Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tight Fit

While waiting for the onslaught of hard hat wearing briefcase toting
Coast Guard inspectors this morning we received some good news. The
Coast Guard canceled our COI preferring to wait until the actual due
date. The port engineer had scheduled the annual inspection two months
early in order to have it coincide with the annual classification
survey to simplify planning and preparations for us on board. Now the
other rotation will have to gather all of the safety and lifesaving
equipment for inspection in another eight weeks for the actual COI. A
little practice doesn't hurt I guess.

The coast guard did make an appearance though. It was more of a field
trip out of the office for the four attending officers. They were
interested in having a look at the Fast Rescue Boat davit arrangement,
a system unique to our vessel. This same set up will be installed
on board the other ships in our fleet over the next year. After
verifying the inspectors photograph I.D.s and assigning "Escort
Required" visitor badges I led them to the elevator. Unfortunately
another crew member was intent on wrenching the elevator door open on
another deck hoping it would magically appear for him. This locked the
lift half way up stranding me with four impatient servicemen who began
suspiciously eyeing every detail of our defunct elevator and chuckling
to themselves about getting the 835 book out. Luckily the 1st
Assistant was near a phone and soon had a rescue operation mounted. A
few minutes later and we were extracted and instead used the ladder
well to ascend the 7 decks out of the holds.

Later in the day we shifted across the harbor to finish up a
noticeably brief day of cargo operations. While doing so I made note
of the presence of not one but three American ships in the harbor at
once. One was moored next to us at our fist berth, a recent addition
to the vital Maritime Security Program and like my vessel, a Pure Car
Truck Carrier. The other ship was moored at our next dock, a car
carrier long flying the stars and stripes. Currently I'm excitedly
watching the arrival of another U.S flagged vessel passing under the
Francis Scott Key bridge. I've been tracking this particular ship on
for the past few days as she's approached Cape Henry arriving from
Brazil. My younger brother has been aboard her for the past four
months as the 4x8 AB and one of the two designated jumbo crane
operators. This was his first trip as an AB having finished his
training program this past summer and he is now a crack crane operator
having participated in dozens of high stakes heavy lifts ranging up to
300 Tons and is now a shell back having crossed the line or equator
while headed to the sunny and always eye pleasing Brazil.
It looks like he'll be tying up in close proximity to Fells Point and
hopefully he's got his TWIC card. Without it you are now officially
S.O.L. In the Port of Baltimore if you plan on entering any marine
facility to return to your ship (A blog in itself).

Note-due the complete meltdown of our server on board Ive been posting
to the blog by use of my most miraculous iPhone which has become the
latest addition to the growing list of technologies I couldn't live
without. Unfortunately this inhibits my spell checking capabilities
and is quickly inducing carpel tunnel so please forgive any blatant
typographical errors. Additionally, in case Steve Jobs is one of the
four fans of this blog, might you please design the iPhone so they can
be used as a modem so I can just blog from the computer? I will say
that having the ability to zero in with google maps to bookmark the
dock my brother's heavy lift ship just tied up to after watching them
dock on the Electronic Chart System is pretty incredible. One click
and I'll have directions for the cab to cart me over there after
lunch. Very nice!

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