Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011


As the Navy prepares for the upcoming commissioning of PCU California (SSN 781) and supports the beginning of the "two submarine starts per year" era, PCU Mississippi (SSN 782) passed an important milestone when she was "floated off" at Electric Boat:

I never liked being in drydock that much, especially after my boat was shaken by two earthquakes while in one in June 1992. Since it's been a couple years since we last discussed it, I'll ask again for the new readers: What are your favorite drydock stories?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shaking hands with my relief after closing out San 3 on a Sunday (and feeling something sticky on the TLI)

10/15/2011 5:01 PM

Anonymous Stsc said...

Some memories involving drydock:

Closing out the mud tank knowing it was THE last tank I had to check before we left dry dock. Not as much fun inside when I found out some of the touch up paint was still wet...another uniform destroyed.

Waiting for the anchor to drop in the dry dock basin after they had slacked it...when ithit the ground it was like an explosion of dust and rust. Putting it back was problematic months later.

World power going down and systems in lay-up was a nice milestone but it was bittersweet because we knew we would be there for awhile.

Mustering my division of 15 for a few weeks and only having 2 guys in front of me...everyone else was TAD underway or in school.

Combined picnics with the yard were actually a pretty good time. Drinking some beer while talking with the ZoneE's helped smooth out some production speedbumps.

Getting rid of the hard hats / safety glasses / foamies at the end was a big relief.

10/15/2011 5:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went to my first boat when it was in drydock in 88. Left me last boat when it was in drydock in 08. Both were at PSNS, one drydock apart.

Many SRAs on 688s. Damn TLTAHS was in one MBT port side.

Seeing the 698 heeling to the port side after some blocks came loose in PH.

Spending time in a lot of tanks looking for sound shorts.

Dragging nubs thru tanks fro qualifications.

In 88, when they drained a drydock, all the salmon that were in it. SY workers were getting free fish.

In 08, when they drained a drydock, all the salmon that were in it and the State wildlife there to gather up and release back in to Sinclair Inlet. $1000 fine if caught taking fish then.

Alot of BS with going in and out of drydock.


10/15/2011 6:09 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

During a duty day tour of the dock, watched a dock worker on a bobcst push sandblast debris into piles. by the time I finished the walk around one of the piles was smoking because he had exposed the conductors of an extension cord and covered the break with grit and paint chips.

10/15/2011 6:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best memory of being in the yard....LEAVING!!!

10/15/2011 7:12 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

Sitting in the EDO trailer next to SEADRAGON in DD at PHNS during the filming of TORA TORA TORA and watching a "Japanese Zero" wiggle its wings between the two cranes on the wing wall of the dock. Thankful I did not have to make a log entry about a plane colliding with the refueling enclosure over the RC.
During that same overhaul, watching a welder weld a hull patch on first shift, get the patch radiographed on second shift, and then ground out on third shift so the welder could try again on first shift. This lasted about a week before the yard changed welders.

10/15/2011 7:19 PM

Blogger Erica R. said...

Walking off the ship for the last time. I got out of the Navy while we were in dry dock and it was a huge relief.

It was kind of cool to see the screws, and I really appreciated the awesomeness of the carrier. The thing is huge. Anyway, never walked under the ship. Did not like the idea of having something so large hanging over my head.

10/15/2011 7:29 PM

Anonymous RET Fwd ETCS said...

As DCPO, leaving the trailer for my 0300 tour, only to find myself INSIDE the radiography boundary! I was a fwd ET. I'm not supposed to get zapped. The yardbird on watch there nearly shat himself. Apparently they were using mucho zoomies in the building next to me on the next PCU hull. The critique was a blast.

10/15/2011 7:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reporting to my boat at PSNS on Halloween, I ended up with duty on Thanksgiving. Discovered two yardbirds "applying SHT" in a shack on the bow with a cooler full of beer and food, and a portable TV watching the games. Not sure what their OT rate was, but they didn't do a damn thing all day.

Paint shop guys would bring paint to the engine room in paper cups - so they would have to leave to get paint more often. Total slugs.

Having moves from Arco to the pier scheduled for 0330 for some asinine reason.

10/15/2011 9:21 PM

Blogger jr said...

As much as I hated drydock...

Our DMP coordinator (former nuc MM LDO) was standing SDO when he calls away a bomb in AMR. Of course everyone leaves (except the SRO stuck in temp maneuvering) and the fire dept, police, everyone in the world shows up at the brow.

The skipper shows up and asks the cop who was in charge, "are you going to keep me off of my ship?" and gets let past the line. He comes back up with the "bomb"; a makeshift pipe-with-a-hook welded on that SY workers used to hold welding rods. There were probably 100 exactly like it that went on and off the boat every day.

He heard about that one a few more times.

10/15/2011 10:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Touring the RC and finding an empty 6 pack of Reindeer beer inside a contaminated grinding containment.

10/16/2011 6:18 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In MINSY, 1979 or so, sanitaries wouldn't blow. Called base public works and asked if they had a plumber who snake a drain in the drydock. Plumber show up in a van, we point out the fitting on the topside fitting, and he goes, "You want to snake a SUB?" He called his boss, who OK'd it. It was a first for both him and us.

Pulled out a sneaker. Unfortuneatly, no identifying info on it. Different viewpoint on that for the former owner, I suspect.

10/16/2011 9:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

60+ straight nights without a day off at PSNS just prior to ER steaming. We weren't permitted to do any work after 2000, but also couldn't sleep. After a couple of nights playing cards in crews mess we were made to spend the bulk of our time in the ER. You'd be surprised at how many places one could find to sleep in the ER of a 637 class.

10/16/2011 9:48 AM

Blogger dumpy duluth said...

seeing the parche hanging out in drydock uncovered.

10/16/2011 10:10 AM

Anonymous PortTackStart said...

Ah, KBay drydock...TRF tagout team using the TUM more as a suggestion than a guideline; TRF workers sitting around doing nothing for entire shifts unless called out on it; being woken up at all times of the night for hotwork permission...even though all the shops swore up and down that all the hotwork sites had been reviewed by 2200; thousands and thousands of WAFs, tags, QA forms, etc... to review and sign.

Did see some interesting things, though. A bird flew right into the side of the hull and dropped down to the floor. It stumbled over to a puddle near the wall, tried to take a few drinks, then gave up and died. The inside portion of the vertical stabilizer was not how I imagined it. And it was always a rush (a hot, sweat, uncomfortable rush) to review hotwork sites inside the MBTs at the very top, right by the vents. Sharp slopes leading to big drops...

One of the stupidest YFG moments I can recall right now is TRF was doing some hotwork in a MBT on a bulkhead, so we had a tank watch and two fire watches, one on either side of the bulkhead. Job gets finished or the worker ends his shift or something, so the fire watch on the worker side of the bulkhead and the tank watch up and leave after 30 minutes...meanwhile this other dude is still in the tank watching a bulkhead with no idea that everyone else left. Fast forward a few hours and someone asks the section leader 'hey, where's xxx?' Section leader looks at his little watchbill and says 'oh, he's with yyy and zzz for some hotwork in one of the MBTs'. 'But yyy and zzz have been running around up here since lunch and I haven't seen xxx' So we send a guy down there and sure enough, C/T the SOM and JFMM xxx had been alone in a tank doing his job, staring (pointlessly) at a bulkhead for the past several hours...including through lunch.

yyy and zzz, YFGs!

10/16/2011 10:31 AM

Anonymous Former MM1/SS said...

Second the comment re: Parche exposed, also a solo walkaround on the Seawolf (575) on a weekend after security was dropped. Also quite memorable was observing removal of a number of Rx heads, and the view into the interior. Finally, transfer of Honolulu's bow section to the Frankencisco.

10/16/2011 12:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

- Collecting the nubs of doobies left in the bottom of the drydock (this was last year in Bangor)

- Beer bottles found in tanks (PSNS)

- Gay porn mag found in the fwd MBT (ARCO in SD)

- Looking for the SDO one night and found him in drydock head wacking off...only guy that night who had a good plan! (Bangor)

- Walking nubs through drydock for quals and then telling them they have to get back in the ship without crossing the brow (of course I knew the tubes were open). (all)

- Dropping the old white navy coffee cups and seeing if the broke. (ARCO in SD as a young POOD)

10/16/2011 4:07 PM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

As a JO I got to close out every single ballast tank, the dome and the mud tank.

On one boat we bled down the HP air banks via EMBT blow once the basin was pumped down. Sounds more exciting than it is.

The last boat was on the blocks in PH for the big October quake of '06.

Best memory? Watching the basin flood so we could leave.

10/16/2011 5:38 PM

Anonymous LT L said...

Ha! I was a Parche JO during decom and remember chasing all the gawkers away ("watchu lookin' at? Isn't there a tagout that needs to be verified somewhere on your boat?") after they dropped the hula skirt.

My best memory was walking from the ferry terminal to DD5 to start my day and seeing most of the crew against the lifelines on the port wingwall staring at the boat. They cut her in half forward of the RC and pulled her apart overnight; everyone was muttering "it can't hurt us again" – one of the happiest days of my life.

FWIW, I was the last SDO on 683, and PSNS didn't want the SDO keys, so I took them home. They currently sit on my desk, and when anyone asks about them I do the whole "these are the keys to the entire nuclear submarine" bit from Crimson Tide, and add "and this key – this key is the most important of them all. This key opens every head at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard."


10/16/2011 6:58 PM

Anonymous T said...

I too have had the luxury of closing out every MBT, Sonar Dome, and mud tank on the boat, some twice.

Best part of that is when the Yardees removed all of the scaffolding but left up all of the light strings. Getting some of those down was not safe.

The Best, and most embarassing story was actually in EHW right after Dry Dock as SDO. They were doing the things they do there from about 7 to 1830, so we weren't able to take care of the normal day to day shit that you have to take care. On top of that, there were lots of shipyard workers waiting to come down to start work. Trying to fit everything in, I took the DCPO's word that he walked the lines and everything was alright to pump sans. Everything was alright up to the truck... but the valve on the truck was shut. A 1MC called me topside and I came up the hatch to a 20 foot shit geyser.

I estimated it to be about 5 gallons ;-)

10/16/2011 8:46 PM

Anonymous STS2 said...

USS Louisville DMP in 1995, we watched a Pearl Harbor yardbird climb into a ballast tank every day around 9am, and he'd come out about 1pm...fucker was in there passed out. When we did the closeouts of the MBT's, we found empty bottles of booze!

10/17/2011 6:25 AM

Blogger Bull Snipe said...

New Construction drydocking for Tunny between sea trials in Pascagoula, MS. I was the DCA and the docking officer. We were to be tandem-docked with overhauling Aspro (as I recall). We came in and set down on the blocks. Divers said we were on the blocks in the middle, but one inch off in the bow and one inch off in the stern. Shipyard said "'re too far foward." We and Aspro flooded back up, and they pulled us back one inch, and then pumped down (second time). Divers went down and said we were on the blocks in the middle, on the blocks aft, but two inches off the blocks forward. "Aha" said the shipyard, "We pulled the wrong way." So we flooded up (second time) and jacked two inches forward and pumped down (third time). Divers went down and said we were on the blocks in the middle, on the blocks forward, and two inches off the blocks aft. We flooded up the third time (with Aspro) and left the dock. The docking plan, made on the ways, was wrong. There's no way to fix it waterborne. On week later we went into dock and the divers shimmed us onto the blocks. We were on Rev 1 of the docking plan without ever being Navy property. The upshot was that the centers of the frames lay on a banana-shaped line.

On commissioning the crew broke a banana-shaped flag. Didn't look like a banana though. The commodore was not amused.

10/17/2011 3:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newcon at EB on Dallas as a shiny-faced Ensign. At one point, the walk from the office barge to the boat required that we traverse the drydock that Ohio (5 years in newcon) was sitting in. I had my own solution for that.

One day the COB came up to me as I was walking to the boat and said, "Mr. X, I've seen you several times coming to and from the boat, and I've noticed that you always walk around the Ohio instead of crossing over. Why is that...?"

My simple reply: "Because, COB, I've never set foot on a fucking boomer, and I never plan to."

We became fast friends after that...and I noticed ever-after that the COB never crossed over the Ohio either.

And ten years I never set foot on a boomer.

10/17/2011 6:48 PM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

You'd be surprised at how many places one could find to sleep in the ER of a 637 class.

No I wouldn't.

DMP, we had been getting ready to blow resin for almost two months along with other work, none of the nukes had taken a day off in that time, and we get a new forward Nav ET1 standing barge watch. He sees all the guys running around without fresh stencils on their dungarees and starts directing guys to stencil their pants, to the point of stopping them on the deck of the drydock barge and handing them a stencil pencil.

Must have been at least 20 stencil pencils in PHNSY DD 1 for a while. ENG made him stop when one EM pulled off his pants to stencil them (was going commando.)

After that the ET1 was known as, "Stencil Cop."

10/17/2011 7:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drydocking richard b russell in 1982 at mare island i remember seeing seawolf next door and wondering what those things were she had under her hull?

10/17/2011 7:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drop testing various articles was always fun. Other than that, Dry Dock pretty much sucked like any SRA.

10/18/2011 11:04 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon10/17/2011 6:48 PM

You weren't qualified to do anything on the Ohio and you're making boomer jokes with the COB!?

BS. Any COB worth his paycheck would have let you know what a loser you are.

Sounds like a real wannabe. Do you have a toy submarine in your bathtub?

10/18/2011 1:26 PM

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10/18/2011 1:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ARCO gate guards would regularly pass out during the night watches, which pissed off our mid-watch watchstanders. One of our E-divers finally got sick of it and swiped their radio and log book while they were passed out, then headed up to Maneuvering for his mid-watch. At 0800 the CMC for them came over and started yelling up a storm, threatening to put the entire boat on Report for theft. Our DCPO, a 1st class A-Ganger calmly asked the CMC how they had gone missing in the first place. The CMC sputtered something and the DCPO replied that if he tried to do anything he would have the entire ARCO duty section, and the CMC all reported to Squadron since obviously they knew about the problem and had chosen to ignore it. The CMC never got within twenty feet of our boat again, and their guys magically started staying awake through the night.

10/18/2011 2:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

CGN-41 in PSNS drydock, 1996 timeframe. I remember we always seemed to be short alarm modules for various things, and it was tough to get them through supply.

I remarked to a fellow EM that there were probably some on one of the decommed subs in the next drydock, so we walked over in the middle of the night and made off with a nice full bag of alarm modules that would never have been used again anyway.

We never had a shortage after that, which was nice.

10/18/2011 3:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was on Dallas in DD in Groton, standing EDPO. At the end of the day, most of the crew was gone. Sitting in Chief's quarters as fire in AMR was called away. In a flash I was aft and down the steps while grabbing fire extinguisher along the way. I was first in the smoke and also first to realize that it wasn't a fire.
A YB in the basin had driven a cherry picker over a ventilation hose that had been connected to a ships tank that was being ventilated as the tank was being scrapped and prepared for painting. The tank was SAN #1.
The 'smoke' was a dried shit cloud that purged from the sanitary tank manway as the tank was pressurized because the YB hooked the hose up to the discharge of the blower vice suction.
I was covered in it.

10/18/2011 4:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

PCU NORTH CAROLINA. I'm the duty officer the day before we flood down the dry dock for the first time and the only dolphin-wearing officer onboard when we have to close out the Bow Plane space.... the middle of a torrential thunderstorm...

...after dark.

The bubbas used paint that took longer than normal to dry, so we had to wait an extra 6 hours to do it.

Me and the 275+ SY Bubba climb those vertical metal ladders with rungs that are less than an inch in diameter (with no safety railing behind us), weasel around these areas that defied the normal flexibility of a human being.

The next day, all the officers were in the wardroom while we flooded down, watching Master and Commander.

After that, the CO instituted some Standing Orders for Bell Orders.

AIII - Come up on the wind.
AIIIC - Come up on the wind, smartly.

10/18/2011 5:47 PM

Blogger Thomas said...

@ Anon 1624- you win the internets, man. That beats standing next to a guy who just flapped himself (my worst personal horror story).

10/18/2011 6:01 PM

Anonymous Nancy said...

As a sailor in 1982 (?) I participated in a resin discharge at NSSF New London during what had to be the coldest winter ever. During the hydro a flange leaked by and its containment bag broke, spilling gallons of resin-contaminated water all over the concrete floor of the drydock. This had to be surveyed and then chipped up and bagged as waste. What a nightmare.

A few years ago as a port engineer, I was the assistant PE on a drydocked LMSR in Boston. I was dressing for work in my rental apartment one morning and turned on the local news, only to learn that my ship was ablaze...the principal PE hadn't called me and so that's how I found out. Rushed over there and fought my way past cop cars fire trucks and news vans. Was glad to finally see that place in my rear view mirror!

10/18/2011 10:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several of us standing on the EB dry dock gate watching a 637 headed south, while dancing and singing "See You in September". My only good dry dock/EB shipyard story.

10/19/2011 10:10 AM

Anonymous Former COB/ANAV/CWO4 said...

My first submarine docking as the Docking Officer on ARCO ARDM-5 and the first docking of R/P F.L.I.P. (Floating Labratory Inverted Platform) in the ARCO.

10/20/2011 5:32 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not every day that you hear the words "dried shit cloud" used in a sentence.

10/20/2011 6:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'smoke' was a dried shit cloud that purged from the sanitary tank manway as the tank was pressurized because the YB hooked the hose up to the discharge of the blower vice suction. I was covered in it.

I'll bet the ensuing Field Day REALLY sucked!

10/20/2011 9:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon 10/18/2011 1:26 PM:

The COB asked me a simple question, and I answered it very truthfully & matter-of-factly. No joking involved.

P.S. You wouldn't be a boomer fag by any chance?

10/20/2011 11:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


10/20/2011 4:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got to the NYC SSN-696 as a NUB the day it was being pulled out of PHNSY. Later reassigned to the Bremerton while it was still in DD2 in PHNSY. That boat ended up drydocking in just about every DD on the west coast for various different reasons. We made a ditty based off the preamble to Star Trek; "Drydock, these are the voyages of the USS Bremerton, its five year mission, to explore strange new drydocks, to seek out new drydocks and old drydocks, to drydock where no one has drydocked before" Cut in the whoosh as the begining credits roll.

10/21/2011 7:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anon 10/20/2011 11:22 AM

Your so called answer to the COB was ridiculous. You state that you were a butter bar NUB so of course you had no experience on a T-Hull.

You had no experience on anything.

You went on say that the COB became your best bud because you were obviously so incredibly cool because of your comment

Hilarious to anyone who has actually qualified on a boat.

Now you are calling ME names! Why? To deflect attention away from YOUR obviously BS story?

10/24/2011 4:37 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lighten up, Francis.

Never expected the COB to ask me why I walked around the Ohio, but I gave a simple answer: the truth. Beginning, middle, and end of story. That he also chose to walk around the boomer is just the way it is. If that over-impresses you, well, it must suck to be you.

If you're not a boomer fag, I apologize. But if the shit fits, wear it...princess.

10/26/2011 3:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No worries. You definitely don’t impress me.

You must read a lot of Navy blogs to get the jargon kind of right.

10/26/2011 10:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you have any idea how humorous it is for me to be reading your comments, knowing the whole while the full truth of the matter...?

Dallas' COB at the time was (and you will not find this on Google) Paul "PJ" Melher. His relief was Jim Dunn...Dallas' "A" Gang LPO who made the grade. You won't find that on Google either, as all of this was about 30 years ago...which makes me wonder why you've had this way out-of-place over-reaction to one of many, many stories that happened so long ago.

As I couldn't help but wonder what set you off in the first place, the only natural conclusion was that I'd offended your clearly very dear emotions for boomer fagdom.

Go get yourself one of Joel's "You can call me a fag...but call me at home" jacket patches and then please, for the love of heaven, STFU.

10/27/2011 8:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

10/15 @6:09 and I saw the same thing.

It was sometime in the '90's ('94 or 95) and I was in officer training in the wardroom in Pearl. Topside watch calls down and says something about about a sub (Bremerton I believe) falling over and the floating drydock (ARCO if I remember correctly) sinking.

XO rolls his eyes and sends a senior JO up to see what topside is smoking. Turns out that they pulled one side of the blocks the wrong way on the drydock floor and the sub tilted over as they were pumping out the drydock. The drydock had to do an emergency flood and refloat the sub.

We gave the topside props - he was spot on with his description of what was happening.

11/03/2011 6:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

703 closing out from DMP in Kittery '89. If we didn't make it on sked then we were trapped in dock over Christmas & NY, nobody wanted that. Temp approx -10, can't wear coats since too bulky in closing out tanks. So it's the last tank aft, shipyard supe says 'sir, I personally inspected this tank and it's good to go. welders are here, sign on the line and let's get it done.' I was tempted, but remembered how many times this guy had bagged us already.

So 'just to verify' I stick my head in the tank and see... one of those huge government issue metal desks still sitting there, was the 'check in' station for all the work that had been going on in aft MBTs. Some choice words followed.

I made the supe stand under the hatch while we did a proper closeout, and everything we found we tossed down from up above. It rained welding rod stubs, cigar butts, paint cans & brushes. He was pretty embarassed at least.

Also had a fun time in the forward tanks. Found an unpainted area, but none of us could get in there to paint it, too tight. So we yell down 'we need a short guy, like a midget'. Sure as shit, about 15 minutes later this little guy climbs in and gets to work. I figured PNSY had a shop full of short people (got no reason...) for just this type of thing. Guy probably drew extra union pay for his special skills. Whatever, I was glad to see him. Got me out of that cold black hole (but enough about my wife...).

11/07/2011 9:59 PM

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11/08/2011 6:43 AM

Anonymous dirty blue-shirt said...

Anon 11/03/2011 6:58 PM, that would have been the Bremmerton in late '93, and the drydock was the Competent AFDM-6. I remember this only because I was topside hauling shore power after our return from UNITAS when we started hearing the alarms go off across the harbor.

11/10/2011 4:36 AM

Anonymous nike free cheap said...

Best memory of being in the yard.

11/10/2011 10:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember being in Delta Pier DD in the early 90's with USS Henry M Jackson (SSBN-730) and having just gone to bed after SRW watch. 2am or so and we get a high temp alarm on one of the "big ones" on board. Don't know how many of you know the procedure of jettison of said "big one" but it involves listing the ship and lobbing it out with gas generator. However, we are in drydock. Duty Weapons Op was visibly shaking as we were waiting for backup reports from roving watch, and our CO literally drove to the boat in his underwear and drove as fast as that POS Chrysler K car would go. Ended up being a slowly failing RTD that strangely mimicked a rising tube temperature. Lots of shaken people after that.

11/14/2011 11:00 PM

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1/05/2012 12:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Resin discharge on the 708 in the resolute in 91 in Norfolk as a nub. Sucked as I got put on every gauge watch there was. We did something like a month straight of 12 hour days and I remember how whole aft end was ready to kill each other.

At PNSY (New Hampshire) we had DMP.

I remember we had to time the tides as they're pretty drastic on the river so we were out there in the middle of the night freezing our asses off on a shutdown plant as ship was on diesel. Classic case of everyone just standing around waiting for tugs to put us into place to move into the dry dock.

What I remember most about PSNY was how were were always cold in the winter and the barge felt like a freezer on duty days.

1/07/2012 3:00 PM


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