Monday, December 5, 2016

Pollution, Pollution

First, read this.

The Navy was quite serious about all that: If a ship pumped oil into the inland waters of the U.S., the chief engineer could expect to pay a honking steep fine. They also were sensitive about doing it near other countries.

So anyway, there was a DDG in port in Miami or Port Everglades. There was water in the bilges that had an oily sheen on the water. The ship arranged for a tanker truck and began to pump out the bilges. It was a slow process.

One of the boiler chief petty officers got impatient. So around 0300 or so, he lit off the bilge eductor pump and pumped the bilges over the side. Then he had the other pump secured and the hoses stowed.

The Chief Engineer came down into the spaces just after Quarters. He saw that the bilges were dry. Now, this particular CHENG wasn't a dummy. He knew about what the level of the bilges was and how fast the pump to the truck was working. He knew that there was no way in hell that the bilges should be dry, for the pump had quite a bit of head and it wasn't at all efficient.

So he went looking for answers. He got them. He next went looking for the chief with blood in his eye. He pulled the chief into the Oil Lab, ordered everyone else to leave the space, shut the door and asked the "what the fuck" question. The chief shrugged it off and pointed out that the bilges had to be pumped before lighting fires and that the pump to the truck wasn't going to get it done. The Engineer asked if the chief had noticed that there was a motherfucking Coast Guard station on the other side of the harbor, if the chief was aware that the fines for intentionally discharging oily waste into an inland waterway were between $25,000 and $50,000 and that as the ship's engineer, that the Engineer would be dinged for that whether or not he had given orders for it or even had known about it. (Supposedly nearly every third word was either "fuck" or a variant thereof, so the question took a little longer to ask.)

The boiler technician chief said that he hadn't thought about that.

The Engineer then looked straight at him and said something along the lines of that he (Engineer) wouldn't have to pay it, because if it came to that, he was going to shoot the chief and "they can't make you pay no fines while you're in prison."

The destroyer left port the next morning. The Coast Guard never found out. And the boiler chief petty officer was real careful not to piss off the Engineer.