight it out over who gets to go into the berth first. Sometimes there's just one owner, and they have to decide the same thing based on market forces, storage capacity, demand, charter rates, and, oh, a dozen other factors. 

 As a result, we loaded a very small parcel of Very Low Sulfur Heavy Fuel Oil (VLSFO) for a tanker that was headed into a storage depot in NJ, and would be out some 24 hours later. Only, the ship went to anchor unexpectedly, and so we have to wait until they finish their business and sail, and once they drop anchor in NY harbor, we can do our business, too. So suddenly the HQ has 36 hours free, the most time I've had in a few months. I was able to shine some booties to a high polish, and got us a berth at the company office/warehouse, where we've had a treasure trove of supplies waiting for a month now for our own internal stores. 

     I spent this morning humping buckets and boxes and spare parts, walking them across the deck of another barge (we are moored outboard of them, and they are moored to the dock), and then another 250ft across and around pipes and such into their respective homes, one 20-100lb armful at a time. 

 There was a time when this wouldn't have tired me out. That time is now passed. So today was a good thing. I could use the conditioning. And it's nice to have spares again too. I now have, God willing an' the creek don' rise, the opportunity to put my feet up for 2 hours after lunch. Then the work begins again. 

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