Shell Tanker – HATASIA

My assignment on the HATASIA brought me back to the Caribbean Islands.

Circa middle of  September 2000, I joined her while discharging multiple grades of petroleum cargoes at San Juan, Puerto Rico. That was another instance that I had to travel all by myself. Most seafarers are usually deployed by batches or in groups so that the Company can save on logistics and agency expenses.

My position that time was Extra Second Officer, and as the word implies,  I was there to support the Chief Officer during the ship’s hectic trips around the islands. It was also a good chance for me to understudy the handling of multiple cargoes being carried simultaneously onboard. I was really expecting that it would be a peaceful tenure but I was wrong.

Like any human being, seafarers are also liable to unexpected events in life. It was 11 years ago today, 04th October, when the sudden demise of my father made the world crumble on me. That sorrowful day of the new millennium had orphaned me and my 3 other siblings (my mother died back in 1987 when I was only 12 years old). I was in denial state at first because my father was well and have no serious health concern before I left home for my shipboard duty. I learned that he was confined at the AMOSUP Seaman’s Hospital about a week after my departure but I was told his condition was not life-threatening. We just sailed from Curacao and underway to Puerto Cortes when the Captain , Mike Stoddart, called me up to his cabin and broke the news. We navigated for another 2 days before the ship docked in the refinery where I consequently disembarked.

It was a tiring 13-hour flight from Honduras to Amsterdam and I was sleepless throughout. I then had to wait for another 11 hours before boarding my homeward flight to Manila.

My first tenure on the HATASIA, pictured below, was the gloomiest trip I had in my seafaring career.

I came back on the HATASIA as Chief Officer in January 2002.

That time it was well and good despite of awfully busy trade, hopping from almost all ports in the Caribbean and navigating up north to the United States petroleum terminals. We carried mainly finished products such as diesel, jet a1, kerosene, gasoline (all types of octane), water white naphtha, and some chemical additives such as MTBE. Our usual ports of call are Willemstad, Rio Haina, Sto. Domingo, Punta Cardon, El Palito, Amuay Bay, Puerto La Cruz, Trinidad, St. Croix, San Juan, Guayanilla, Cartagena, Montego Bay, Kingston, Aruba, Nassau, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Port Everglades, New Orleans, Puerto Cortes, Sto. Tomas de Castilla, Puerto Barrios, Port-Au-Prince, and some I can’t remember…

The most memorable event I reckon was when we had to berth at a wooden quay in the outskirt beach of Netherlands Antilles.  It was a tricky berthing because the port was only designed to moor small pleasure yacht. Moreover, I had to trim the ship by the head to enable welding repairs of the propeller rope guards. It was indeed a specialist project which was performed like a charm by a team of Florida Divers. On the other hand, the crew had a great time because the berth was just a stone throw away from the white sand beach where tourist in their best swimming attire roam around. Jetskieing and paragliding were also a once in a blue moon opportunity that the crew enjoyed.

My second tenure on the HATASIA lasted for seven months and it was full of pleasant memories indeed.

Check back again soon for my trips on two more H-Class…

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