Running Off

Firstly I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Malaysians, and everyone else around the world a very Merry Christmas. Secondly, I would like to wish my son a happy 8th birthday, may all your long years to come bring you joy and happiness, wisdom and grit.

Running off” is an offshore term that refers to kicking someone out of employment, mainly because the person has very little care for the safety of others and not just himself, and for lazy bones. And the thing I hate most is having to run a person off the rig on Christmas Day. However, I guess in this case it would have been better for all had this person been run-off.

Part of his job as a is to perform the scheduled checks (weekly, monthly, quarterly) on all drilling equipment, including the derrick itself. Every other day, the derrickman is tasked with going up the derrick to check for loose bolts and nuts and other stuff, check on the grease nipples to ensure that all equipment is greased according to the given schedule. The Toolpusher is then tasked with making sure that these jobs are done accordingly. They are given a checklist of what needs to be checked and all they have to do is tick on the respective boxes and comment if needed.

This particular floorman on the other hand is known to be a lazy person, never goes up to check, but just ticks everything on the checklist and passes them off; that, in turn, pisses the Toolpusher off because when he goes up to check, there were things that were not done, especially in the higher parts of the derrick.

Enter me – the pain in the arse. I was told that this particular driller has very little regard for safety or his work. He was brought in by the previous OIM whom he had worked with. Every time he makes a mistake, he would blame others for it.

I climbed up the derrick, all the way to the crown block, and what did I see? The grease had an oxidized layer coating it. On the checklist it said that a new coat of grease had been applied. I checked for potential dropped objects and found several. I saw that the hydraulic hoses were rubbing against parts of the mast. Some fluorescent light casings were filled with water. So I made markings on the grease nipples, left a bucket of grease, quantity that wasn’t enough to cover even the crown block, went down and looked for the guy. He was on his lunch break.

When he came back, I went through the checklist with him and asked him if he had checked every single item on the list.

“Yeas, Bows, ah haeyve.” he replied in his thick southern USA accent.

I gave him another checklist and asked him to go all the way up and check again. He did not complain and went up. An hour later he came down, all items checked.

“Did you also grease up?” I asked.

“Yeas, Bows. Ah did. Used up owhl the greez in the bah-cat,” he replied.

“You covered the whole mast?” I asked again.

“Yeas, Bows,” he replied.

I put on my safety harness and asked him to climb the derrick once again with me. Once up there, I showed him the marked grease.

“You see this?” I asked him pointing to the grease.

“Ah down’t see nuthin’, Bows. Greez looks fahn to me,” he replied.

“Fucking liar,” I retorted. “Do you think I was born yesterday? That grease has an oxidized layer, you stupid fuck!”

As we progressed down the mast, I showed him all the weaknesses where he had ticked as “Pass” on the checklist. Once back on the rig floor, I said nothing to him, and went straight to the OIM’s office and told him what had happened. The OIM in turn called the Toolpusher who voiced his concern that the previous OIM had refused to run this guy (derrickman) off because of his close association with the guy.

Much later, I learnt that the OIM had called him in and told him to pack his stuff up to leave with the crew boat.

I don’t like making people lose their job; but if others might lose their life because of this guy, then it was a job I had to do.

Me, checking the Hawkjaw

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