Monday, January 19, 2009

Ambushed in Singapore

Well, let me start this off by saying that I am back at the house. Yeah, a few months early. I was discharged when our ship pulled into S’pore.

All seemed well. It was a total and complete ambush.

Our day started at 7am with an oil spill on deck. Every body was called out on deck to try to contain and clean this mess up as we were pulling into port.

Mid way through the clean up, I was told to eat breakfast and bring the ship in (that means to steer the ship into port). It seemed a bit odd. It wasn’t time for my watch. One of the other guys should have been up there. But I shrugged and went on up to the bridge and brought the ship in.

Usually, once the ship is alongside the dock, the helmsman is released to go down to the deck and help to finish tying up the ship. This time, they kept me up on the wheel. Again, it seemed a bit strange, but this is (was) a strange ship.

Once everything was secure, the Captain asked me to follow him to his office. I (dumbly, blindly?) thought that there was some paperwork to bring to the Chief Mate or gangway. Hehe, I was wrong.

He had paperwork allright; for me! I was told that it was obvious that I wasn’t happy and they were letting me go.

“Here is your discharge and travel itinerary.”

It isn’t too often that I am caught completely unawares, but they got me there.

On a ship, there is a bit of paperwork to be completed before you are discharged and sent on your way; payroll, USCG and various other forms.

I was a bit numb and surprised by what was going and they used that whirlwind of disorientation to whisk me out the door and off of the ship. I asked about my discharge being “for cause” and was told that it was from “arguing with the mates and the bosun.”

That was such a laughable matter and so ridiculous that I didn’t even say anything else. This kook wanted me off the ship and was just basically using his imagination (after all else failed) to get rid of me. I disagreed with the bosun, but we never had any arguments. And I only had one real argument with a mate. That one was well known and supposedly taken care of after our earlier meetings.

The second mate was great and the Chief mate was pretty damn easy to get along with also.

But his mind was made up I knew that I wasn’t going to change it. So, I signed off and came on home.

These people are about as shady as it gets. As I looked at my itinerary, I saw that the arrangements had been made a week before. And I had a relief waiting at the dock! That doesn’t happen with out a bit of forethought and planning. Yet, these A**holes were smiling and joking all the way from Diego to S’pore.

There were two engineers that were also let go. They were given all of twelve hours notice. So, again, I felt somewhat vindicated that I wasn’t the only one that was treated like this. They crap on everyone!

That’s about it for now. I am sitting here getting over my jet lag and starting the search function all over again.

I have rather enjoyed blogging this whole ordeal. I hope you have found some sort of amusement/amazement at this world that we have to deal with out there. I have.

Lets see where the journey takes us…

Watch the Panic

The panic is full blown now. We have entered the Malacca Strait. We are less than two days from Singapore. And we still have lots of rust to paint over. And….its raining! LOL

What for me is so depressing, is that we had other jobs, which were being done correctly, that are now on hold. There were brand new hand rails that I was allowed to properly prep and prime. Now mid way through that job, it has been shut down so we can do this smoke and mirrors paint job.

In this environment, even good primer starts to rust through in a few days. So, now basically, that job will be done half assed. As is every other job here.

It has taken me a few days to notice, and I will wait until after this (hopefully) final inspection, but no notice of thanks has come from up above. The crew on this ship has been busting their asses to get this POS ship to pass its inspections and not one word of “thanks”, “Good Job”, or anything similar to that.

The only comment I heard about the inspection were when the Capt. congratulated himself for having us put all of the fire hoses together for one big pressure test. HE was so glad that HE thought of that…..

This is the same guy that made me take a breathalyzer before I went to the doctor. It was “just company policy”???? Right!! Sorry dude, only thing on my breath was Crest!

Hmm, getting hard to type at the moment. The intoxicating effects of our scrumptious lunch are catching up to me. OK, with the written word, it is sometimes difficult to catch sarcasm. That was an example of it. Our lunch consisted of boiled spinach and some kind of stroganoff.

We did finally get some kind of bread with a meal. I haven’t had a biscuit or roll since I was in New Orleans. It was something along the lines of French bread. I was so shocked that I promptly cut my finger while trying to open it and get a little butter on it.

So, now I sit here with part of a Qtip and scotch tape as a bandage. I did have some hydrogen peroxide and Neosporin, at least. LOL

Here is a pic of me, hard at work on this little lifeline of mine. Jamming out to some Staind. Grrr, 20 minutes till more painting over rust and through water and on top of dirt. LOL

Later allllll

Rest Day

I have made it to Sunday now! Every day is a day closer to the house. So, a small celebration is always in order. 34 days down now. 86~ to go.

The weather has picked up since my last update. The ship is riding into 6’ to 8’ seas right now. Just enough to rock you gently to sleep.

I did hear that Florida won the National Championship! 3 in a row for the SEC! Kind of weird out here. No one seems to be into football or from the south. So, consequently, no one really gives a damn but me. Grrrrr

The 2nd mate, the one guy that I could always talk to on here, is going home when we get to Singapore. It is actually three weeks earlier than he was expecting and a bit disappointing to me. But I don’t blame him, I would jump at an early exit too.

There really isn’t too much to report on at the moment. Which I would take to be a good thing. No drama.

Oh, I did ask about getting soy milk when we get groceries in S’pore. I can’t drink milk and that is a reasonable substitute.

The Captain didn‘t seem to think so. He exclaimed that “Soy costs $5/ltr and is a personal item”. So, guess who gets to pick up the tab if they want any. Not this cheap ass company.

But, if that is the worst that I can come up with the at the moment, I guess things have improved. Actually, I don’t know if life has improved or if I have finally reconciled myself to my fate.

I have been busy taking a few pics of the deplorable conditions around here. I will post those with the updates when we return to D’Gar. I really wish that I had Photoshop Elements or something similar on this laptop. I tried to download it, but it is 456 mb! My connection was showing a d/l time of several days. LOL Oh, well.

Until next time, mi compradres….

Nothing Changes But the Calendar (and the Weather)

It is now Friday afternoon. We are two days out of Diego Garcia. The weather has taken a remarkable change. Almost as soon as we left the islands, it all started clearing up.

The seas are like glass with just a gentle ocean swell passing through. Of course, the seas being so calm means that there is no wind. So it has been hotter than Hades out there.

They are still on this painting kick. It is rather amusing. The ship is due for some other type of inspection upon arrival in Singapore. So, the Captain is still running around in circles. The proverbial headless chicken.

Yesterday, I was sent up to paint over some “holidays” (holiday=spots of bare metal or rust not painted the first time). Not generally such a big deal, but it so amusing to see how worked up these guys were getting over this when these so-called holidays were on rust at least ½” thick. LOL

“Hey! Make sure you paint over all the rust!”


There seems to be some sort of civil truce between myself and the 3rd mate . I still don’t trust the guy as far as I can throw him. But I will enjoy the tranquility while it lasts. There are enough problems on here with out creating or rehashing old ones.

Our newest problem child is one of the Engine room guys. Seems to be a hot head that becomes even hotter after a few drinks. He already owes a few people money and pretty much has everyone (on deck especially) ignoring him. You reap what you sow.

Tonight is another clock change. So, I have lost forty minutes of sleep. Gotta cut this short again.


Life Aboard the SS Stinky

A few more of our wonderful living conditions. I lost the pics of our holding cell(uh, room). But this is our wonderful bath room facility. Four of us were sharing this well equipped area.

My roomie, Joe. Yeah, he usually looked that confused. LOL. Good guy though. As you can see, he is quite busy painting over a little rust. Although, actually, there was a little prep work there. What a rarity!

The incredible dining facilities! If you are patient, eighteen people can eat there. It looked much worse in person. That was also our crew's lounge.

And, last but not least, a flying fish that flew the wrong way...

Seas from Day to Day

A small example of the fickleness of the
seas. Calm as can be and then bam!
The pics don't do it justice. But it was getting pretty bumpy out there.

A few more of the good days on the beach

I thought I would throw these pics in there. If you are ever planning a super vacation. The Maldives Islands are just like this and aren't too far away from Diego. Tourist heaven....