Thursday, December 25, 2008
Today while on the phone with a female friend she asked me if I was lonely.Confused ny the straight forward question I responded that if I was home I would probably miss a few of my shipmates just as I do my own family.Just as my family has looked out for my well being so have my shipmates.Without them there is a good chance I would have been severely injured by now.The same goes for them,we all have to watch each others back.Disregard those last few comments mom,I won't and can't get hurt.HAHA,honestly the job has it's dangerous,exciting,boring and endless days.As long as the checks keep ending up in the bank I don't care.Once again,thank you to my family back home as well as my family on the boat.You all have been the best mentors I could ever ask for.Merry Christmas,Chanukah,Kwanzaa or whatever it is you people celebrate.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
So my last few days have gone a bit like this.Wake up early,5:30,eat breakfast,work till sun down,stand generator watch until 10 shower and repeat.Unfortunately today and a few other days it has decided to rain,sleet and then rain.We are in the shipyard getting the exhaust manifold repaired on the port main engine.It leaks and apparently exhaust fumes can be deadly,who knew.So as the shipyard mechanics repair the manifold the crew tries to stay busy.Now if everyone remembers we were in the shipyard for over a week this Summer and it was utterly boring.No problem because this time we haven't had a chance to breathe.Fixing everything from plumbing problems,AKA poo poo piping ,to drain pipes to lifting anything that ways over and up to a few hundred pounds.I tried my hand at welding again,that was a waste of time but I now know for certain I can't do it.We are scheduled to get underway Saturday morning,bound for New York.Oh joyous fun I'm excited.Let's go freeze!It's all part of the deal anyway.I don't get to much snow in my neck of the woods so seeing it for a few weeks won't kill me.I'm just not excited about the strong North winds that come along with snow storms,again just part of the line of work.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
So you may be asking what's the notch?The notch,simply explained,is the area on the stern of the barge where the bow of the tug fits into.Everybody got that?No,me either.That's why I took a video to better explain myself.However let me try again,in detail,with words.So the bow of the tug is "pointed".Most offshore barges have an area on the stern of them where an offshore tug can fit into,referred to as the notch.Now the reasoning behind this set up is quite simple.The tug fits snugly into the notch for a few different reasons.First and most importantly is better control.The tighter in the notch the tug can get the better the control.So what happens after the tug gets in the notch?How do they stay there?Easy answer,either cables,or lines or a combination of the two,are stretched out from the stern of the tug up onto the barge.The next step is tightening them using the large tow drum located on the stern of the tug.These drums,also referred to as the suitcase drum or money maker,are extremely powerful and often run by hydraulics.Oddly enough this set up is becoming out dated as new tugs emerge with a new set up.As hydraulics become more efficient,these new tugs are equipped with a pin system.Referred to as ATB or ,articulated tug and barge units,these new tugs have become the wave of the future.They simply come into the notch and a set of hydraulic pins,very large ones,emerge from the bow of the tug and lock into "holes" in the barge notch.This system allows them to be primarily a "push" boat as they can routinely take 10 foot seas with no worry of the pin system faulting.The old cable and line system will not tolerate more than 3 foot waves.So as the old system barges head offshore they have to set free and continue offshore by towing.Then upon arrival at the next port of call they break down again to get into "pushing gear" to dock the barge.As you might imagine this system causes much more work for the deck crew,but hey at least I have a job.If you have questions,ask away!