Hoping Not to Meet Harvey

I’m heading out to work early in the morning. I have a 2 AM wakeup call so I can meet the bus that will get us to the dock by 5 AM. That’s where we’ll hop on the crew boat to take us out to the rig I’ll be working on for the next 6 weeks.

I was so excited to finally be going back offshore for a halfway decent hitch. Six weeks sailing as DPO will do wonders for my mindset (and my bank account). All was going well (with just a few minor annoyances) until I happened to hear about Harvey.

At the moment, it’s just a tropical depression. Hanging out just to the North of the Yucatan Peninsula. Predictions are for it to strengthen over the next couple of days. Even becoming a hurricane by landfall (Friday).

Of course, no one can ever predict what a tropical storm or hurricane will do with 100% certainty, but it has me worried about my property. I’m even a little skittish about my own self going out to join this vessel that I really have no idea about.

I’ve never sailed on anything like it before. For one thing, it’s round. Here’s a picture I got off the internet.

But it is a semisubmersible dynamically positioned drilling rig and I’ve worked on plenty of those. I hope the ballast system isn’t as convoluted as the last one I worked on. πŸ™

I assume it’s much bigger than it looks in that photo. According to the specs, she’s 100 m Β diameter. Built in 2013, so shouldn’t be in too bad of shape (unless she’s been stacked for a while). I haven’t found anything yet about her contract status. Hopefully they found a decent contract and she’ll be working for a while.

It’s been way too long of a dry spell for so many of us out here. Let’s hope things are finally starting to turn around. πŸ™‚

If you don’t hear from me in a while, it’s just because I might not have much internet access or time at work to get online. I’ll be back when I can. Hope you’ll stick around. πŸ™‚

Still Out Here

Tomorrow will mark 3 weeks offshore and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will get to stay out here even longer.

Usually by this time, I’ve about had enough and I’m itching to get off the boat and go home. Take a nice, long vacation somewhere. This trip has been the first real work I’ve had in a loooong time, so I am not in quite the same frame of mind.

The only thing I could wish for out here is a little better situation with the internet, but oh well, we all just have to deal with it…

I will stay out here for as long as I possibly can. Especially since there is no telling how many more months I might have to wait until I can find another ship.

I know most people are happy that the price of oil has been so low for so long. I would be too, if my career didn’t depend so much on it. Sadly, the US Merchant Marine is almost totally dependent on the offshore (oil) industry. We have less than 100 deep sea ships left and probably half of those are shipping oil.

When the Gulf of Mexico slows down and lays off crews, it affects the entire US Merchant Marine. Sadly, US mariners are not wanted in most of the rest of the world. Everyone is afraid we are going to sue them I guess. πŸ™

She’s Off Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Well, I’m out of here in the morning. Into the wild blue yonder. Or at least the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). I’ve had a longer vacation than I expected, schedule changed at the last minute.

I’m still not really ready to go back to work, but at this point I think I would need to be off for a few months straight to actually be READY to go back. πŸ˜‰

I’m in New Orleans for the night, or at least a few hours. Usually, I have to get up at 2 AM, so they can come and get me at 3 AM, so we can be at the heliport in Fourchon by 5 AM, so I can sit around drinking coffee and trying to stay upright and keep my eyes open til around 9-10 AM when they get around to putting me on a chopper so I can finally get out to the vessel I’ll be working on.

Lots of people seem to think flying to work in a helicopter is really cool. I guess it might be, the first few times you do it. It is really nice to fly at a lower altitude and see things better then you can in an airplane but I never really liked it a whole lot. It’s noisy, it vibrates a lot, it’s cramped (more then a plane and you can’t get up to go to the restroom!).

I’m used to it now, it’s just part of working offshore to me. I’m just glad when I can finally get out to the vessel and start my real job. It’s like driving to work in traffic, do you enjoy that part? Or you’re just glad to finally get there? Same thing. πŸ˜‰

crew change by chopper

crew change by chopper

I’m going back to the same rig this time as I was on a couple of weeks ago. I like that. It’s nice to go back where you know people and you’re familiar with how things are done on board. I think my job freelancing is perfect for me since I do get to go back a lot of times to the same familiar vessels, but before I get bored I might get to go to a new one. I also do a few different jobs, so it keeps me on my toes. πŸ˜‰

A lot of ways they’re all the same, but they all have little differences. It takes a few days to get it all straight. I have the hardest time learning everybodys names. It’s not so bad on a ship, when there are only 18-25 crew, but on a rig there might be 250 people on board! Sometimes you might be working 4 weeks straight with someone and never see them til you go home on the same chopper!

Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up with this blog once I get out there. I’m sure it will be at least a couple of days before I can catch up on things, so don’t worry if you don’t see me for a while. πŸ˜‰

I’ll be back! πŸ™‚

From Big Foot To Bluto, Gulf Of Mexico Set For Record Oil Supply Surge

From Big Foot To Bluto, Gulf Of Mexico Set For Record Oil Supply Surge | gCaptain

Good news for the Gulf of Mexico. At least that looks like the consensus at theΒ moment. Somehow it seems the predictions never pan out. We go through booms and busts for reasons we never seem to figure out until after the fact.

From my perspective, the GOM does seem to be gearing up for a boom. I see more rigs heading this way, more boats being built, etc. (Check out the photos of the Olympus rig under tow in the link.) I also see more roadblocks for people who want to get into the industry which can’t help since nothing can get done without the trained workers to do the job.

I don’t see the hiring process matching any definition of the reality out here. There are lots of people looking for ways to get into the industry but the companies seem to be intent on isolating themselves behind online applications and never answered phone calls.

One other thing, the price of oil has been dropping lately. I’ve noticed the price for light crude has dropped from around $110/bbl to around $96/bbl in the last couple of months. It’s up slightly now but if it starts dropping off, so will the drilling and so once more the boom will bust.

I’m trying my best to work as much as possible now. πŸ™‚

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

Arriving at sunrise on the crewboat to the Global 1200

Arriving at sunrise on the crewboat to the Global 1200

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

stormclouds and rainbows from the 8506

stormclouds and rainbows from the 8506

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

flying over this ship on the way to the LOOP

flying over this ship on the way to the LOOP

I got a few decent shots while flying in from the rig last hitch. This was a tanker on the way to the LOOP.