Monday, March 22, 2010

Ass Backwards

The recent cold weather we had here in the Northeast of the U.S. seemed like a distant memory as we soaked up the 70 degree weather while cruising past downtown Boston, Mass. the other day.

It seems they needed some fuel, so we delivered 111,000 barrels of the stuff via tug and barge.

Our destination was actually Chelsea, a small town not far from the city center. To get there we had to navigate through a lift bridge, which always makes for an interesting few minutes, especially for the Captain driving the boat.

As you can see, there isn't a lot of room for error.

We made it through the bridge without incident, and that was a good thing because the paperwork involved after colliding with a bridge will kill ya!

After the bridge closed barricading us in like a dog in a dog crate I looked around and noticed that the river didn't seem to be wide enough for us to be able to turn the barge around to leave.

I wondered to myself how the Captain was going to handle this situation. I found out the answer the next morning.

We were going to go back out through that lift bridge...BACKWARDS!

Let me explain something first. Because of the design of a tug boat and the pitch of the propellers, a tug boat doesn't handle real well...GOING BACKWARDS!

Tugs are built for one thing only, tugging. They're main purpose is power, maneuverability doesn't even enter the thought process of a tug designer.

Of course we needed an assist boat, or other tug to assist us with this maneuver

So, a tug is tied to our stern and he is pulling us backwards, as we are using our engines to go backwards as we are attached to a mass of steel (barge) that is longer than a football field which we are dragging toward a bridge opening that doesn't give us much wiggle room.

I've been doing this job for 36 years and have never seen anything like this done.

My Captain is a STUD!

With that madness out of the way, we push past Boston again and head for sea.

Next stop New York

1 comment:

slommler said...

Wow!! Great pics and what a maneuver! Awesome!