Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Princess I & the IALA buoyage

GPS :36 57N, 076 20W

We anchored near the Princess I at the Norfolk anchorage today. The Princess I looks like a Panamax bulk carrier & has five Hatches & four cranes. It's a bulk carrier of just the right size to go to great ports and it's a treat to handle a vessel of
this size. It looks like the chaps there are doing a bit of hatch cleaning as they have partially opened two hatches. In ships like these, you generally have two hatch covers over each hatch & they open by folding and stand up at either ends of the
Hatches. The hatch covers are opened by Hydraulics & waterproof the hatches by thick rubber packing. I remember the many-many times that we had to repair leaks in the hydraulic piping and the testing of the water tightness by hosing down by a fire

To test the water tightness, one team would go inside the hatch & the other team would start hosing down on the sides of the hatch with a fire hose at good pressure. The tricky part was to let the person inside the hatch know where the team above was
hitting the fire hose. For this purpose, a chap was deputed to stand on top of the hatch and keep hitting the hatch cover with an iron rod near the point where the hose was directed. These were the times when Walki-talkies were a luxury and the only
thing this incessant hammering produced in the team inside the hatch was a throbbing headache.

Another point of interest in the picture is the two buoys. There are two types of Buoyage system adopted by all countries. Region A buoyage is adopted by most of the countries, whereas the US adopts Region B buoyage. (A fact that has caused untold
misery to navigational cadets over the years). Under this buoyage, you are supposed to keep the red buoys to your Starboard & the Green buoys to the port as you enter the port. As you depart the port, the red buoys come on the port. The Princess had
anchored just across the channel and you can see the channel marking buoys with it. Some of the bouys have bells fixed to them and as the bouys wobble due to the weather or the wake of the passing ships, the bells ring. Over a quite sea or at night,
it's a pleasure to hear them ringing out to the waves.

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