Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The pipe line:
Last week we moved into the world of 12 hour shifts. It is the end of the year, high pace, time of the vessels. The tanker ship is the first to follow in the ice breaker. And with its arrival, the GA crew moves into the fuels department. Over 7 million gallons were scheduled to be transfered through a few miles of hose and pipes. The GA's jobs: measure the level of fuel in the tank, and specifically my job: "walk the line" which means to walk the length of the pipes from the ship to the tanks. Three of us became line walkers for the day shift. (I was very thankful to be on days.) One person would sit in the little wind screen to be at the "pier valves" ready to shut them should there be a major issue. The second person would be dropped off at the tanks and start to walk down towards the ship. The third person would start at the ship and begin the walk up.

The pier valves:

The round trip journey took about an hour and a half, and with three of us working the line, and two of us always walking, in a twelve hour shift, we walked on loose rock meandering through the station for about 8 hours. To add to that, the weather has been getting worse and we met stiff winds, cloudy skies and cold temperatures.

The view towards the ship from the pier valves:

But finally, the round the clock transfer of fuel was complete. It took around 40 hours or so, and we were happy to have a day off in preparation for the cargo vessel offload.

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