Saturday, 10 January 2009

Letter of protest - waterbarge

When completed loading FW, we cast off the barge (M/v Vijay) that was alongside our port side. Due to us having a boat anchored astern of us she started to go forward but as the tug was on the barges port side she could not maneuver that well.

When going forward the tug Captain misjudged the onset of the current and started drifting towards our shipside. Our crew tried to alert the crew on the tug and barge as well as took out fenders. The result was that the barge drifted on us and bumped on our port quarter, after this the barge Captain decided to increase speed and cut over our bow.

As his vision was obscured by the waterbarge superstrucrure he failed to notice our bowsprit. Again crew tried to alert the barge crew but to no effect. The barge caught our bowsprit in its superstructure bending it severely to sb. The barge continued forward ripping its superstructure (sun roof - stanchions and corrugated metal sheets) on our bowsprit.

Finally the sunroof gave away and a corrugated metal sheet was left hanging on our bowsprit. After investigating the bowsprit for damages we can only visually see the tip of the wood damaged. All fittings are seemingly intact from collision.

I hold the barge responsible for his actions as the Captain failed to take into account the strong current, the shape of the vessel on his sb side as well as employing poor seamanship by having too small error margins that led to this incident. After all there was ample space to maneuver on our port bow.

Whole incident was witnessed by undersigned and is entered in vessels Official logbook.

Jari Lindgren
Master m/y Kalizma

As a footnote I would not be surprised if they came up with a bill of their broken sunroof.
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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Trip to Pune

I had been invited to meet my friend Atul Gaikwad that lives close to Mumbai (at least when you look at the map) and this Saturday I decided to go on a short excursion. I bought a "Volvo" class ticket for 250 Rs on Friday.

Then on Saturday 4 pm I went to the rendezvous point. There I was crammed into a local black and yellow Premier taxi and off we drove. The escort was a nervous young guy chewing paan or gutka and talking into to two mobile phones simultaneously. It did not take long and we arrived to the bus. It was a big Volvo. I was escorted to my seat and soon the bus left, surprisingly on time too.

It seemed to me that we trawled every street from point of departure to New Mumbai in search for passengers and cargo. Sometimes we would stop and load parcels, sometimes people. The driver apparently had only 2 positions of the aircon, it was either "off" or "on". The bus was frigid, I was tightly wrapped in my fleece blanket that was provided with every seat. At one stage the bus got quite full and I lost my privacy when an Indian sat beside me. I did not mind that at all but unfortunately my seat fellow was in a dire need of a shower or his Rexona had given up on him - badly. I was sniffing on my Thai "yaa dom" (made of camphor, eucalyptus etc) to cover the smell. I got lucky as he changed seats after awhile or a seat was vacated.

When we entered New Mumbai and started to get to the outskirts of the city we encountered huge zhopad patti's (slum dwellings). People were living like ants, the hovels extended far away into the smog that is lingering everywhere this time of year. Soon enough we crossed the river and entered the Expressway which was in excellent condition. We soon made good speed and the bus rolled past lumbering trucks. After some time we started climbing hills, it was already dark but I could see the view was nice with all lights from the city below the mountain. After the mountains we gradually came to Pune.

I was dropped off at the railway station at 9.30PM, an hour after schedule. soon enough Atul picked me up in his car. We had a local specialty as I was famished that looked like a Greek chicken kebab but was definitely better. After this we picked up a few Kingfishers and headed for Atul's pad. There we ordered some home delivery and we had a very nice veggie dinner and chatted for awhile before it was time to call it a night.

Next morning I woke up to the sunshine and Atul prepared a Maharastrian breakfast "Pooha", made of rice flakes and whatnot. It was very filling and delicious. I had thought of going to visit the Rajneesh Osho resort but it turned out it was a bit more difficult than anticipated. More info here

Osho was a controversial person who founded his own cult and did away with gurus and taught his own dogma. He was thrown out from the US for various reasons and finally ended back in Pune where he had started his mission. He has been compared to Buddha and still today his legacy lives on. More info here

Considering all options we finally headed for the Rajiv Gandhi Zoo that housed an extensive snake collection.

I entered after paying 25 Rs for entry (10 Rs for locals) and walked for the tour. There was quite a few other animals as well. Snakes are generally a boring subject to watch as they do nothing, them normally being nocturnal in their activities. In the video you can see one snake that was definitely giving value for money and was snaking around his pit.

We also saw various species of crocs, porcupines, sloth bear, various deer, iguanas, turtles, terrapins, tigers and incredibly fat leopards. As it was Sunday and it was India, people kept pouring into the Zoo and we soon found our way out of it. After that we picked up Atul's wife Snehal and went out for lunch. We drove through Pune and circled close to Osho and I could see foreigners traipsing around in red robes that they have to wear inside the resort.

Finally, we decide to have lunch in a Punjabi restaurant and we had a vegetarian fare. Dhal, rice, roti and Paneer in gravy. I have hard time remembering what dishes are called in India. All was very delicious and filling and we headed for the bus station where I got a ticket for 235 Rs to Mumbai. I thanked Atul and his wife for their hospitality and boarded the bus.

This bus filled up 100% and I got a huge fellow sitting beside me, he was big as a barndoor and round as a hippopotamus, me myself not being a small guy either felt very small beside him. I was crammed between him and the window most of the trip as he disembarked at the outskirts of Mumbai. The beginning of the trip was interesting as I had not seen the countryside in daylight.

We passed many places where they made bricks and of course farmhouses. Bricks were piled in big piles, then covered with what I presume was straw and mud. After that a fire was built inside these piles to get the bricks burned. I can only imagine how long this operation is taking, weeks I guess. I've seen similar brick ovens in Vietnam and there they had a slow fire burning from rice husks. The land looked very brown and dry as the rains had stopped some months ago.

Eventually I arrived Dadar after 3hrs journey and from there I took a taxi to Yellow Gate and came onboard, too tired to eat dinner and just collapsed into bed. Short trip and not so eventful, but at least I have an excuse to go back.

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Fire onboard

Just last saturday, 3rd Jan, I had a fire onboard, it was very small and nobody was hurt, but nevertheless could have caused a total loss in case it would not have been quickly acknowledged by the crew.

The fire started from a light fixture (20cm x 20cm) in the lower crew cabin below water level. The fixture somehow short circuited itself, started smoking and finally ignited the plastic parts in it. In less than a minute the whole cabin was smoke packed and triggered a fire alarm.

While crew was investigating the cause of the fire it grew. By the time the location was found out, smoke was billowing out of the manhole that is used to enter the cabin. Chief Engineer Vivek who was first at location took closest powder extinguisher and blew 9kg of powder in the space. 2nd Engineer Sunil cutoff all power in the crew area. Vivek had seen the flames so next he shot 2.5 kg of CO2 onto the fixture in order to cool it down.

Molten plastic

Then we waited for the powder and smoke to dissipate a bit while other crew took out heavy fire fighting gear, just in case. By the time we could enter the cabin we could ascertain that the fire had been put out. The fixture had burned intensely and melted the plastic grid on top of the light tubes and so the plastic had dribbled onto the deck which was also covered by a vinyl carpet that started melting as well. The fire had not caught on the deck but given time it would have done that.

The whole cabin was entirely covered in dry powder, so needless to say the stewardesses with the help of the deckies had a long evening emptying everything out onto open deck, cleaning it and putting it back. It took 2 days to have the whole mess put behind.

Just from this incident we can see how fast "normal" turns into "disaster".

As preventative measure we're checking all similar fixtures for any defects and as a long term solution we will find another kind of light that is of a different design.

Below is a recent article about yachts being burnt side by side in a marina, not the first time it happened:

Practical Boat Owner 5 Jan 2009, Boats destroyed in marina fire

Three motorboats in a marina in Wales have been destroyed in a fire which spread to three other boats before it could be extinguished.

Four appliances were sent to tackle the fires in Pwllheli Marina in Gwynedd at 2207 GMT on Sunday. A spokesman for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service told the BBC that three motor cruisers were completely destroyed by the fire, which spread to three more motor cruisers.

The main building at the marina was also affected by heat damage. An investigation into the cause of the fire will be carried out. Link to article

As a few older warning examples one can think of the Scandinavian Star disaster, a passenger ferry that burned down on the North Sea with many fatalities. Link to article

Fire onboard Universe Explorer: Link to article

Fire onboard m/y Al Riyadh in Greece while on hardstand. I was sleeping onboard another yacht just over the harbor basin while she was burning to total loss after 2 years of refit work, luckily nobody was hurt: Link to forum
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Friday, 2 January 2009

Happy New Year

So it was 31/12, the last day of the year. The day started as any other day here in Mumbai. It is sunny here now in winter time and reasonably cool. Not cold though.

Morning went meeting Avnish, Ashish and Cmde Mongia at Colaba workshop inspecting a roll of carpet that we "found" to replace the dining and saloon area as well as the Owner's suite. Our old 100% wool carpets onboard has started molding and deteriorate from accumulated moisture and a few leaks we have had during the rainy season. Luckily there was this other roll that has been lying around for some time and we get good use of it and so we'll change also a few other areas from the good pieces that are left from the saloon and dining area. After having closed this meeting it was hurry back onboard together with Avnish for lunch.

In the afternoon we received onboard our RINA surveyor Mr. Chanchal and Naval Architect Mr. Mishra. We were meeting in order to conclude the pending issue of commercial class upgrade for Kalizma. Hot topics we're tonnage certificate, load line assignment, structural fire protection plan and stability booklet with inclining report. We concluded the meeting in high spirits. Then it was already 5pm and I had a refreshing can of Kingfisher with Avnish and Vivek.

Avnish left for his family and New Year celebrations and me and Vivek decided to paint the town red on our part. At 8pm we headed out for Colaba district and walked along the streets behind the Taj. We had a delicious dinner in the "Bagdadi" restaurant (opposite Gokul bar) and having satisfied our hunger we went to Leopold's and sat down with a pitcher of Kingfisher. It was still early and people started to drop in bit by bit.

Me & Vivek just after New Year...

Closer to midnight the place got quite packed and we finished another pitcher of Kingfisher to the countdown of the passing year 2008 and we ushered in new year 2009. After the countdown people started to disappear and so did we and we headed back to Victoria Docks with a detour to the Marina Drive to see the action at "Queen's Necklace". A lot of people and cars were around but hardly any fire works were seen, anyway we were a bit late for that. We arrived back onboard in one piece and went to sleep.

So, another year has passed by, so quickly, and what have I accomplished? Not much, 11mths has been spent onboard yachts and the rest is history...

HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody who reads this :)
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