Challenges are never-ending working on a supply boat to the oil and gas industry


Challenges are never ending working on a supply boat to the oil and gas industry

The chief steward approached me tentatively saying I now have to share my cabin with a new crew member, as we’re having a crew change and there are no bunks available.  

I felt my defences raise and my negativity come up. My buttons were getting pushed, and I thought — What kind of man is he? Does he have sleazy energy? Will he go through my stuff? Does he smoke?

The crew members loved taking the micky big time, feeding into my fear. I had to stop that rat wheel going round and round in my head.

I got butterflies in my tummy as my new cabin mate was 6 feet tall and handsome, a young nonsmoker and open-minded. I was NOT expecting that. In my mind I’m thinking he’ll be like some of the other crazy men I’ve worked with in the past.

It’s his first time at sea, so he’s open to suggestions of routine and how things roll sharing a cabin. All shifts offshore are 12 hours, so no one is in the cabin at all when it’s your turn to rest or sleep. There’s three men and me sharing one bathroom now?

I’m working nights, cooking while he sleeps. When he works, I’m sleeping. Due to the boat being so crowded and the lack of cabins and space, I’ve come to learn that it’s important these rules are respected and followed. Otherwise, you feel like you’re being invaded. Frustration builds due to not feeling like you have any personal space. The handsome cabin mate didn’t understand this concept and would try and sneak into the cabin when I was asleep, waking me up. I just wanted to scream, “Get the hell out of here!”

As for women on the ship, there’s just myself and a female first officer on board. It’s a good dynamic — we laugh and talk about women stuff. It’s so good to stay connected to the feminine. I like the sistership even if we don’t see one another daily.

We arrive into Geelong port at 2.30am in the morning. The motors get turned off. Ah, it’s so nice waking up to a deep stillness and peace.

The goddess is like a watery mirror, shimmering gloriously, reflecting the rays of sun. I love her. The drains in the galley are bubbling over again — there’s lots of swearing and cursing going on. I go in the chiller — WOW — loads of bubbles have overflowed from the drains everywhere in there as well. More swearing and cursing.

It’s so frustrating — everything is such a mess. Friends and family back on land don’t believe me when I say Im working in a bucket… leaking on the inside.

Two days after Mr PPE cleaned the hospital deck head, decks etc of the content of the pooh tank they put glad wrap over the toilet to prevent blow backs so it wouldn’t  happen again. They changed some pipe or thing in the engine room, and the chief engineer was very confident in telling us it’s fixed now.


Things went from bad to worse — and I mean really worse…. The pooh tanks are chock full to overflowing, and then overflowing into the harbour, or about to. Everyone is on high alert — this is not good. The skipper can get fined up to $150,000 and lose all his tickets.

The pooh truck has arrived and started sucking. OMG the smells throughout the ship are putrid. No one can work in this — nevermind cooking! Man, everyone is so stressed. The contractors have gone ashore to a hotel, and we crew are still on board wandering around like spare wheels.

We eventually get sent to a hotel, and get such a glorious night sleep. Everyone was in high spirits at the breakfast table. After a two-hour wait for a taxi, we got back on board the bucket.

Lo and behold — there’s no water now. So we can’t use the loos, and dirty dishes have been sitting on the bench for days. The crew is sitting around watching violent movies, tv series and hanging out.

I’m on cruise control, going with the flow. On board, the pooh boys were here until 2 am Literally trying to stir up the contents of the pooh farm to suck it out. Then, they inform us it hasn’t been cleaned out in years!

Now the IRs are having trouble with the pooh farm lids, and dealing with nuts and bolt pieces that won’t go back into place. What a drama — more stress for them. But it means another night in the hotel for me, yippie!

I was so disappointed though, as we were told we would be picked up at 3 pm. Hells bells we didn’t get to the hotel till 4.55pm the previous day. I so wanted to go back to the shops and the Geelong wool museum that I had spotted previously. I can’t stand watching the violent movies the crew members like watching, so I settled for reflexology and a chick movie instead. Bliss.

Old Yolla, the rig, has been pumping oil for 20 years or more. Previously, it was run remotely, but now has a crew of ten. What I’ve found interesting with this rig is that there’s a large group of seals that live under the rig. And they say that the seals swim along the oil pipeline to get to the rig. It seems to provide them with safety and food, as all rig structures that are submerged in seawater tend to become reefs for marine life.

I felt the energy of the oil but wasn’t able to deeply connect from my heart to hers. I feel I was distracted and had to be grounded and 100% present with what happened and was happening on the boat.

I didn’t beat myself up for not being better service for Old Yolla, bless her. I trust we will work together in the future… I hope.

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