Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pipeline Progress

“We are on location at the opening ceremonies of the Northern Pipeline, here in Kitimat, BC.  We have put microphones onto various officials to record their comments for posterity.  Let’s listen in before the ceremony begins…

“It was an accident!  They were pounding in the ‘Warning! Pipeline Located Here’ signs when they heard a ‘Ping!’ sound and…”

“Don’t tell me – they ruptured the pipeline?”

“We’ll have it under control in no time, boss.  It sure makes a pretty geyser though – look at these pictures I took on my phone…against the pristine mountain backdrop! I think it’s beautiful”

“Never mind that.  How is everything on the first tanker?”

“It’s just coming into the harbour now, sir.”

“What is the name of it again?”

“It’s the Exxon Edmund Fitzgerald.”

“Ah.  Where is it registered?”

“Bolivia, sir.”

“Bolivia?  Bolivia is a landlocked hell hole filled with nothing but illiterate, migrant workers producing a highly addictive substance that is driving us all to economic ruin!”

“Oops – correction.  It’s registered in Ft. McMurray.”

“Same thing…”

Meanwhile on board ship, we see the Captain in front of his crew, pointing with two fingers…

“We have emergency exits located at the front of the ship – what we call the pointy end in the shipping business – also the middle and back of the vessel.  In the unlikely event of a rare, non-scheduled shore landing you can use your mattress as padding for when you leap onto the rocks. 

“During our transit we ask you to keep your cell phones on at all times, since our own GPS navigation system doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.”

“While under way you can help yourself to beverages and snacks at any time.  We have an excellent selection of single malt scotches, vodka, bourbon, beer, cider and rum, of course, since we do have our sea-going traditions to uphold!  We do ask the harbor pilots to not over-serve themselves, and the tugboat captains to not start drinking until we have left the immediate harbour area.   

“I’ll remind you crew members of our excellent safety record on board this vessel – we have not had a spill of any beverage in over three years, so let’s all do our best to keep a clean record, people.  I said lets do our best.  People?  Hello?  Do you speak English?  English!  DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?  NO HABLA? Hello?”

Back on shore…

“We are most fortunate to have with us today our docking safety consultant, Mr. Andrew ‘Sleepy’ Bigbumper.  Mr. Bigbumper is the former docking supervisor with BC Ferries and as the ship approaches our terminal…uh, Mr. Bigbumper perhaps you could explain why the ship is coming at the pier at such a high rate of speed?”

“Why thank you Mr. Chairman, and yes, to answer your question, in order to maneuver properly, a ship must carry some speed while ramming the dock and this is quite normal for us in the ferry business.  The key is to judge how much speed you should use and I think our captain is doing just fine, although he does appear to have dropped his spectacles and this bright sun is in his eyes…”

“Well, everything appears to be going smoothly here in Kitimat, so it’s back to you in the studio…”

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