Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Playing Chicken at the Breakwater

Suez Canal Senior of Seniors Pilot gestures as he talks on his  Phone

I had a moment of schadenfreude reading  Deepwater's Marlboro Red. A big car ship on a windy day approaches  the breakwater and the pilot boat refuses to board the pilot till they get some cigarettes,  ha ha.

In ports in the United States, Japan and Europe safety first is the rule, competent, experienced pilots board well offshore  when scheduled. On the other hand  in ports where commerce is not king it's a whole other ball game. Pilots rarely board at the designated pilot station and when they do board they may not be competent.

In a Persian  Gulf port, after unmooring I've had the pilot let the tugs go and announce that it is too rough to disembark outside and get off, leaving me to navigate out of port. I've also had the pilot get on, make the tugs fast and then tell me to moor the ship on my own.

In ports like these the captain  might arrive at the pilot station only to be told by port control the pilot will board at the breakwater and that there is no traffic in the channel.  It's wise to take all this with a grain of salt, keep an eye out for outbound traffic,  have the bow thruster ready ....and  have a supply of Marlboro Reds on hand.



BERMAXO said...

Muy interesante saludos desde la islas Canarias para este maravilloso Blog

Ken E. Beck said...

Muchas gracias por sus comentarios.

BMCSRetired said...

I would put loads in the cigarettes and then pray he does not remember where he got them.