Port State visit

From: Mate Horizon Hawk
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2011 12:20 AM
Subject: Hawk V-043. Ningbo, Shanghai and a Port State Visit


It was a big mistake. My fault for giving the Chinese pilot Double-Extra-Strength-Norbert-Magic! Coffee… It’s a special brew that kills most people. Leaves them thrashing about on deck, foaming at the mouth, speaking in tongues until their heads explode. It can be very messy.

But anyway, I was tired and wasn’t thinking straight. Three hours into a four hour up-river transit and time was slowwwinnggg dowwwnnn. Especially as the day had started at 0116 and we had not recovered from Ningbo the day before.

The Double-Extra-Strength-Magic-Brew instantly transformed our cute, cuddly, tea sipping, panda bear pilot into the nastiest alien creature ever to pilot a ship… He turned green, got a lot taller, moved faster and yelled much, much louder -“Haad a Pot!”, “Fuu Ahead!” as darted by me in a blur… “Midsip!”, “Haad a Stabbad!” his entire body was transforming… “Stop! STOP! STOP! ENGINE!” he screamed waving his tentacles about… Then he turned, hurled his empty cup to the deck, fixed his yellow eyes on me and screamed “Mo Kaffe!”, “MO KAFFE!!”, “MO KA FFEE !!! NOW!!!” out of his double beaked mouth…

I could see it was going to be one of those mornings…

Ningbo was bad enough.

Gangway was no sooner down when the military parade began. Green uniforms, blue uniforms, brass buttons, shiny shoes, pointy hats and lots of badges. (Badges, badges I don’t need no stinkin badges!) But here they are; Generals and Admirals covered in badges, goose stepping in unison up the gangway and on to the main deck. Instinctively my heels snapped together, my back went rigid as my right arm shot upwards all by itself. Left hand quickly pulled it down – Bad, bad, BAD right arm…

Lieutenant Miss Evil Lee – a recent graduate from the Chinese Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Torture Academy (School Motto: We deal out death. Death by a thousand paper cuts) – led the way - this was her big day. She and her comrades arrived with orders to find fault then seize our ship and enslave the crew…

“I want to see the every officers original credentials - NOW” she spat, as her thick glasses slid down her slightly up turned nose. (She Was Evil - but an attractive evil - in a Nazi-SS, Leather-Boots and whip kind of way. I could tell she liked me, they all do, can’t help themselves)… But she was on a mission. And so it began. Hours passed as dozens and dozens of documents were requested and produced. Miss Evil casting alluring glances at me as she could, while she and the Admirals went over everything with a fine toothed Chinese comb. “And now, where is your anti-fouling certificate?” She asked in a rather suggestive way - glancing at me.

Try as thy might, neither Sleepy or Grumpy could find this document… The panic and sheer terror plainly showed in their wide eyes and pale faces. – Oh Shit! We were going to be detained and likely spend our remaining years chained to the oar of a Chinese river galley – they thought.

Fortunately I was there and had the situation well under control. I casually turned and locked eyes with Miss Evil – a flash of my baby blues and she was putty in my hands… “We don’t need the Anti-fouling certificate” I said. “You don’t need the anti-fouling certificate” she said. “The Horizon Hawk and her crew are free to go” I said. “The Horizon Hawk and her crew are free to go” she said. “Norbert is a Sailors Sailor and Manly Man” I said. “Norbert is a Sailors Sailor and Manly Man” she purred…

And thus we departed Ningbo….

But that was 36 hours ago and this Shanghai right now. The pilot is climbing the bulkheads about ready to pop, oozing slime and hissing - “Fuu Powwa on Tusta”, “FUU ASSTEN NOW!!”…“Sen Sping Rines, Sen Sping Rines!” his spit flying everywhere… so disgusting…

Eventually - after a thousand engine orders and rudder commands - we managed to get docked in Shanghai. The pilot even made it down the gangway and into the waiting car before his head exploded… That was nice of him.

Looking forward to looking backwards at China.


What works better is loading up the galley with free cartons of cigarettes and Jim beam. It’s amazing how much faster you get clearance

That sort of thing doesn’t work so well in China.

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That’s true They probably get shot

I had some similar bad experiences in Shanghai with PSC. But I think West Africa is worse. Try going to Douala in Luanda or Lagos Nigeria. You need a lot of Marlboro, Johnny Walker and Coke to avoid forced issues. The port workers don’t care where they relieve themselves. Despite having a toilet on deck there was a lot of cleaning to do on departure as their deposits were everywhere that they had access to. Nice folk.

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Yep overseas its a bunch of crap They have us by the Kahunas, There’s no way that everything is perfect on a vessel, This guy in Columbia wrote us up For a couple of bad rust areas on a hatch to an above deck pump room. Ended up giving his whole family Cigs and Whiskey I cant remember which type. If you’re on a USA vessel you are screwed.

Mexico was the worst officials I ever encountered. Stole from each other the “Gifts we brought” Suez doesn’t sound much better, but never had the pleasure of Suez.

Maybe you should all report these incidents, current ones to MACN?

Too late.

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As a former Class Surveyor, I know that I can find anything I want to during a survey/inspection. I was still an active surveyor when the formal Port State Inspections for dry cargo vessels started back in the 90s. A lot of what the US Coast Guard would find were largely due to their misunderstanding of SOLAS and its applications. Often, when a Classed vessel was detained, I would then have to attend and deal with the deficiency. Most times a simple Statement of Fact report outlining the applicable SOLAS regulation would clear the vessel. Because of the urgency, these types of surveys were carried out on off hours, so at least I got some OT. . . . .