Today we have our sea day and our final day on board before the ship is back in Tampa after its 14 day circumnavigation of the Caribbean Sea. Most of our guests will disembark but we have over 300 guests on board who will stay for the next 7 day cruise. And then there are some who are even staying beyond that cruise. The weather is very nice, sunshine for most of the time with the ship bumping into a shower on occasion but they are few and far inbetween. Thus we could keep to the schedule and just after 04.00 we swung around the West point of Cuba at Cabo San Antonio and then headed into the Straits of Florida. From there it is was and is a straight course all the way up to the pilot station at Tampa. Currently we are aiming for 02.30 am. and then we should be docked around 06.00. Tampa will give us a chilly day with temperatures only reaching a “cold” 63oF. /17oC and scattered showers are forecast. The crew will not complain as a cool day is better for work but guests travelling in flip flops might not be so happy.
Talking about work after my Holland America History Lecture a few days ago, guests asked me what I doing on board as I am not standing on the bridge. They obviously do not read my blog…………… But the current project, when not creating mayhem with drills or training, involves a ship wide structural inspection as explained before. But now a bit more of an in-depth and technical explanation. It basically has to with what you have in the ceiling of your cabin and the rest of the ship as well.
Ships safety really started with Solas in 1914 two years after the sinking of the Titanic. It seems that Maritime Legislation always gets a boost after some sort of shipping disaster either small or large. One of the results of all the lessons learned through the years is that certain spaces need more protection than others. And that has become very detailed in the course of the last 100 years. Since some time the construction and structural protection of a ship has been divided into 14 classes. It does not mean that Class 1 is the least or Class 14 is the best. It is just a division of requirements. Especially indicating what sort of bulkhead (steel or other) a space should have, what sort of access door and what sort of insulation.
When a ship is constructed each space on board is reviewed for the function it is supposed to fulfill while in service. Thus the engine room has a different classification than a pantry or a steward station or a passenger cabin. A passenger cabin has a classification number 7:
Accommodation spaces of moderate fire risk Spaces as in category (6) above but containing furniture and furnishings of other than restricted fire risk. Public spaces containing furniture and furnishings of restricted fire risk and having a deck area of 50 m² or more. Isolated lockers and small store-rooms in accommodation spaces having areas less than 4 m² (in which flammable liquids are not stowed). Motion picture projection and film stowage rooms. Diet kitchens (containing no open flame). Cleaning gear lockers (in which flammable liquids are not stowed). Laboratories (in which flammable liquids are not stowed). Pharmacies. Small drying rooms (having a deck area of 4 m² or less). Specie rooms. Operating rooms.
This is of course the most common classification on board as we are a tin can full of cabins and a certain amount of protection is required. The Steward Station of your cabin Steward has most of the time a classification 13 as there is a lot of different & combustible material in one space, including garbage and sun bathing towels often drenched in flammable sun tan oil. This is quite easy to see as the door of your cabin is not as heavy as the door of that Steward Station. Because of all these different rules, sometimes three spaces next to each other have three different classifications.
That is not easy to see from the outside and that sometimes results in repairs not done completely right, lockers switched to different uses but not in line with the acceptable classification or sometimes a complete modification has taken place. Or simply stuff is being stored in the wrong space. We are all human and most of us are not structural engineers. Because this was noticed on several ships of the 112 ship Carnival Corporation currently manages, it has instigated a policy for a complete review and from then on a once a year review.
So I am now doing the startup review for the Oosterdam and will ensure at the same time that each space has a sign that says what is allowed in there. For that I have two off watch duty quartermasters in my wake who tape the correct signs for each space onto the bulkhead. Thus far my inspection has revealed very little in non-compliance.
But there is always the challenge of the toilet rolls. They are highly combustible once they get on fire and very long burning and you should only have a minimum amount in a space 7, the rest should be stored in a space 13. The question is now: what is a minimum amount of toilet rolls and what is more than a minimum amount? The discussion is still on going on since its invention.
I am not going to post a picture of a toilet roll but have a look at this little clip on you tube. It takes a bit of doing to get it to burn if mixed with something else (accidents occur) it is a very good source for a lot of heat and flames and it burns for a long time as well.