Friday, July 1, 2011

Makes no sense

We, meaning our tug and barge, are on charter for 2 months with BP.
Yep, I know, we're working for the devil.
Anyway, being on charter means BP pays my company a "day rate", or a bunch of cash per day so they (BP) can have us (tug and barge) at their beck and call, to do with us whatever they wish.

I've been in this industry a long time but there must be so much I do not understand.
When I came to work a little over three weeks ago, we sat in an anchorage for over 2 weeks.
Doing nothing.
But still getting paid by BP.

Finally, and as luck would have it, as crew change Wednesday got closer, the powers that be, at BP, came up with a job for us to do. Of course they did.
Our orders were to load the barge at a dock in Texas City, TX, and take the product about 400 miles, by way of the Gulf of Mexico, to a small town north of New Orleans, LA.

We gathered the best minds on the boat, well actually, we gathered every mind, and came to the conclusion that if we left Texas City as scheduled in the wee hours of Monday morning, we would be arriving in the New Orleans area late on Wednesday, just in time for a somewhat normal crew change. And in reality, the only thing the crew really cares about as crew change day approaches, is crew change.

So, off we go, towing our barge in a calm sea, the spirits of the crew on the rise as they prepare emotionally and physically to get off the boat. We are about 70 miles from the entrance to the roaring Mississippi River, when our phone rings.

It's BP on the line.

"Never mind," they said. "Just kidding," they insinuated, "we were just messin with ya. Could you turn around and go back to the same anchorage where you had just been for the LAST TWO WEEKS?"

So we turn around, and head back to Texas City following the same route, in reverse, that we had just taken for the last 2 days. We accomplished nothing.

Spirits sank quicker than a penny thrown into the deep end of the pool. Phone calls were made to family, explaining that we would be a few days late in getting home, and trying to give a reason. We burned about 20,000 gal of fuel on our trip to nowhere, and that's all on BP.

Sometimes this business makes no sense.


Jerral Miles said...

Maybe it's appropriate for your barge to dither in the Gulf of Mexico on the way to nowhere at this time. I am a Californian and an American. The state and the nation are dithering dangerously about debt ceiling and budgets... apparently getting nowhere. My fingers are crossed, hoping you will get wherever it is you want to be... and that California will get a budget and that the folks in Washington will agree at least on something that will avert economic disaster. I love your honesty... even with your bosses.

Karen said...

Jerral Miles said it beautifully.

This is tragic, and even worse, it's just the tip of the proverbial iceburg.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Makes no sense is exactly right....sorry that sucks! I hope you make it home soon!

Seven Gates Farm said...

Don't even get me started on this. It raises the hair on the back of my neck. What a waste of everything! Deb

Joey said...

Sometimes your posts scare me. That a company is that f'ed up...I am angrily blown away at the waste, amongst other things. Hope you are home for the holiday, Mark.