Atchafalaya Swamp

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Post-Christmas Funk 2007

FUNK. IT MEANS "cowering with fear" or a "state of fright", or a feeling of dejection. Yes, that's right and I'm feeling dejected right now. No, I know it's the end of the year when we have a big Christmas party on the rig and everybody gets funky. That's not the funk I meant.

Please look at the sign above. I photographed it this morning just after some numbers in there had "changed". For you non-marine or offshore types out there (which is 99.9999 percent of the world's population anyway) the term LTA means hell of a lot. It stands for "lost time accident" and yes, as of today it is only Day 2. Two days ago the number atood at 1658 --meaning FOUR-AND-A-HALF YEARS since the rig had an accident.

Actually that's not true at all because the rig NEVER had an accident until the day before. Why? Because the rig is so new that there hasn't been an accident since it arrived here four-and-a-half years ago spanking brand new from Keppel-FELS shipyard in Singapore.

The day after Christmas I had just started to spud in a new well. It was five in the morning. This particular well had a rather peculiar charachteristic in that it spewed out lots excessive gumbo which required the crew to clean the lower decks often. Fire hoses were employed and one particular guy did not hold the nozzle of the fire hose steady. When the fire pumps kicked in the hose snaked and caused him to lose control . . . the net result being the nozzle firing the high pressure water with mud and debris . . . into his eye. We're not sure how he's doing yet because he was whisked to the medic's room and a chopper evacuated him two hours later. Our resident Liason Officer, a Major with the TNI Navy had to escort him on the chopper and to the hospital since both eyes were heavily bandaged.

He was operated yesterday and the word was his intra-occular functions remained intact. Probably to remove a blood clot or something.

The reason it's such a big deal because safety is a very serious issue with the oil companies and contractors. The safety record is tied into the contract and for the whole of 2008 the rest of the crew will have to pay the price of not getting any "safety bonuses". It's quite a bit and can amount to 10 - 20 percent of their annual income. I even had a cheap Motorola phone and a toolbox to take home last year. All because of a good safety track record.

Then there is the loss of prestige and reputation. Not to mention nosy investigators that will come in in the next few days to lecture us.

But I have a more serious concern. For the upcoming New Year's Party the client had earlier on insisted I "contribute". By this he meant illicit liquor. In previous blogs I mentioned that alcoholic drinks is strictly prohibited from any offshore installations. But this is a French company and they all like their tipple now and again. We'll, not just the French . . .

So I complied by smuggling a bottle of Pernod and Dewars' White Label past the boat security people. I was actually booked on the chopper but no way I can get whisky past aviation security. So I had to detour and take the long way by speedboat where the marine port people are a little more "friendly".

Then another asshole (someone like me) found an "electone singer". In Indonesia it usually meant lady pub singers that know how to work an organ and has a half-way decent voice but a more-than-decent body. She is scheduled to be smuggled to the rig on New Year's Eve.

A girl at the ready. Intoxicating liquids at the ready. Mat Salo's organ --er, camera --at the ready. With investigators coming and possibly doing a little spot-checking. Not too worry, it's well hidden along with other contraband that other service contractors had contributed. There's crates and crates of Anker Bir too . . .

Just let's hope the investigators and safety officers come after the holiday season is over.

Which reminds me . . . Folks, have a Happy New Year and may 2008 be good to you.

© 2007 MatSalo Images


shanghaistephen said...

Hey orang minyak !
I know how Christmas was on Tiong A back in the 80's and boy you can have all the food in the galley for Christmas inclusive of turkey et cetera... and the trimmings too BUT minus the booze !...so sad... but I'm glad bro, you got a "warehouse" full of booze and that is going to be one hellava New Year stint you gonna have !Here's wishing you were here but no...have a great party and take care...remember the ever famous rig tag-line... "every thing in it's place and a place for everything" ! So Happy New Year to bro and all your mateys...we'll see you in 2008 ! Godbless !
Cheers to you, from an ex-rigger !!

Kata Tak Nak said...

Shit man, great pictures, real great.
Sorry to hear about the accident and the resulting missed bonus.

tokasid said...

Salam Pak MS:

1- Its unfortunate for the guy and the possibilty of him losing his eye sight. And unfortunate for you guys for the missed bonuses and a dented record.

2- Lets hope during the NY bash the investigators are not there to celebrate on the rig.

3- Now , you have an extra skill which can become handy if you decide to quit rig life...become a smuggler!!LOL!

3- Nice pic you gave us pak. Awesome.Hairs standing on my neck and forearms right,now. Thats my barometer for something very good.

Happy New Year to you too.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

MS bro,

you've flushed down the myth real good man. life in the off-shore is not as dull as commonly believed after all. and you put it real nicely man...

eh, apa tu anker? hehehehhee...

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Abang Mat,

Oh dear, hope your man is ok...Hope his eye sight is restored and that his intro-ocular functions remain intact...

As for all these contraband stuff, lar, kalau nak smuggle, don't lar blog about it! There saying tak nak the officers who check to know, then you blog for everyone to read! Aiya...

Happy New Year to you, nevertheless! And Happy New Year to the rest of your crew too!

PrincessJournals said...

3 yrs ago id be in tht 99.9999% but not anymore. michael works in the shipping industry so iv been in the 0.0001%! hehe.
sorry to hear abt the accident. i wonder hows tht guy doin.
anyway, Happy New Year. dont wanna say anything abt the liquor and woman/women since its illegal on the rigs. ;)

jaflam said...

MS, sorry about the LTA but then accident do happen however hard we tried to prevent them. Even in my company the top management is taking them very seriously, the CEO and his management team performance rating will automatically be reduced by one level if the company incurred serious LTA.

With the preparations already in place I am sure your New Year bash will go on, but do take safety precautions because accidents have the habit of happening during the public holidays and celebrations. Happy New Year & All the Best Mate.

Mat Salo said...

Bro' Fish: Not quite a warehouse laa.. but close..heh. I draw the line because they want to hide some of it in the room where we use as a surau. Good Lord! But no one will come looking for it there I'm sure. Bro' if you kept on rigging I don't doubt you be a toolpusher by now. See you next year, 'bro. And it's on me!

Chegu: Appreciate you liked the pictures chegu. Yes, so sad for the crew next year. Semua muka masam. Don't think rig's new year's party will lift the gloom...

Doc TA: Appreciate you enjoyed the photos. They were taken on the day of the accident but in the evening. Yer lah, it seems the IP (injured party) also had hypertension so probably had caused his loss of concerntration. Lucky it wasn't worst... Alhamdullillah saja lah.

Kerp: Nampak nya my line dah clear. Line clear Penang have different meaning, ask Chegu Nazir. Ha-ha. Dull? No, man. Life offshore is as colorful as can be (see photos). Ada apa dengan Anker? He...

Daph: Yes, happy new year to you too. And the crew says hi! Hehee. Er..now you make me takut. But I doubt the investigators know about my blog, tho'...

Farina of PJ: Yeah, I'm sure you know the marine industry is also fraught with risks but Michael has skills that he can use elsewhere so there's always another career option. In our case our skills are so specific that we'd be useless on land. Yup, better not talk too much about the illegal stuff. But in real life these things happen. Thanks for dropping by and have a happy new year. Will hubby be home?

Bang Jaff: You're right. Accidents do have a way of occuring more during the celebratory period. It has to do with personnel not staying focused. It also happens when the guy is at the end of his hitch. Over here the one we had was called a 'stupid accident'. But LTA is LTA --and going from 1658 Days to ZERO is a big deal.

Normally if the accident or injury is relatively minor, the IP will be quickly sent to shore for observation / treatment but MUST return within 24 hours --then this will NOT constitute LTA. This is what the crew prayed for. Alas, the operation required him to stay for a few days at the hospital, and yesterday, sadly the numbers on the board had to be changed.

I think the celebrations will be muted, Bang. In any case I'll be drilling. I hope to able to squeeze in some time for some photo opportunities to share with you soon. And Happy New Year to you to Captain!

IBU said...

Hallo Mat!

My hubby is one of the inspectors and he had just finished reading your blog. Err.. with the sigboard of which rig loud & clear.

eh! takdelah.... acah jer... he's so the very 'landed' person one. hehehe.

Aiyo.... you... now this is really good man. NO! I don't mean the booze, woman and what she can do to the non musical organ. BUt the views of 'working life' from a different angle all together. The different 'platform' really from what i normally step onto.

Keep 'em coming bro. NOOOO! Not the booze & women la. The stories.

Zabs said...

Salam MS,
The last time I attended the safety course for Petronas, I wasn't so envious of the long standing safety record, that they were bragging. However with your story here, it is beginning to make sense now. Sorry to hear about the accident, and in particular about the unlucky guy. May he get better very soon.
For the celebration, just enjoy yourself (I mean, taking the photographs), the rest leave it to them. Take care. Happy New Year and may your 2008 be as good.

Zawi said...

I am sorry to hear about the accident.
Can you smuggle Daphne for her much desired holiday on the rig for the New Year Eve party? Disguise her as one of the safety inspectors la.
Hopefully the 1658 days of the previous record can be broken a couple of times over in the future.
Happy New Year Bro.

Hantu Laut said...

Mat Salo,
Sorry to hear about your mate.Life on the rig is not bad after all and yours seem to come with a bit of suspense.

What's New Year's Eve party without the booze flowing.If you are a teetotaller,hope not, you would suffer a hangover before the clock strikes 12.


Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

cakapaje said...

Salam bro,

Hope your colleague eyes will get better, insyAllah.

Hey! Beautiful sunset picture you have there. Er...I ter-download ye :)

Akmal said...

Salam BroMS,
Sorry to hear about your mate, hope his eyes are OK.
You 'smuggle'? Hahaha. And yes, I like the picture very much man. Great camera adds great techniques equal great pictures.
Happy New Year.

Mat Salo said...

Ibu: For awhile you had me there. Phew! I know lah, your hubby's someone big in the IT sector, right? Aiyo 'Bu.. what you mean by non-musical organ? Did I really write that? My Gawd.. I'm as bad as they say. Ha-ha. I hope to keep 'em stories too. If anything to amuse myself. Thanks.

Pak Zabs: Hope 2008 will be good to you too and keep those stories and photographs coming! Remember, everything gets better with time. Except, of course, me. Ha.

Pak Zawi: Err.. I wish I could smuggle in Daphne. But disguised as a Santa.. bearing gifts. In silk-net stockings (jangan mare, ye Daph?).

For the 1658 days to be broken many times in the future, well in reality 4 1/2 years is already a long record. It's hard to top that. In the end only only the Almighty decides things, ya Pak? Selamat Tahun Baru juga Pak. In KL or KB nanti Pak?

H-L: Even if I'm not a teetotaler (;)), ha, I can't --even if I wanted to. Believe it or not, you can get fired for these things and I don't want to give 'em a chance.. heh. Just trying to be a good boy, that's all.

A Happy & Prosperous New Year to you too, Sir (albeit a bit clouded and dejected by news in Pakistan I'm sure).

Shah: Kalau nak ter-download. Just ask. I can send you the hi-res files. Alaa 750 kb max. only. I hate large files anyway. Glad you liked 'em. At least someone does, heh.

Dengar member check-out Hospital Pertamina, Balikpapan today. Alhamdullillah, no long-term damage. But I'm sure he's not happy coming back nanti because the crew will sort of give him the cold treatment I think.

Wise-Up of Akmal: Wa'alaikum salaam. How's campus life bro'? Cuti ke? Thanks for the nice comments. Actually bro', equipment is only a small part of the story. Even a normal compact camera can take great pictures. The person behind the camera is the key. The most difficult thing is to cultivate an appreciation for art. Meaning we know what's beautiful or not. I'm still very far from where I want to be bro'... take care.

Sri Kebakakat said...

hi Mat, Thanks for visiting my blog. Regarding your question..
I am using Sony DSC-W70 and Canon EOS 400D. All my photos are dumped into:
howabout exchanging link ? just tell me once you have done it. Thanks n Happy New year !!!!

Mior Azhar said...

Bro Mat:
Party On!!! Hope your friend is a okay. And that's really a nasty pix. I terdownload it too. My new year desktop at the office.
Happy New Year and a Prosperous Year ahead.

The Ancient Mariner said...

Just came back from Miri yesterday, a Saturday half-day workshop. Couldn't meet Nora aka anon fm Miri, he was out in the Bakun jungle someplace.

Anyway, (in the words of Capt Karim 'Stu' Russell), Happy Hogmanay bro., and go easy on the uisge beatha.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

anker wat? hehehehe....

merry new year bro. hope you'll have a great new year ahead dan semoga murah rezeki selalu, insyaAllah.

see you next year. kasi sound la sikit once you're back on land.

Raden Galoh said...

Bro Mat...Now I can read your entry better...(I'm getting there bro...getting there ...hehehehe)

the photo is amazingly beautiful...and you put your journey in a great writing...sad to hear about your colleague, hoppefully his eyesight gets better...

Missed you while you were here, hopefully we'll meet again next year...

Take care and may 2008 bring more joy and happiness to you and your loved ones...God bless brother!

Pi Bani said...

Happy new year... be a good boy and jangan nakal-nakal! Hehehe...

Mat Salo said...

Bro' Raymond: Looks like we're at the other end of the spectrum; 400D vs D40. Ha-ha. No matter. What matters is great travelogues and fotos. All done bro'.

Bro' Mior: Takde 'party-on' nye brader. Semua dah cancel. Takut kene 'raid' sebab 'spotlight' on our rig right now. Aah, perhaps it's just as well.. as a lesson to be vigilant when it comes to safety. Lo.. if you give me your email I can give you the original hi-rez files. Take care bro'.

Bang Kepten Pengemudi Perahu Tua: I saaay... miss Nora ke? How unfortunate, but perhaps another time. Cool guy that Capt. Stu... Boleh buat member dgn. AB Kerpie...

Bro: Kerpie (new sidekick to Capt. Stu Russell): Thanks for the 'murah rezeki' wishes bro'. Amin. You too. No worries after Police concert Feb. 4 I'll be sure to give you a live one-on-one review! Heh.

Dal of RG: Eh, lama dah tak memblog? Sibuk ke? Yer lah, Insya'Allah next time ada. February kot? Thanks for the wishes and keep your chin up!

Pi Bani: Man proposes God disposes. Ye lah, I'll try because I've been having this weird dreams recently that my infant daughter has already grown-up and accusing me of being 'ayah nakal ya?' Somehow in the dream I can't bring myseld to meet her eyes. Guilty kot?

ewoon said...

Happy New Year, bro.

May God prosper thy & family's way all the days of your life.

IBU said...

And I took the canister & spray my new year's wish into the air,
"Selamat Tahun Baru
Sila kemaskan laman blog anda

God bless!!

elviza said...


I will say this for the last time and I will not repeat myself again for fear of being redundant.

Write that damn book already!!

BaitiBadarudin said...

Sorry to hear of the accident; hope you'll have a happy and bountiful 2008 tho.

kbguy said...

hoho.. apa khabar orang kita ? Seems like u r station somewhere very far ? So, hows the new year celebration ? Minyak naik harga lagi ke ?
Btw, thanks for the visiting and nice to know you too Brother !!!
C u again..n take care..

zorro said...

SWAMP MAN....Holy New Year...shi, what am I saying....Happy New Year. Buddy, you think you can get off without telling us what happened with the electone singer????? Next posting ok?....then I will when I see you next relate my OIL Wives Tales of the Seventies.

bangkai said...


You take some damn fine photos, sir!
Makes me want to take up photography

Itoi said...

Cantik nyer gambar sunset tu ..... bravo!!!

Mat Salo said...

Unker Zorro: Sorry, no electone singers. My latest post tells why...

Mat Bangkai: Even Dan Fogelberg of 'Twin Sons of Different Mothers' has passed on. Thanks man, you should. I think you'd be good at it bro...

Itoi: Terima kasih kerna sudi menjengok bro. I hope to visit you soon too. Kamera apa tu?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bro,

Raisis calling.....Happy Belated New Year 2008...sorry still "high" with Anker Bir ....opps work lah on Raisis.

When you going back home?