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Posted: 12/2/2002 10:54:46 PM EDT
I'm a project manager for an environmental remediation and emergency response company. Today I started with a 4am alarm - I'm up, easy. Go to work, 1.5 hour commute - done, easy. 5 hours writing up a report - glazed over, but easy. 2 hours meeting with a client - good dinner, easy. 6pm driving home, I get a call from dispatch. A oil tanker 12 miles offshore of Portland, Maine has a serious Hydrogen Sulfide contamination issue (oil tankers with heavy petro products exhume a lot of H2S gas inside the storage units). The alarm level for H2S is 10 ppm (parts per million). Lethal levels for H2S are at 100ppm. The tanks on the ship, 7 total, are spiking 2,000 each. That means supplied oxygen, encapsulated suits with an entourage of safety measures. Unfortunately the weather up here went from foul to shitty. Horizontal sleet and snow, 30 knot winds, 8 foot swells. We boarded a small water taxi *like the Minnow from Gilligans Island* and started out to reach the 12 mile offshore marker. I'm already naucious. We get to the tanker finally in pitch black with seas rocking up and down and back and forth and side to side. They lowered a rope ladder off the side of the oil tanker as the seas were too rough for the step ladder. I visually marked the height of the swells against the 1 foot rungs of the rope ladder....15 feet!!! I had a crew of 3 with me and a load of gear. I radioed the ship contact to lower a cargo net to scoop up the gear. Done. My boat driver then began the impossible task of moving alongside the tanker so we could grab the rope and board. WOW!!! That was a task! In 3 seconds the rope ladder was over 15 feet in the air then disappeared into the water... One by one we jumped from the small boat to the tanker and made our way up the rope which was now all iced over from the sleet. We suited up to run our equipment to measure the H2S amid the weather, running out of oxygen twice and our gas detector (LEL) spiking beyond the detection limit! That's some hot stuff to spike a gas detector like an LEL. Cutting to the chase, we finished around midnight and the weather got worse...35+knot winds, 20 foot swells, and the boat driver smashed his boat against the tanker cracking the stern... We decided it was too risky to get our gear off the tanker and would have it shipped some other time (we had to get off the tanker quick or we'd be stuck there for days). Back to the rope ladder, I went first. I started to descend when the ice on the rope made me lose my grip and fall, still holding the icey rope with one hand but sliding out of control. I slipped about 20 feet and thankfully caught the bottom rung of rope with my elbow. No sooner did I secure myself than the swell of seawater engulfed me and MY GOD IS THAT WATER COLD!!! It stung like razors. I scrambled up 10 feet on adrenaline and the boat smashed against the side of the tanker again...I saw that and jumped away from the tanker and landed on the deck of the boat where a guy was poised to brace me. I had cut myself pretty good along the forearm (barnacle or something? not sure). Anyway, I radioed to the tanker contact and had them escort the remainder of my crew to the cabins. It was WAY too unsafe to risk another attempt. So now I eventually made my way home, the boat captain did an amazing job. We kept an eye on the cracked stern but we seemed to be okay. We alerted the Coast Guard just in case. At 2 I got back to my truck and dusted off the snow. Just got back home and the wife had hot cider waiting for me. That was a crazy night guys. My crew is still aboard that oil tanker (from Syria no less). I gotta find a way to get them off tomorrow! Anyway, I'm going to bed. Good night and thanks for reading...If I missed any details forgive me cause I'm still numb from the cold water. Later.
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 10:57:28 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/2/2002 11:02:34 PM EDT
Man, I thought my job was kinda high risk because I work in Baltimore City! Glad you got out OK. I'll be damned if I'd get on a little boat at night in a storm and go looking for a ship full of dangerous stuff 12 miles offshore.... Hope it pays VERY well...
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 7:59:06 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 8:21:01 AM EDT
That is probably more excitement than I could stand. I decided to be a truck driver today. I had a flat tire before I got on the road, changed that then got a call that the DOT had the road blocked doing safety checks. So, I'm sitting here perusing AR15. I guess I'll eat lunch and then try again.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 8:29:45 AM EDT
bitch, bitch, bitch... I'd suck a yard of dick for a job like that. (j/k, just in case Hokie's boss is gay, and a member here)
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 8:43:29 AM EDT
Do you get hazard pay for that? Good thing you made it out ok, let us know what happened with your crew.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 8:44:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 9:08:16 AM EDT
got any job openings??[;D]
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 9:25:20 AM EDT
geez, talk about earning your living. pretty damn incredible. my day at work amounts to turning on this computer in the morning. the only hazard i have to worry about is carpal tunnel syndrome or a headache from staring at the screen too long. hokie, guys like you who actually WORK for a living have my undying respect.
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 9:48:02 AM EDT
Originally Posted By the_survivalist: got any job openings??[;D]
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what he said. i will have my ME degree finished in a few years if that's any help....?
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 9:51:21 AM EDT
Tom Clancy should write a book about you! GunLvr
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 10:00:52 AM EDT
Hell, someone's got to do the hard work!! After a great 5 day vacation. I rolled out of bed @ 7:30. Was out the door @ 8. 1/2 hour drive to work. At work, doing alot of paper work today, not going on-site. I'm actually almost done with my work for the day. I'll spend the rest of my hours @ work on AR15.com, getting paid 22 dollars/hr. in a state with the most un-employment and some of the lowest wages. GL Hokie
Link Posted: 12/3/2002 10:04:39 AM EDT
Don't be late the next day! Seriously, great job. [^] So are the rest of your co-workers still on board the tanker?
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