A quick update on what’s happening

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014 at 20:45 | by Alistair Baillie

Admittedly I’ve been very slack with my updates recently, I would say I’ve been busy but truth is a lot of the exciting stuff I haven’t been able to post about and everything else has become fairly routine for me. Since I can now post some of it and I’m not sure if anyone would be interested in hearing about most of it, I’ve decided to quickly summarise what’s been going on since my last entry. Do let me know if there is anything you want some more details about.

I returned to Thomson Celebration at the start of November, joining as Safety Officer on the second day of a 5 week dry dock in Hamburg, Germany. Due to the dry dock the company had opted to have both of us onboard for the dry dock period so I had a fairly easy first day of attending meetings and catching up on what was happening onboard before starting the night shifts.

So that the majority of the team could be working at the same time it was agreed that one of us would cover the night shifts so that there would be someone senior awake at all times, my first week of night shifts was fairly uneventful – several walks around the ship and dock bottom (thankfully we had a lift to the dock bottom and a huge hole cut in bottom of engine room so didn’t have to use too many stairs) and catching up on paperwork. Due to a distinctive lack of power out-with any of the areas people were living or working in (sometimes none at all) combined with the large holes being cut in the ship it was rather cold at night! The IT team deciding to install new servers also wiped out our computers for a few weeks which was a bit of an inconvenience, but nice change with no emails to deal with. The night shifts only lasted for the first 2 weeks, then I went back to day shift with just a duty officer on call during the night.

The dry dock went reasonably successfully, from a passenger perspective the deck 9 and deck 5 balconies were installed on schedule – behind the scenes the huge amount of work in the engine room also completed on schedule – the routine safety related jobs were held up by the lack of power, compressed air, scaffolding in the way and water (couldn’t operate sprinkler system, fire doors, wtd’s, lifeboat & raft davit load testing and a bunch of other systems that were due for their annual, 5 yearly and PSSC inspections) but all were completed in a stressful last few days for me!

We departed Hamburg in the early morning where we were towed into a basin just off the shipyard while we recovered the ships lifeboats and tenders a process that took several hours we were then on our way down the river and out too sea. We had a few technical glitches so we had river tugs take us out to the anchorage which unfortunately took just over 10 hours, at the anchorage the glitches were fixed and we were on our way heading for the island of Tenerife to pick up the passengers for the Christmas cruise. We had a few other glitches on the way there, not to mention quite bad weather which meant we arrived into Tenerife a little behind our planned arrival time which had a slight knock on effect on the majority of the hotel crew who we’re embarking when we arrived in Tenerife, but we were still ready to embark guests and sail as planned! We were joined in Tenerife by the sister ship Thomson Spirit who was on her way to dry dock after dropping off her last passengers.

Christmas & New Year passed without much happening and the remaining weeks until 28th February passed with a few minor bits of excitement and a lot of bad weather!

I disembarked on the 28th February in Tenerife and was home that night thanks to EasyJet. I popped off to Disneyland Paris with a friend from the ship the following week for a few days and then spent some time learning to fly for the remaining weeks of my holiday.

Flying is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time but never really made the effort, I did a trial flight a few years ago when I first qualified as an OOW but never had the time. Now with the 3 month holidays I tend to get a bit bored so figured may as well take the opportunity to learn to fly, I’m currently doing lessons at Cumbernauld Airport with Leading Edge. Being Scotland the weather does prove a bit of a problem but I have managed to get just under 10 hours in with my last lesson doing some circuit flying and landing at Cumbernauld and am hoping to get the bulk of the hours done during my next leave at end of August as the weather is usually a bit better in Scotland August – November.

Anyway, as I write this I am flying through the air on a Turkish Airlines flight from Edinburgh to Istanbul on my way back to the ship, this seems to be the first year they are operating daily direct flights from Edinburgh to Istanbul which is ideal for me as our company seems to like using Istanbul as a changeover port for the deck and engine crew.

I promise I will try and give some slightly more regular updates this time where I’m able too, as I mentioned at the beginning if there’s anything anyone particularly wants to see / know about behind the scenes let me know using the Comments box on the right of the page (if your reading this on my web site, if your reading on OfficerCadet.com you’ll need to click through to my web site) and as long as it’s not top secret I’ll try and oblige with some pictures, a video or at least a response.

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