Where does the time go…

I’ve been in the shipyard for the last three weeks, in Port Weller, to be exact. Our tug and barge are up for their surveys. Nothing too major, well except for that expensive steel repair bill. I’ve kept my head down, trying to get as much done as possible with the aim, like most engineers, to make sure things don’t break down later, when you really need them.

Of course there is always frustration with the accounting dept. Cost are always a concern, and of course, I understand the concern, but as they say; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Somehow, I fail miserably at making them understand this. I know, in 9 months, at the height of our cargo operations whatever will fail, and we will rush to half fix it, just to get going, and it will probably cost the company six time what it would have otherwise. But these are the economic realities of the job.

My day today was an interesting one. With only a few days left here, its time to “crack the whip” mostly on myself, try to get the ball rolling on various projects so as to make sure the things needed, and of course, for which we have an accepted quote for, get done. This consist of numerous phones calls, and talks with various people, and general running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Then at lunch, one of the welder passed away. Sadly… my condolence to his family. I guess the cold comfort to this bit, is that at least, I hope, it was quick and more or less painless. The 60 year old man passed away suddenly of cardiac arrest. As you can well imagine, with the current demographic of a Canadian shipyard, this death makes this a very sombre reminder within the confines of the yard’s fence. I am not sure what the impact to the yard is, but it certainly was a quiet afternoon. I can only imagine the numbness of a co-workers who’s lost a partner, a mother has lost a son, a wife lost her husband, and his kids lost a dad. What a strange way mother nature rolls.

My previously scheduled meeting with Dilts Piston Hydraulic was first on the afternoon’s agenda. A tour of the barge to explain the various deficiencies, then the tech took me over to their nearby workshop, where we have some equipment in repair, for a brief tour of their operations.

At Dilts, I learned about the Collomatic winch. A locally designed winch, probably safe to say, unique to the area, specifically built for ships transiting the St Lawrence Seaway by Dilts. Typically these winches are pretty simple and “dumb”, after all, deck hands operate them, ehehehe, but these ones have some really unique features, and even sport a PLC, who would have thunk it. 

Then, it was back to the yard, where Judd the security guard commented on how many cars I get rides in… mmm. I’m not sure what to make of that.

Then it was a skype from my wife back home, across the country. One kid puking, the other still trying to get over his high fever; oh but at least hes poo’ed. She says she wish I was there, believe or not, me too. And as luck would have it, my travel arrangements come in by email. Yeah! So her wishes will come true, then after three days, she will wonder why the hell she said that, the week before.

OK, back to work, a small fire erupts, well figuratively, so I spend the next hour trying to douse the flames. Then it off to check on the welding job on the barge, consisting of cutting out frames inside a ballast tank. Of course this will ruin part of the beautiful new paint on the hull, but that’s another story altogether. The circus continues…

Well, how was your day?

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