Saturday, November 21, 2015

Dockside Availability Complaints

So after 42 days straight of blogging, I guess I decided to take 42 (or more) days off. I think that may be because I don't like to complain, but this inport we're in the middle of a dockside availability and have a few things to complain about. Nothing major; definitely first world problems but inconveniences all the same. And I don't even have the worst of it.

Here's the story (EO -- you're doing a great job managing the dockside! This whiny section of complaining has nothing to do with your efforts, and everything to do with how bad maintenance availabilities suck.):
Our dockside availability has about 30 work items associated with it. I don't know the details about all of them. The ones that have the greatest impact are work on the sewage system and the boilers. We don't have potable water on the ship right now, not because our potable water system is down, but because we don't have anywhere for the gray water that comes from sink and shower drains to go because the gray water system is tied in to the sewage system, and since the sewage system is down, so is gray water (for the particularly engineering savvy readers out there, I know I didn't get the details quite right...I think forward gray water goes into the sewage tank, but aft gray water goes somewhere else, but since the majority of the shower and heads are up forward, it's kinda a moot point).

No potable water and sewage means no toilets, sinks, showers or drinking water onboard. We have a bank of four porta-potties out on the pier. For our crew of 82 people and the gaggle of contractors that are working on the ship. There's a note on the inside of each porta potty saying something to the effect that one porta potty can accommodate 10 people for a 40-hour work week; excessive use beyond that may create poor conditions within the facility and they may have to be cleaned more frequently. Given this estimate, our four porta-potties can handle 1,600 man-hours a week. We have at least eight people onboard for duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week...that's 1,344 hours right there. Estimating that about 20% of folks are on leave on any given day, we have 59 crew and about 15 contractors using the porta-potties during the work day. Our posted workdays are about 6.5 hours long (we work trop hours inport), but I know about 20% of the crew stays for a full (at least) eight hour work day. This is another 2,600 man-hours of potential porta-potty use. And we have about 10 guys that live aboard the ship, adding another approximate 1,275 hours of use. All this adds up to a whopping 5,225 hours of porta potty pressure...I think I've just convinced myself that we really need to have the facilities cleaned every other day instead of just twice a week.

The Rent-A-Johns have foot powered sinks for washing our hands. Very sanitary.

We also have two blue shower boxes on the pier for crew's use. I have used them a couple times, post workout. They have plenty of hot water and good pressure. But sometimes you have to go out to the generator to turn on the lights, and last time I used one, I ended up flooding out both showers in my box because the drain wasn't working. I'm lucky -- I use them for convenience after a run...guys that live onboard use them every day. Trundling out to the pier every morning for a shower, with your spit bag and towel in hand has got to get old! And I just realized, there's no mirror in the shower boxes to help with shaving. I wonder where they're doing that...

The galley is also shut down. No easy breakfasts onboard when I've forgotten to think ahead. No coffee break treats. No lunch ready and waiting at the end of the workday. Total PITA.

The contractors are also working on testing and renewing the a/c system onboard. Apparently, one day this week, they'll have to run all the fan coil units (FCUs -- the a/c/heating units in each space) on high to test the system. I checked the weather report for this week. Highs in the 50s and low 60s. And we get to run the a/c on high all day. Break out the foul weather coats and wool watch caps. Really? We couldn't have done this last week when the temps were in the high 70s?

And here are the things I'm thankful for to balance all the complaints:
-- That our dockside availability is in our homeport, which means we're home for a nice long time that includes lots of major holidays.
-- Our crews' patience with the discomforts of the dockside. They are putting up with it, with minimal amounts of complaining.
-- The "For Official Use Only" signs on the porta potties, intended to keep public foot traffic or transient use of our porta potties to a minimum...the signs mean I'm always giggling a little as I go in to use the head.
-- Tug Boat Tony's Bagel Shop. They opened up right across Water St right around the time we got back inport. A few weeks later, we shut down our galley. They have been our back up for easy, quick and yummy food since then. They even open about half an hour early each morning to make sure we have a chance to get breakfast before our workday begins. And they're nice, friendly people.
-- The dockside availability itself. We're getting a lot of much needed maintenance done, even if the specific details of how that maintenance gets done kinda sucks. It'll help keep our ship operational and in the fight when we get back underway.