Sunday, December 11, 2022

Gotta go buy a lottery ticket

 In my corner of the maritime trade, when something dumb or unusual or "y'all ain't gonna believe this shit' happens, we generate 'near miss' reports. These are used to delight and entertain inform mariners of hazards and issues that almost happened, in the hope that it will decrease the chance of a repeat. 

 I get to write a near miss report tonight. 

So the HQ is 300 feet long, and the freeboard, the distance from the water's edge to the deck, is just 15 feet. An Ultra Large Container Vessel might have 60-70 feet of freeboard. They're just massive. When we moor to them, we put out 6-8 mooring lines that stretch up to their decks. We use lightweight synthetic mooring lines to help make them easier to lift those kinds of distances. The lines weigh 3-4lbs per foot.  

 Earlier tonight, I got hit in the face, hard, with the eye of a mooring line that had been dropped from about 50 feet overhead.  Luckily, I was able to stop the mooring line from falling directly onto the deck and maybe scratching the paint by using my face to give it somewhere soft to land.  As we started casting off from a ULCV,  it was dark and I looked down to be sure of my footing as I stepped over a bunch of conduit, and just before stepping out to the deck edge, I looked up just in time to see the eye splice, the 5' diameter loop in the end of the mooring line, coming directly at my face. I got a hand up in time to partially protect my head, but part of the eye splice hit me in the bridge of my nose, knocked me right off my feet.

        You see, I wasn't in an area where I was expecting to encounter one of our mooring lines. I just happened to look up at the deck of the ship to see if the deckhands up above were standing by. 

 Unfortunately, the retard sailors on the ship above me took advantage of some slack in one of our mooring lines, and cast it down on deck before we were ready for it. For some reason, rather than just dropping the line, the cocksuckers threw  the eye splice out into space, and so it sailed a good 10' past our deck edge, and the eye splice, which is about 30lbs I guess all told, happened to make a beeline for my melon. 

      The shitheads on the ship weren't trying to brain me. They were just being lazy douchebags, trying to hurry us up so they could go on about their business. 

   So, yeah, I end up on deck staring up at the sky wondering how fucked I am. The two tugboaters who were on deck with me helping cast off are squatting down on either side of me with looks of concern. Is my nose broken? Am I concussed? In shock? I feel OK. My face feels hot, and like I've been hit by something.  So, I look up, and far, far above us, the ship's deckhands are looking down on us, with the "oh shit' face. So I raise one hand up and give them the finger. Meanwhile I look up the guys around me. "Is my nose busted? I feel ok."   "Naw, it don't look broke. Little blood and you got a bit of skin missing, but it looks shaped allright, but don't get up."  

    I kinda took my time. The guys did the right thing, telling me to stay lying down, and so I talked my way through my thoughts and after a minute or so, I realize that I'm fine and I just dodged a bullet. And also that I should have been looking up a few seconds earlier than I did, even if I thought I was outside the area where I might have been in danger. Before I got up, though, I refocused on the deckhands up on the ship, still looking down at me. I yelled something unkind along the lines of hoping they get cancer. 

 I am nothing if not eloquent. 

    Anyways, the good news is that the mooring line is fine, although there's a fingernail-sized piece of skin in it somewhere now. 

   I get up, a little shaky with that adrenaline, and mindful that I might be running around with something that the adrenaline is hiding, a concussion, or the like. But within a few seconds, other than that little numb/little hot feeling around my beezer, I realize that for some reason I am fine. Considering that I got knocked down, that's both odd and very lucky. 

    So in the back of my mind, as we continued casting off, I am very relieved that I'm OK, and realizing that I'm actually fine, no bs, no posturing.  One of the tugboat deckhands on board with us is a trainee, a kid who's on maybe his 4th day at sea, ever. Poor guy looked shook. I spent the rest of the time reassuring him that I was fine. And I mean, hell, he probably thinks I'm pretty rugged now, shaking off getting my bell rung, even if I didn't get my bell rung all that bad. 

 And here I am several hours later at a lay berth, in between cargoes, and I can sit in my chair and laugh about it. It's been a minute since I got the old blood moving with a little excitement. 

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