Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mate still in Jail

You might recall a blog entry here, a few months back, and beyond, telling a story about a Ship's Mate, Philip Halliday. The Digby, Nova Scotia, man was working aboard the Destiny Empress (ex CCGS Parizeau), when the ship was apprehended by the Spanish navy, while at sea in international waters.  

Once the ship was searched by authorities, a large quantity of cocaine was found aboard, stashed there by unknown culprits, and unbeknownst to Mr. Halliday. He is currently incarcerated in Spain, awaiting trial, since his arrest, nearly two years ago.

I've just received an update from friends of the family, highlighting that Phil remains in a Spanish jail, in poor health. They write...
" Philip has had 2 gallbladder surgeries in Spain since his arrest... he had to go through these with no family or translators.  We were so hoping on Monday that they would finally release him but as you read the links below that was not to be.  We now have to wait an additional 3 weeks to find out what the Judges ruling is.
Philip was first mate. He took a job aboard for a month in 2008, and told them if they ever needed him again... They did, and said the Destiny Empress would sail from the Caribbean to Spain "empty", to be sold to a German buyer. Philip boarded that boat in the Caribbean, on Nov. 16, 2009, and the boat was boarded by the Spanish on Dec. 21, 2009. "

The family, obviously, remains frustrated in their efforts to free Mr. Halliday. The latest court decision, expected to result in a release, has now been delayed another three weeks. You can read more about the latest setback here, and here. The community has rallied around the family, and staged a march in hopes of drawing attention to the case, you can read about here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Things that go bump

The Maersk Detector, a Canadian offshore supply ship, based out of St Johns Newfoundland, has sliced open one pontoons of drill rig operating off the East Coast of Canada. The GSF Grand Banks, a semi sub drilling rig, was performing drilling operations at a depth of 4000 meter, in support of Husky's White Rose project, when the ship contacted the rig.

As usual for energy companies, Maersk, Husky or the Oil Board are mum about the incident on their website, but news report state that the rig suffered a 4-5 meter gash above the water line. The rig has been made water tight, and is suspending operations, they will head towards shore to make repairs. Transocean, the owners of the rig, will advanced their planned maintenance outage, scheduled for January to coincide with repairs.

The rig is a Panamanian flagged rig, originally built  in St Johns, New Brunswick, in 1984, and is classed by DNV. The Maersk Detector is operated by Maersk Supply Services, of Denmark with offices in St Johns, NF. The ship is a Maersk D-Type vessel, with a 5,470 GT; it is Canadian flagged tug / supply vessel, built in 2006. She is classed by Lloyd's and sports 18,300 hp giving her 218 t bollard pull. 

More news here. Husky White Rose project here and here. More specs on the rig here, and the ship. Pictures from various online sources.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Grandiose sense of self-worth

Back at work now, got back a few days ago, of course the backlog of problems are nagging at me, so I will keep this post short, "like most" you might thinking to yourself. I have been truly busy; busy home, necessary repairs, short on finances, and the kids constant grovelling - and that's just on the boat. I've been working on a new project these last few months, which I hope will interest you, Canadian marine engineers types, possibly, some from other nations too.

The project is called Blue Riband, and it is a proposition for some structural changes to our profession in Canada, which would hopefully alleviate some of the pressing human resources issues facing the industry, here in Canada, and worldwide. I intend to present these ideas in a couple of presentations at the start of the new year, via the technical meetings of the Canadian Institute of Marine Engineering, Vancouver and Vancouver Island branches. I hope to start sharing some insight on this to solicite your responses and input, in order to make the project more viable.

In the mean time, and somewhat related topic, I ran across an article on bosses... which some of you may find of interest. It relates to the corporate world, but I firmly have a clear picture of a few people I have worked with aboard various ships when I read this article...

Psychopaths in the Executive Suite
November 03, 2011 by: Shari Lifland

“Not all psychopaths are in prison. Some are in the boardroom.”—Robert D. Hare, Ph.D.

Judging by the large number of “crazy boss” articles in the mainstream business blogosphere: “How to Deal with an Evil Boss,” “Is Your Boss a Psychopath?” “The Horrible Boss Screening Test,” and so forth, one might surmise that “boss” is a synonym for “nut case.”

Does the preponderance of and fascination with these articles mean that there really are thousands of psycho leaders out there? Well, maybe.

In his latest book, The Psychopath Test, British journalist Jon Ronson investigates what he calls “the madness industry” and, specifically, the world of psychopaths. Within the general population, only 1% are psychopathic, meaning that they are so deficient in empathy and conscience that they pose a serious threat to others. Not surprisingly, among prisoners, the percentage rises to about 25%.

But here’s the really alarming part of the story: the higher up the professional and political ladder you go, the higher the percentage of psychopaths. At the upper levels of business and politics—top corporate officers, for example—nearly 4% score “extremely high” on the official “Psychopath Test.”

Before you label your boss (or congressman) a psychopath, let’s take a look at the criteria for an official diagnosis. Following are the 20 characteristics of a psychopath, taken directly from the Hare PCL-R Checklist. Developed by Canadian psychologist Robert D. Hare, the Checklist (included in Ronson’s book) is used by mental health and law enforcement professionals to diagnose psychopathy. Each item is ranked on a three-point (0-2) scale:

1. Glibness/superficial charm
2. Grandiose sense of self-worth
3. Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
4. Pathological lying
5. Conning/manipulative
6. Lack of remorse or guilt
7. Shallow affect
8. Callous/lack of empathy
9. Parasitic lifestyle
10. Poor behavioral controls
11. Promiscuous sexual behavior
12. Early behavioral problems
13. Lack of realistic long-term goals
14. Impulsivity
15. Irresponsibility
16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
17. Many short-term marital relationships
18. Juvenile delinquency
19. Revocation of conditional release
20. Criminal versatility

If you exhibit 15 of the 20 traits on the list and score at least 29 or 30 out of a possible 40 points, congratulations: you’re a bona fide psychopath.

To read more, click here.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Cheap on the bottom line, expensive in lives

Beware of cheap, and too good to be true replacement parts and servicing. Yet again, it appears counterfeit material has made their way into the shipping industry, this time in the refrigerant used during servicing of shipping containers in Vietnam. The refrigerant reacted in the system making it combust spontaneously in the presence of air.

This type of story is nothing new to those aboard, but is has been slowly making the mainstream media, as three dock workers have been killed in Brazil and Vietnam.

You can read about the cause from Lloyd's List below. Here, here, and here are some media stories on the subject - mostly focusing on the economic impacts of the crisis, estimated to affect 1000 containers, predominately operated by Maersk, and some by CGM CMA. Here's a news report from Seattle discussing the obvious... "hey there's a potential bomb all over the container yards".

Cheap substitute refrigerant could have led to reefer explosions
Monday 07 November 2011, by Sylvia Traganida

Consultant Cambridge Refrigeration Technology is assisting Maersk Line with its investigation.

A COUNTERFEIT refrigerant containing methyl chloride is the most likely cause of the explosions in the reefer containers that killed three men who were carrying out maintenance and repairs, and has forced Maersk Line and CMA CGM to ground their reefer boxes.

According to consultants Cambridge Refrigeration Technology, which is assisting Maersk Line with its investigation, material recovered from the exploded units has been analysed and has been found to be corroded by a chlorinated compound. Traces of alumina were also found at the sites.

The methyl chloride contained in the allegedly counterfeit refrigerant blend, which had been added to the systems, reacted with the aluminium in the compressor forming trimethyl aluminium, a liquid at room temperature which ignites spontaneously on contact with air, water and halogenated hydrocarbons.

“The counterfeit refrigerant is labelled as HFC-134a and is being unwittingly added by repairers to refrigeration systems. In fact it is probably a mixture of cheaper gases blended to give the same vapour pressure,” Cambridge Refrigeration Technology said.

The company added that lines need to make sure that refrigerant comes from certified sources and is tested for the presence of chlorine.