Thursday, March 24, 2011

Entry 12, 3.17.11

Entry 12, March 17th, 2001, 11:35pm

Hola amigos mios! Lo siento por the lack of entry yesterday, the ship's internet was down.

A short entry today, as not much happened. I had my firefighting training today, where we watched a pretty sobering video of a Scandinavian cruise ship that caught fire several years ago. Over a hundred people died, for a variety of reasons. The asbestos lining of the hallways meant that the fire was funneled through the ship instead of growing slowly. The plastic lining on the asbestos released massive amounts of hydrogen cyanide when burned, and when the captain shut down the ventilation to slow the fire it killed anyone still trapped in their otherwise fireproof cabins. Several security doors were blocked open, and the haphazard way in which they were closed from the bridge meant that the fire was actually helped in spreading (no one hit the fire alarm at the ignition point (naturally enough, as they were all dead) and so the doors near that point were never closed). The crew had been hired only the day before and had never conducted a fire drill on that particular vessel, and many of the officers and crew had no languages in common. All of the evacuation arrows were mounted at normal eye level, and so of course were completely invisible due to smoke. On top of all this, there was a convicted arsonist on board who had already started two fires on ships (ironically, he was one of the first to burn to death). They were pretty much screwed.

We then got to watch some very cool footage of experiments conducted with replicas of ship rooms that were then set on fire. It turns out that in a ship with steel bulkheads, heat can transfer into rooms otherwise isolated from the blaze in such quantities that paper and wood will spontaneously burst into flame (in the example, a calendar hung on the wall of a replica purser's office exploded into fire out of nowhere). This is why it is so important to keep the six bulkheads (port, starboard, fore, aft, top, and bottom) bordering the fire wet and cool.

Perhaps I enjoyed this training a little too much.

Unfortunately my training meant that I missed Aruba. I have personal survival training tomorrow and will miss Bonaire, also too bad . . . but my exploration budget is depleted at the moment and so perhaps this is not a bad thing. Besides, it will give me something to write about two weeks from now!

Had kind of a rough first show tonight, but not because of the musicians. The stage crew botched several important things -- missed cues, incorrect curtain pulls, click tracks cutting in and out, etc. Also, one of the dancers is sick, so the cast was dealing with reblockings. The second show was better (after most of the cast had a calming cigarette on the back deck), but it was still a bit down.

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