It’s coming up on three weeks since I started working on the Gulf Reliance, an Articulated Tug and Barge or ATB, and I’m really liking the work. It’s all kinds of new experiences, which is great, because I was really ready for a change of pace.
The ATB’s are a pretty cool deal, they are essentially a small tanker ship, but they are still a tugboat with a barge held together by a locking pin system that is a very interesting system. It’s basically hydraulic rams that have teeth on the end that mesh up with corresponding teeth on the barge. This is what holds the whole thing together, no lines involved.
The boat is just the right ticket for me career-wise, it’s 10,000 horsepower is good to get me the sea time I need to get unlimited horsepower licensing in a year or two. The CAT 3612 engines are huge! 8 feet tall by 6 feet wide by 20 feet long. The reduction gears are jumbo versions as well, nearly as big as the engines were on the last ship I worked on.
The crew are all nice to work with, professional and knowledgable, so that is a big relief. It is strange to work on a boat with a crew of only 10, I often times go hours without seeing another soul, which is very different than what I’m used to. I have no complaints.
Scheduling for these boats is 28 days on and off, which is just about right in my experience. Because I’m an engineering trainee, I am rotating in the middle of everyone else, so that I can work two weeks with each of the chief’s. This is good, because I get to meet and work with both crews and learn from them all.
I’m really excited about my new career here with Crowley, I think it’ll be awesome for a long time to come.