My first voyage to the Mississippi River was a fine fair weather trip around the Florida Keys and across the Gulf of Mexico. I shot a few pictures and learned a few things. More on that later. For now, some photos..
Thanks to a book recommended to me by Kennebec Captain and my time spent reading it, I have found the words to express my frustration with Zero Tolerance Safety Programs with a couple of quotes.
“This may in fact be the real story of human and societal improvement. We talk a lot about risk management a nice hygienic phrase. But in the end, risk is necessary. Things can and will go wrong. Yet some have a better capacity to prepare for the possibility, to limit the damage, and to sometimes even retrieve success from failure.”
“When things go wrong, there seem to be three main pitfalls to avoid, three ways to fail to rescue. You could choose a wrong plan, an inadequate plan, or no plan at all. Say you’re cooking and you inadvertently set a grease pan on fire. Throwing gasoline on the fire would be a completely wrong plan.
Trying to blow the fire out would be inadequate.
And ignoring it “Fire? What fire?”would be no plan at all.”
These quotes are not my own, they are from a book (linked above) and a commencement speech. I believe they illustrate perfectly what and how we should think about risk management as a practice. The message we frequently get from management is the same old saw; “zero incidents, accidents, errors”. While this has a nice ring to it and is a worthy goal, it’s not humanly possible and we know it.
Planning for failures that might occur however, is well within the realm of possibility. Evidence of this kind of real world thinking is represented by our Vessel Spill Response Plans, salvage plans, voyage plans, operations manuals and training curricula. These documents all articulate what to do “when” something happens or “if this happens, then”. They are general in nature since it’s impossible to prepare for every possible permutation of events and write a specific procedure for each. It’s left to our training and judgement after that.
High Reliability Organizations
A High Reliability Organization is one that while highly trained to avoid failure, is keenly aware of the cues that arise announcing an impending one. The thing that makes them so reliable is that they are prepared and mindful enough to catch a bad series of events while they’re still “curable”. But it’s not just their awareness, their resilience in the face of an event it’s how quickly they can get the situation under control and continue using the plans set in place for such an incident as a guide.
It’s not making a blanket statement of “incidents won’t happen because we don’t want them to”, it’s the real world. The message is clear to me, coupled with proven safety procedures we need to recognize that, and prepare for WHEN things to go wrong.
The business of towing is full of risk, it’s why tug boats have fenders. It’s a contact sport. A sign on the bulkhead stating zero, zero and zero isn’t telling me how to accomplish it. And you can bet Harry Potter’s magic wand is out of the question.
The ability to meet and assume that risk is tied to practical and relevant training standards. The conflict between zero incident safety programs and reality is that if we were to eliminate all risk, nothing would get done. Something in that statement seems to make some eyes glaze over and disconnect from the conversation.
“Ships are safe in the harbor, but ships are meant to go to sea.”.
Someone has to take risks to make things happen. Sailing across the ocean, space exploration, flying out of La Guardia Airport during bird migratory season. None of these things happened because risk was eliminated, it was addressed and planned for. If you think all risk can be eliminated and still see progress you’re kidding yourself. By seeking that end you’ll find that you are paralyzed by every threat, real or imagined and taking a step ahead will never happen..
This is a good piece of reference material for future safety meeting topics and just for general safety awareness. Thanks to gCaptain for forwarding the link.
”Again the Ghost sped on, above the black and heaving sea–on, on–until, being far away, as he told Scrooge, from any shore, they lighted on a ship. They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
After a hurricane, an election, a Nor’easter and a nightmare we’re still hanging in there for the last gasps of 2012. The Mayans were wrong, some minister down in the Bible Belt was wrong (a couple of times) and now were preparing to leap from the fiscal cliff as soon as we croon the last notes of Auld Lang Syne.
Once again the schedule has me and my crew aboard for the holidays. Every other year we are aboard. We “swing the hitch” every year by putting in a three week hitch right around Thanksgiving that effectively reverses which holidays we’ll celebrate at home. We could do a week and a week, but the amount of traveling we’d have to put in at the busiest time of the year is prohibitive. Our crew change day is Thursday, and Thanksgiving (if you’ve been keeping track) is also and always a Thursday. We’ve looked at trying to swing the hitch at different times of the year but because of the Thursday crew change, it has to be around the Thanksgiving week. It doesn’t work any other time without forcing an additional disruption in time on and off.
It’s not difficult to put in three weeks, some guys work a three week rotation as a normal hitch, some work a lop-sided four weeks on and two weeks off. And some (I shudder) have no schedule, they work until they have to quit to get off the boat. Something that would make me consider an alternate career choice. Something like a chocolate chip brownie/cookie shop in Colorado next door to the local “smoke” shop maybe.
At any rate, I was home for Thanksgiving so that’s really enough for me. No running and driving and wrapping etc. And after three weeks of kicking back at home my Missus is sweet to say she ‘ll miss me when I go back to work. I’m almost certain she’ll breath a sigh of relief when she doesn’t have to deal with me bumping around the house messing up her “stuff”. She needs her alone time too.
The boys have got a beautiful prime rib dinner ready to go for tomorrow with enough pie and cookies to spike your insulin levels off the chart.
Operations continue as usual. We’re looking to be en route to Baltimore on Christmas day and so it goes…
The radios are chirping holiday greetings with each passing arrangement and we’ll be changing crew soon after the holiday. A few tugs are decorated with (illegal) holiday lights (shhh) and the harbor is still recovering from the hurricane’s impact.
My crew and I wish all a safe and warm holiday. May our next “trip around the sun” bring better days.
11/7/12 The fuel terminals are slowly opening up more berths for transferring gasoline and heating oil to barges. Limited function is available, vapor recovery is sporadic. Electrical power to pump to barges is extremely limited. Even though more berths are open, few in any are completely operational. It’s downright eerie that the terminals usually brightly lit are dark and spooky with a minimum of lighting available.
As the Nor’easter begins to settle in around us, we are safely and securely moored in Carteret waiting to begin loading. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be here for the duration of this weather event.
We took the long way around Staten Island from Bay Ridge Anchorage this morning and the destruction of the southeastern coast of Staten Island and the lower Arthur Kill was widespread and nearly total. Any exposed marinas were basically wiped away. Their storage yards had boats of all types scattered like a toddler’s toy box. So many boats were perched on the bones of the old piers that line the lower Kills above Perth Amboy. It looks as if they were skewered and up on pikes. Debris, oil sheens and mangled unrecognizable structures were visible all along the lower end. I don’t need to post pictures since you can’t escape the photo record on TV or any of the social media.
11/6/12 Very little refining capacity is in use, the suppliers are mainly relying on pipeline transfers from the Colonial and Buckeye pipelines and off-loading refined cargoes from ships at anchor here in the harbor. After laying at anchor since 0200 on the 3rd, we’re slated to get a loading berth tomorrow morning and commence taking on 105,000 barrels of gasoline for a New England delivery. We’ll be getting underway after things settle down and not before.
We’re waiting for things to open up with precious little hope that it will be any time soon. If the article below is any indication, it’s going to be a while before NY Harbor is moving much product at all.
Excerpts Re-posted without permission;
Phillips 66′s 238,000 barrel-per-day Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey, has already had its power restored, but a source familiar with plant operations told Reuters on Friday that the plant could be weeks away from restarting, due to heavy damage caused by salt-water flooding.
“A decision regarding when the refinery will be able to resume crude oil processing operations will be made once all assessments are complete,” the company said on its website on Saturday.
Phillips 66 said it had resumed fuel supplies “on a limited basis” from its Linden refined products terminal to wholesale customers late on Friday.
As of Friday, Hess Corp’s nearby 70,000-bpd plant in Port Reading, New Jersey, remained shut down. A company spokesman, Lorrie Hecker, did not report any change early on Saturday but said the company would give an update on operations later in the day.
Hess has used generator power to resume operating Port Reading’s truck rack, and marine operations there have resumed on a limited basis while an assessment of the factory is carried out.
State and federal authorities have been accelerating efforts to remedy fuel shortages. On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a waiver to the Jones Act, allowing foreign oil tankers from the Gulf of Mexico to enter Northeastern ports; Cuomo, New York’s Governor, waived tax regulations on tankers in New York harbor; the Department of Energy lent 2 million gallons of heating fuel from its strategic reserve to the military; the Environmental Protection Agency waived clean diesel requirements in New York City and Pennsylvania. An earlier clean diesel waiver was issued for New Jersey.
Colonial Pipeline, a key oil product supply line to the Northeast, has resumed shipments at 700,000 bpd, or near full capacity.
“Gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel and home heating oil are being resupplied, but until customer terminals fully recover, it won’t be at the normal rates. Nevertheless, Colonial’s main pipeline into northern New Jersey is back at full operational capability, bringing nearly 30 million gallons of fuel a day to that region,” the company said on its website.
Buckeye Partners said on Friday its main terminal in Linden was reconnected to its power supply and fully operational by noon on Friday; and Magellan Midstream Partners restored full operations in Delaware and Connecticut.
Below is a list of refineries, fuel pipelines and ports impacted by the storm:
COMPANY PLANT CAPACITY (bpd) STATUS PBF Energy Delaware City, Delaware 190,000 Operations normal. PBF Energy Paulsboro, New Jersey 180,000 Operations normal. Hess Corp Port Reading, New Jersey 70,000 Shut down. Remained without power as of November 2. Truck racks and marine terminal operating on limited basis with generator power. Philadelphia Energy Solutions Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 330,000 Reduced rates. Both crude sections restarted at Point Breeze as of October 31. Company said on November 2 it would be back to normal schedules this weekend after delays in crude deliveries. Monroe Energy Trainer, Pennsylvania 185,000 Operated throughout storm. Back in full service as of November 1 though not at full rates due to maintenance overhaul. Phillips 66 Linden, New Jersey 238,000 Shut down. Could be weeks away from restarting due to heavy damage from salt-water flooding, source familiar said. Phillips 66 says power has been restored, but has not provided timeline for restart. Imperial Oil Ltd Sarnia, Ontario 121,000 Returning to normal service as of October 31 after power outage.
EIA REPORT ON STATUS OF TERMINALS
COMPANY LOCATION CAPACITY STATUS Colonial Pipeline Linden NJ Open 11/3/2012 Hess Groton CT 812,185 Shut 11/3/2012 IMTT Bayonne NJ 16,000,000 Shut; expected to reopen by next week-Macquarie 11/3/2012 Kinder Morgan Carteret NJ Seen ready to begin petroleum product movements in 24-48 hr 11/3/2012 Kinder Morgan Perth Amboy NJ 3,543,388 Seen ready to begin petroleum product movements in 24-48 hr 11/3/2012 Kinder Morgan Philadelphia PA 11,878,462 Open 11/3/2012 Kinder Morgan Staten Island NY 2,959,700 Seen ready to begin petroleum product movements in 24-48 hr 11/3/2012 Magellan Midstream Wilmington DE 2,842,000 Open 11/3/2012 Magellan Midstream New Haven CT 4,000,000 Open 11/3/2012 Motiva Bridgeport CT 1,290,000 Open with reduced operations 11/3/2012 Motiva Brooklyn NY Shut 11/3/2012 Motiva Long Island NY 222,000 Shut 11/3/2012 Motiva Newark NJ 1,113,000 Shut 11/3/2012 Motiva New Haven CT 1,600,000 Open 11/3/2012 Motiva Sewaren NJ 5,000,000 Shut 11/3/2012 Motiva Baltimore MD 1,100,000 Open 11/3/2012 Motiva Fairfax VA 360,000 Open 11/3/2012 Motiva Richmond VA 210,000 Open 11/3/2012 Motiva Providence RI 1,458,000 Open 11/3/2012 NuStar Energy Paulsboro NJ 90,800 Open 11/3/2012 NuStar Energy Linden NJ 2 of 8 truck bays open 11/3/2012 NuStar Energy Virginia Beach VA 40,000 Open 11/3/2012 NuStar Energy Dumfries VA Open 11/3/2012 NuStar Energy Piney Point MD 5,403,000 Open 11/3/2012 NuStar Energy Andrews AFB MD Open 11/3/2012 NuStar Energy Baltimore MD 832,000 Open 11/3/2012 Phillips 66 Riverhead NY Open 11/3/2012 Phillips 66 Tremley Point NJ Shut 11/3/2012 Hess Brooklyn, NY Expected to open soon 11/3/2012
FROM DOE: Global Partners Inwood NY Expected to Restart 11/2 11/3/12 Motiva Long Island NY Shut 11/3/12 Global Partners Newburgh NY Open, Expecting Deliveries 11/3 11/3/12 Global Partners Oyster Bay NY Open 11/3/12 Castle Port Morris Bronx NY Open 11/3/12 Gulf Oil New Haven CT Open 11/3/12 Schildwachter Oil Bronx NY Open 11/3/12 Hess Pennsauken NJ Open 11/3/12
OTHER TERMINALS IN NEW YORK HARBOR AREA
COMPANY LOCATION CAPACITY STATUS BP Products North America, Inc. New York, NY Harbor 53,000 Unknown BP Products North America, Inc. Carteret, NJ 1,445,000 Unknown Buckeye Terminals, LLC New Jersey, NY Harbor 4,000,000 Unknown Carbo Industries, Inc. Long Island, NY 5,900,000 Unknown Castle Port Morris Terminal New York, NY Harbor 846,000 Unknown Center Point Terminal Company New Jersey, NY Harbor 1,018,300 Unknown CITGO Petroleum Corp. Linden, NJ 3,669,250 Unknown Getty Terminals Corp. New Jersey, NY Harbor 1,018,300 Unknown Getty Terminals Corp. Bronx, NY 23,000 Unknown Global Companies, LLC Long Island, NY 104,200 Unknown Global Companies, LLC Long Island, NY 325,700 Unknown Gulf Oil, Limited Partnership Linden, NJ 568,374 Unknown Hess Corporation New York, NY Harbor 533,933 Shut Hess Corporation New York, NY Harbor 646,334 Shut Hess Corporation New Jersey, NY Harbor 5,961,000 Shut Hess Corporation New Jersey, NY Harbor 4,900 Shut Hess Corporation New Jersey, NY Harbor 579,619 Shut Hess Corporation New Jersey, NY Harbor 608,000 Shut Hess Corporation New Jersey, NY Harbor 1,689,000 Shut Kinder Morgan New York, NY Harbor 2,959,700 Unknown Kinder Morgan Liquids Terminals, LLC New Jersey, NY Harbor 7,542,619 Unknown Lorco Petroleum Services New Jersey, NY Harbor 476,190 Unknown Metro Terminals Corp. Brooklyn, NY 207,000 Unknown Motiva Enterprises, LLC New York, NY Harbor 50,000 Unknown Motiva Enterprises, LLC Long Island, NY 222,000 Shut NuStar Energy, LP New Jersey, NY Harbor 4,116,000 Unknown NuStar Energy, LP New Jersey, NY Harbor 340,000 Unknown Sprague Energy Corporation Long Island, NY 80,263 Unknown Sunoco Logistics Partners, LP New Jersey, NY Harbor 505,457 Unknown
PIPELINES, PORTS, TERMINALS, KEY POWER RESTARTS
* Colonial Pipeline, the 825,000-bpd conduit that ships fuel from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast, said it had restarted a large section of Line 3, its Northeast mainline that runs from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Linden, New Jersey, on Thursday. It also resumed deliveries at its key Linden junction to a connected Buckeye terminal.
“While Colonial’s pipelines and facilities were spared significant damage, many of the terminals in the Linden area will require days if not weeks to fully recover,” it said.
* Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, one of a handful of companies operating dozens of oil terminals and storage tanks that are critical links in the supply chain, said it should resume shipments from its New York and New Jersey terminals in the next day or two. Other operators have indicated they should be able to resume shipments as soon as power is restored.
* The storm damaged four diesel storage tanks at Motiva Enterprise’s terminal at Sewaren, New Jersey, and two of them leaked fuel into the Arthur Kill waterway, which separates Staten Island, New York, from New Jersey.
* Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that all of its New York borough terminals were still down. Its Shell-branded network was 84 percent open in Connecticut, 47 percent open in New Jersey, 62 percent open in New York and 83 percent open in Pennsylvania.
* NuStar Energy said on Wednesday that its Paulsboro, New Jersey, terminal was back in operation, but that damage assessment showed significant high-water damage to the marine and storage terminal. In Maryland, NuStar’s Piney Point, Andrews AFB and Baltimore terminals were all back in operation, the company said on its website. NuStar said its Virginia Beach terminal was back in operation, as was its Dumfries terminal, also in Virginia.
* Buckeye Partners said its main New York Harbor area terminal in Linden, New Jersey, had been reconnected to its power supply and was fully operational by noon on Friday. As of November 3, Buckeye has restarted all of its operations, according to DOE figures. The company is supplying jet fuel to the three airports in the New York City area.
* Hess Corp’s Port Reading terminal has used generators to resume truck rack operations, and marine operations have continued on a limited basis. Rack operations have also resumed at the company’s Bronx and Roseton, New York, terminals, but operations at the company’s other New York Harbor area terminals remain suspended due to flooding and power outages.
* Phillips 66′s Riverhead Terminal on Long Island has reopened and its Linden, New Jersey, terminal reopened at 2 p.m. on Friday.
(Reporting by Joshua Schneyer, Janet McGurty, Edward McAllister, Selam Gebrekidan and Jonathan Spicer in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)