THE TOWLINE HIGMAN MARINE SERVICES, INC.
HIGMAN BARGE LINES, INC.
Table of Contents 4 John McMahan’s Comments 5 Higman’s Safety Management System Certified 5 Shell Goal Zero Hero Award 6-7 Hurricane Harvey: Orange Office to the Rescue 7 5 - Year Mark
8-9 M/V Skipjack Rescues a Man Overboard 9 Multitasking 10 2016 Devlin Awards 11 The Ultimate Empty Calorie - Alcohol 12-13 Living in Close Quarters 13 New Faces Ashore 14-15 Higman Achieves 100 Years ~ Since 1917 16-17 Action Instead of Reaction 18-19 Mooring and Docking Safety 20-21 Complacency 21 Dates to Remember 22 Security Risks: Potato Thieves to Terrorists 23 Meet Relief Captain Albert Shelton 24-25 Casualty Control 26 Barge Electrical Plugs and Sockets 3
Copyright © 2017 by Higman Marine Services, Inc.
John McMahanâ€™s Comments As we approach the holiday season we should all take time to focus on events of this past year and the most important things we should keep in the forefront of our lives. For most of us that is family, friends, and colleagues, in addition to the country we live in and the opportunities and freedom it provides us. This past year we lost longtime friends and colleagues who made constant contributions to our lives. As difficult as the industry has been this past year, we have continued to work and perform as a team and maintained our quality of service. Too often we tend to focus on the things that have gone wrong not taking the time to also acknowledge those things that have been done well. As a team, we continue to do the right thing and execute our responsibilities on a high level of competence and safety. As we give thanks, all members of management emphasize that your work and performance is appreciated daily and the attitude you bring to work is a mainstay of the culture of Higman. This year more than any I can recall in years past, our clients and regulatory agencies demand more, but give less. Subchapter M places new demands on all members of our crews as well as shore side personnel. Higman is well positioned to meet the demands of this new regulation, but execution still remains on the shoulders of each of us. I wish each of you a Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season. May you enjoy good health, as well as love and joy with family and friends. At year end we will say goodbye to Austin Zody who is leaving us to work with his family. We wish him great success and appreciate all the good work he has done at Higman. Personally, George and I are asking Santa for a better market, a year without personal loss of family and friends, a year without another Hurricane Harvey, and of course a great year for all members of the Higman Family.
Higmanâ€™s Safety Management System Certified Under Subchapter M IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE HIGMAN BARGE LINES, INC.
FEBRUARY 8, 2017 HOUSTON, TEXAS
Higman Barge Lines, Inc., headquartered in Houston, TX, has become the first U.S. inland marine transportation company to have its Towing Safety Management System (TSMS) approved and certified by a Third Party Organization (TPO) as prescribed under Subchapter M. Monday, February 6, 2017, Wavecrest, Inc. as the selected TPO, with the USCG in attendance, completed the audit process of Higman's TSMS. Subchapter M (Sub M) is a towing vessel inspection ruling that came in effect in June 2016. It mandates compliance with a federal set of rules for the organization and implementation of a towing company's Safety Management System (SMS) and includes periodic inspection of their operated towing vessels. Higman Marine, by and through its principal subsidiaries, Higman Barge Lines, Higman Marine Services and Higman Service Corporation, is a leading provider of inland marine transportation services for bulk liquid petroleum and chemical cargoes. Founded in 1917, today Higman has significantly increased the size of its fleet from 32 vessels to over 80 owned and operated vessels and is proud to have one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the industry. The Higman barge fleet today numbers close to 180.
Shell Goal Zero Hero Award The crew of the M/V Rio Grande received the Shell Goal Zero Hero award. Captain Steve Byrnes of Shell Trading (U.S.) presented the award to Captain James Shankle and Pilot Paul Daigle for their actions while docking at Shell, Deer Park. At approximately 1400 on 21 March 2017 M/V Rio Grande with empty barges was directed to dock at Shell Deer Park East Dock to load naphtha. Upon docking, the crew observed 160'-175' of tow hanging off the dock, with no moorings close by to secure it. The crew exercised Stop Work Authority and notified the dock and Higman management of the situation deeming it unsafe. In response the dock relocated the tow to a safer berth, thereby mitigating risk. Shell recognized this significant safety leadership for using Stop Work Authority to intervene in unsafe conditions and stop unsafe actions.
Captain Steve Byrnes of Shell Trading presents award to Captain James Shankle of M/V Rio Grande
Hurricane Harvey: Orange Office to the Rescue "It's the littlest things that make the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE." Author David Devall, Higman Port Captain Growing up, I was always taught the little things in life make a big difference. August 30, 2017, this life lesson was never before more experienced. Around 0200, Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Orange, TX. Knowing how the area was devastated in previous floods and storms, something in the back of my mind told me I needed to be prepared for anything. All the times I prayed for wisdom, courage and strength, for whatever God had planned for me, must have been getting me ready for what happened next. Monday, August 28, I left for the Higman Office in Orange and told my family it was likely I would not return until after Harvey passed. There were preparations that needed to be made with our boats and barges, plus the shore facility needed to be secured. Over the next few days, vessels were moved to deeper water away from banks, and all loose and adrift items secured. I felt confident in our preparation and plans that we were ready for whatever Hurricane Harvey would bring our way. Nearing daylight August 30, the storm calmed enough that I could survey the area. It was immediately apparent that massive flooding had taken place in and around the city of Orange. I text messaged nearby Higman vessels assisting with our fleet and asked if anyone was willing to rescue those trapped in their homes throughout the surrounding neighborhood. There was an overwhelming response from our crews willing to come to the rescue! A response plan was formulated. Captains Rusty Hanson and JJ Conner were to standby at the office and offer security, water and food. They would welcome those that might end up at our office searching for higher ground. Chuck Hanna, DJ Jones and I launched a skiff from the office and began rescue operations. Within minutes we were rescuing people from their flooded homes and taking them to shelter at our warehouse. About 0800 we received word Higman employees also needed rescue. They were picked up by William Fincher and brought where we could act as a relay to bring them to the office. When we arrived at the pick-up area, more families needed shelter. I contacted Rusty and JJ and told them to prepare more food, because more were coming. As we rescued and worked with volunteers, I received a call from Captain Rusty telling me an assisted living home was flooded and elderly people were being brought to us for rescue.
Tankerman Jeromy Harden helps rescue
I returned to manage the shelter. We launched more skiffs as more crew members became aware. Relief Captain Jeff Sanderson staged a pick-up area for those brought by skiff. He and Captain Chris Lusk retrieved evacuees from boats, assisted them into the truck, and brought them to the “Higman Shelter.” This lasted several hours as Captain Justin Wood, Tankermen Dustin Horton, John Hebert, DJ Jones and Chuck Hanna continued their rescue efforts.
Captains Mason Carter and Curtis Lassabe, with Relief Captain Robert Marcano and many others, prepared a banquet of food, offered dry blankets, pillows, and even mattresses off our boats for those in need. “Team Higman” continued to show their heart by never giving up. Around 1700, I was finally able to make contact with the Cajun Navy, Texas National Guard and United States Airforce. We developed a plan to evacuate and deliver these folks to a shelter that could offer more than we could such as medical supplies and housing.
Around 1900, the National Guard and Airforce began showing up with their military style "Deuce 1/2" trucks, loading them with flood victims. We loaded six of these trucks with about 55 folks ranging from children to elderly, and also many pets. It was after dark when we finished with our last person. I believe fate brought all of us together to work as a team to rescue and house these victims. I thank everyone for going above and beyond, putting themselves second to those in need. Thanks go to Captains Rusty Hanson, JJ Conner, Mason Carter, Chris Lusk, Curtis Lassabe, Justin Wood and George Abshire; Relief Captains Robert Marcano and Jeff Sanderson; Pilots Cliff McDuffie and Adrian Vargas; Tankermen Kezmond Carter, Eddie Esquivel, John Hebert, Zac Lopez, Chuck Hanna, DJ Jones, Leon Morvant, Dustin Horton and Donald Nunez.
Hurricane Harvey reminded all of us, "It's the littlest of things that make the BIGGEST DIFFERENCE."
5-Year Mark Higman is pleased to recognize these crew members for achieving 5 years with our Company. These 36 employees join 207 others that have made Higman their home for over 5 years. Congratulations! Joseph Barone - M/V Rockfish Brandon Bliss - M/V Three Rivers Matthias Culotta - M/V St. Rose Randy Dalhaus - M/V Palacios Chris Gillis - M/V Rockfish Charles Hanna - M/V George H. Thomas Jeromy Harden - M/V Colt Clary Lance Harris - M/V John T. Costello John Houston - M/V Pimlico Dustin Istre - M/V Higman Leader Nicholas Jones - M/V Higman Legacy Aaron Larsen - M/V Saint Charles Jason Magaro - M/V St. Rose Darrell McCain - M/V Clifford L. Carraway Ryan Mills - M/V Trinity Bay Terry Moore - M/V Port Neches Lonnie Neville - M/V Red Fish Bernard Parker - M/V Cove Point
Sidney Phifer - M/V Point Comfort James Roberts - M/V Bolivar Point Jimmie Roby - M/V Miss Sarah Iry Rogers - M/V Cove Point Stephen Shepherd - M/V Jesse B. Gunstream Jared Smith - M/V Capt. Calvin Hatfield John Stultz - M/V Ingleside Joshua Thompson - M/V Baffin Bay Troy Totorico - M/V Bolivar Point Neal Trowbridge - M/V Alliance Adrian Vargas - M/V George H. Thomas Andrew Walker - M/V Higman Tradition Joshua Walker - M/V Bolivar Point Curtis Warren - M/V Orange Kenneth Webb - M/V Red Fish Daniel Williams - M/V Ingleside Justin Winnfield-Beeker - M/V Ingleside Michael Worsham - M/V John T. Costello 7
M/V Skipjack Rescues a Man Overboard If your crew had to respond to a Man Overboard (MOB), are they ready to react? Drama is something we try to avoid in towboat operations, but sometimes it does happen. The M/V Skipjack rescued another towboat company’s crew member who was thrown overboard when his skiff hit an underwater object. Below you will read exactly what happened. M/V Skipjack, with Pilot Johnathan Knotts at the sticks, was eastbound one December afternoon on the ICWW. The loaded tow neared the intersection of the San Bernard River and Johnathan spotted something in the water. It took him a few seconds to realize he was looking at a man wearing a work vest, swimming toward his barges. An unmanned skiff was nearby, running in circles. At this point the victim was about 400 feet from the barges, and quickly closing in on them. Johnathan immediately backed down his tow. Meanwhile, Tankerman Jose Barrera, working outside on the second deck, took notice of his surroundings when he heard gears shift to reverse. He too saw the man in the water. Johnathan called to Jose on the P/A while Jose was already in route to launch a ring buoy from the stern of the aft barge. The victim was able to grab the un-tethered ring buoy. Jose next retrieved a tethered ring buoy from the forward bulkhead and threw it toward the victim. The victim grabbed it, and Jose began to pull the buoy and victim to the boat-barge coupling. While all this was going on, Johnathan sounded the general alarm. The tow slowed to a stop, engines were disengaged, and Johnathan looked outside the pilothouse door to the main deck below. Jose got the victim to the side of the boat next to the coupling, but struggled to keep the victim from being pulled under the rake due to the river’s current. Johnathan quickly descended to the main deck and helped Jose pull the victim onboard. Keep in mind, all this happened in only about a minute and a half!
Pilot Johnathan Knotts
The off-watch crew quickly responded to the general alarm. The victim was brought into the galley, warmed, and checked for injuries. His boat was contacted and they came to pick him up with many thanks for quick actions by the Skipjack’s crew. The crew then discussed lessons learned.
Skiff Safety: When operating a skiff, always make sure the kill-switch lanyard is connected to you. In this case, the victim neglected using his. The skiff continued to run in a circle until it eventually ran into a moored barge. Operate the skiff at a safe speed, mindful that whatever is unseen below the surface, if hit, could easily throw you out of the boat. (Follow Higman SMS procedure, "C.1.20.2 Skiff Operations & Safety." ) Emergency Response: In a fast moving incident be prepared to take action. Do not hesitate to sound the general alarm. In this case, the Wheelman quickly assessed the situation and backed down the tow. Johnathan actuated the general alarm, but felt he should have done this as his first action. The general alarm means quicker help on deck and in the wheelhouse. Make sure everyone is clear on their responsibilities as documented on the station bill. Does everyone in the crew know where to go and what to do if the general alarm is sounded? Practice, practice, practice! Crew practice leads to a quick, coordinated response. Jose made a good call throwing the second ring buoy with the tethered line from the boat's deck instead of from the narrow barge deck. By having bulwarks for support and timberheads available to belay the tethered line, it was safer for him to bring the victim to the side of the boat instead of using the narrow deck of the barge. As a rescuer, don't become a MOB yourself! Having to rescue the rescuer certainly complicates the situation. With all this in mind, the crew decided it would be good to hold more hands-on MOB drills. Getting the victim onboard safely and quickly is critical. Knowing this, the crew discussed various means of getting a victim onboard the boat. This is where ingenuity comes into play. Each situation will be different. The victim may be injured and unable to personally assist with rescue. During drills, the crew should look at different ways to get a victim onboard.
Water temperature is an important factor. The temperature that day on the ICWW was about 65 degrees. What if this was Chicago where the water may be only 40 degrees? Obviously, a quick retrieval is more critical in colder water. Any real MOB incident is most likely going to be somewhat different from how you were taught to respond or how your crew has practiced. Does this mean drill procedures and responses have little value? On the contrary. All drills you perform will make your crew more effective with information gained during such practice.
Number one rule: Do not become a MOB statistic yourself! Tankerman Jose Barrera
Multitasking In our business, multitasking is not such a great idea. A Tanker man is getting his barge ready for discharge at the dock. There is the Declaration of Inspection (DOI) to fill out, a hose to hook up, and the pump engine to start. You get the point. There are multiple tasks to complete prior to getting cargo to the pipeline. Time is important and all involved want the cargo transfer started. But, something goes wrong. As the Tankerman starts the pump engine, oil splashes onto the deck. Now we have a spill. Just a few minutes earlier, the Tankerman checked the oil level and decided to top it off. Oil can in hand, he removed the filler cap and put in the oil. What is on his mind during this simple process? Most likely he’s thinking of valve setup and communication with the dock. He wonders if everything is ready for the transfer. Distracted thinking about other tasks, he forgot to replace the filler cap. You know the rest. Doing several things at once is called multitasking. For computers to operate efficiently, this is a good process. For humans, it is not. It becomes a trick we play on ourselves, thinking we are getting more done. In reality, productivity goes down as much as 40%. We cannot actually multitask. As humans, we “switch-task,” rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, losing time in the process. It becomes easy to leave something out or forget steps. Try this simple task. It is easy to count to ten, right? One, two three, four... It is easy to say the "A, B, Cs up to J, right? A, B, C, D… Now try doing those at the same time. 1-A, 2-B, 3-C and so on. Did you make it to 10-J? It is not as easy as you think and demonstrates how attempted multitasking can quickly lead to mistakes. In fact, “multitasking” is a recipe for disaster. Consider examples of incidences caused by multitasking. A Wheelman on the ICWW turns his attention to his phone, trying to find a number for a terminal. With his attention diverted, within minutes, the lead barge strikes a well-marked underwater obstruction, resulting in damage. Getting ready to cook lunch, a Tankerman turns on the stove to boil water. In haste, he turns on the wrong burner that heats a frying pan of leftover grease. The Tankerman, trying to be efficient, quickly heads to the engine room to swap generators. He is distracted by a small cleanup job and does not immediately get back to the galley. Grease in the frying pan catches fire, and the galley fire suppression system sprays chemicals, creating a huge mess. On the road, going to crew change, or commuting home from the office, “multitasking” can take its toll. According to the National Safety Council, 28% of traffic accidents occur when people talk or text while driving. Those texting while driving are about 6 times more likely to have an accident than those driving while intoxicated. How do we get out of the trap of thinking we are accomplishing more, when really, we are setting ourselves up for failure? The solution is to do one thing at a time, single-tasking. Focus on the task at hand, get it done, and then go on to the next thing. Let's not fool ourselves to believe we can juggle a number of tasks at the same time. Our safety depends on it!
2016 Devlin Awards Higman Vessels Earn Special Recognition The 2016 Jones F. Devlin Awards, sponsored by the Chamber of Shipping of America, went last year to 62 Higman boats with a total of 470 years of work history. These awar ds are presented to all selfpropelled merchant vessels operating two years or more with no crew member losing a full turn at watch due to any occupational injury. The 2016 Devlin awards went to the following Higman vessels. M/V Alliance - 8 years
M/V Marrero - 18 years
M/V Annapolis - 2 years
M/V Matagorda - 9 years
M/V Antietam - 14 years
M/V Miss Cynthia - 15 years
M/V Aransas Pass - 6 years
M/V Orange - 5 years
M/V Baffin Bay - 6 years
M/V Palacios - 2 years
M/V Belle Chasse - 6 years
M/V Pedernales - 2 years
M/V Bolivar Point - 10 years
M/V Pelican - 12 years
M/V Calcasieu - 2 years
M/V Point Comfort - 4 years
M/V Capt. Jack Higman - 9 years
M/V Point Isabel - 9 years
M/V Cecil - 14 years
M/V Point Mallard - 4 years
M/V Clifford L. Carraway - 3 years
M/V Port Neches - 4 years
M/V Colt Clary - 3 years
M/V Potomac - 20 years
M/V Cove Point - 11 years
M/V Preston N. Shuford - 8 years
M/V Cumberland - 15 years
M/V Red River - 3 years
M/V Decatur - 12 years
M/V Rio Grande - 3 years
M/V Drum Point - 11 years
M/V Rockfish - 10 years
M/V Freeport - 10 years
M/V Sabine Pass - 9 years
M/V George H. Thomas - 9 years
M/V Saint Charles - 6 years
M/V Gordon A. Keenan - 3 years
M/V San Antonio - 5 years
M/V Gretchen C. - 9 years
M/V San Bernard - 5 years
M/V Grosbec - 14 years
M/V San Saba - 2 years
M/V Guadalupe - 4 years
M/V Sandpiper - 4 years
M/V High Island - 4 years
M/V Sandy Point - 12 years
M/V Horn Island - 2 years
M/V Severn - 14 years
M/V Jesse B. Gunstream - 8 years
M/V Skipjack - 13 years
M/V John T. McMahan - 8 years
M/V Spindletop - 5 years
M/V Karl G. Andren - 3 years
M/V St. Rose - 2 years
M/V Kyle A. Shaw - 7 years
M/V Sweeney - 2 years
M/V Lavaca Bay - 7 years
M/V Texian - 16 years
M/V Louisianan -10 years
M/V Three Rivers - 3 years
M/V Mark E. Flynn - 8 years
M/V Trinity Bay - 6 years
The Ultimate Empty Calorie - Alcohol How many is too many? Deny it all you want, alcohol is one of the easiest things to lose track of when counting calories. If you're serious about getting healthy, it may be difficult for you to avoid the stuff. Alcohol consumption and dieting are not recommended to go hand-in-hand, mostly because of alcoholâ€™s empty calories. However, extra calories from alcohol may not be the primary reason people gain weight when they don't moderate their intake. In fact, there may be two things worse about alcohol than calories. If alcohol has a moderated place in your diet, and you accurately track its calories, there may be no reason to stop consuming it altogether. However, there are a few important things to consider about alcohol's potential impact to your overall diet and exercise. If you experience a weight loss plateau or feel more fatigued from workouts, consider that: ď‚¨
Alcohol lowers your body's ability to burn fat. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants who consumed less than one ounce of alcohol in thirty minutes reduced their body's ability to burn fat by 73%.
Alcohol can derail good intentions. When people consume alcohol, their bodies' sense for feeling full is dulled. This produces a compound effect in that alcohol, on one hand, reduces our ability to withstand temptations, and if our body can't sense that it's full, we may consume more calories than we need.
A study from the United Kingdom found that people who had the equivalent of two drinks with food ate 30% more than those who didn't drink alcohol. Similarly, a Dutch study showed it takes people longer to feel full when consuming alcohol before a meal. Truthfully, alcohol is full of empty calories. It has nearly twice as many calories per gram as protein or carbs. Given that alcohol is not an essential nutrient, sometimes we really can do without it. Not only is it not essential, alcohol can prevent the absorption of vital nutrients. This happens because when people consume alcohol their bodies expend energy to expel the alcohol from their systems. This leaves little time for the body to process vitamins and minerals and properly maintain blood glucose levels. And, contrary to popular belief, alcohol does not help us sleep better. In fact, when we consume alcohol, we can experience increased waking, more shallow sleep, heartburn, and an inflamed digestive system.
Living in Close Quarters The International Space Station and Towboat Life have Similarities Returning from the International Space Station (ISS) in June 2015, Italian Astronaut Samantha Cristforetti set the record for the longest space mission completed by a woman. Her time in space spanned 200 days. "When you live in close quarters like that with people, you definitely get to know each other well,” she said. “You learn when to leave each other alone too. You also have to accept that there are topics where you agree to disagree, and not discuss them because there's just no point."
In many ways time aboard the space station can be compared to time aboard a towboat.
Here are thoughts from experienced astronauts to help cope with stress onboard.
Extended periods of time are spent in close quarters with a small group of coworkers.
Members of the crew may be from diverse backgrounds and have a wide variety of interests and opinions.
Contact and interaction with the outside world is sometimes limited.
There are constant hazards in the working environment that must keep all crew members situationally aware at all times.
All crew members are working toward the same operational goals.
How can you effectively manage stress for extended periods in close quarters? A space station crew manages stress in many of the same ways as the crew of a towboat. In space, there is always some hazard looming ahead such as radiation storms, space debris, lack of atmosphere or a new list of things to do from ground control. That all sounds similar to towboat crew concern for high water, crew change logistics, weather challenges or a new list of things to do from the shore side office.
Learn how to relax. Astronaut Michael Barratt, whose resume includes stints with the Mir Program and the International Space Station says, "The way my crew dealt with stress is that every day we met together for dinner, and we had music, jokes and complaints about management, joked about life on the ground and joked about each other. It was the sort of experience where at the end of the day you could totally unwind and kind of let everything go with your crew members and laugh at each other, which we did a lot."
Manage your rest. Astronaut Scott Kelly in March 2016 completed a year aboard the ISS. When asked advice to give future space travelers on a Mars mission he said, â€œA year for travel is a very long time so I would say try to keep that in perspective. Manage your energy and fatigue."
Stress of daily life while living in close quarters can take its toll on anyone, including astronauts. By making small adjustments in your routines, this stress can be managed.
Develop healthy responses. Frank de Winne, a Belgian astronaut who completed a 6-month International Space Station assignment in 2002, talks about managing stress for the long run. "If you are there for a week or two, you are basically on a high the whole time. It's not the same when you're there for six months. You need to manage your mood and motivation despite inevitable setbacks. Things that are difficult in the short term, such as not having a shower or any fresh fruit, become part of normal life."
In 2017, the Houston Office welcomed Mac McDaniel for Corporate Development and Budgeting.
New Faces Ashore
To deal with the day-to-day challenges of towboat life, do your best to make healthy choices when you feel tension rise. Exercise is a great stress-buster. Build healthy sleep habits around your watch schedule. Limit your caffeine intake, especially close to bed time.
HIGMAN ACHIEVES 100 YEARS ~ Since 1917 Celebrating Our First Century capacity and still giving donations to the Orange Community Chest. 1947 Higman executives joined the Industrial Development Committee. This committee was tasked with attracting chemical & oil companies to the Orange area and can largely be credited for Orange’s chemical row and sustained success. The group was headed by Carlton Trimble and Edgar Brown Jr. Jesse B Gunstream Jr. was just out of university when he applied for a job at the Chamber of Commerce. The interviewer was Carlton Trimble, and by the end of the interview, Jesse had a job at Higman Towing Co. 1950s 1950 VP of Higman, Carlton Tremble, is named Director of the Intracoastal Canal Association. 1953 Higman purchases Pan American Refining Corp’s fleet of three tugs and nine barges. 1954 Higman and Gulf-Canal Lines sign an operation contract. This comes after many of Higman’s executives are now officers at Gulf-Canal lines as well. 1959 L. Slade Brown, son of E.W. Brown Jr., purchased the assets of Higman Towing Co. At this time, Higman Towing came under the wing of Slade Inc. as a division of their company. A new Executive VP and GM was named, Joe Powell. 1960s 1961 Higman was booming and exceeding a profit of one million dollars (8 million equivalent today). They employed 150 persons at the time. And this year Jesse B. Gunstream Jr. was added to the board of officers.
1900s 1902 Bob Goree & Jack Higman become partners at an Orange, TX drug store. 1910s 1917 Higman Towing Co. is founded by Jack Higman & Louis Smaihall. Sept 26th 1917 they bought their first equipment, two barges and a crude oil tug they named the “Bob Goree.” 1920s 1922 E.W. Brown bought Jack Higman’s shares of the Company, becoming the primary owner of Higman Towing Co. He would own Higman Towing Co. until 1959. 1922 Higman orders a $30,000 tug to be built at the Levingston Shipyard in Orange, the vessel “Lutcher Brown.” 1923 The Company’s capital was $65,000. 1923 Higman commissioned its first allsteel barge to be built of their own design. This design was so well liked that another company offered to buy the barge immediately after its completion. Higman then ordered three more of the same barge design. 1930s 1930’s Higman Towing Co. was still growing in fleet size and increasing ownership of their own vessels. 1935 S. Carleton Trimble became Higman Towing’s executive VP and General Manager. 1938 Higman Towing Co. had a recreational baseball team that was the leading team in Orange. 1940s 1940 Higman orders more barges from Levingston Shipyard. These will be the first 10,000 bbl 200-ft. barges in Higman’s fleet. 1942 During WWII, Higman was one of the few companies operating at 100% 14
1970s 1976 Higman Towing was sold to Manhattan Holdings Company of New York. Controlling interest was given to Karl G. Andren. Joe Powell was still Operations Manager. 1980s 1986 A group was formed specifically to buy Higman Towing Co., and it was sold to the principal shareholders of Higman Marine, George H. Thomas and John T. McMahan. 1987 Joe Powell retired and was replaced by Jesse B. Gunstream Jr. Mark Flynn, current VP of Marketing, also joined the Higman this same year. 1988 Boats were renamed in honor of the Company’s new and first owners. These vessels were the M/V Captain Jack Higman and the M/V George H. Thomas.
1990s 1990’s George H. Thomas and John T. McMahan decide upon a new color theme for the Company’s vessels, now to be painted green and white. 1997 Higman Marine, Inc. bought Maryland Marine, Inc. This expanded Higman’s barge fleet by 40%. 2000s Company expansion continues with construction of new boats and barges for the growing Higman operation. 2010s 2017 Higman is the first company to qualify and become Sub Chapter M Certified. Sept 26th 2017 Higman officially has had equipment on U.S. waterways for 100 years!
Action Instead of Reaction Captain Travis Cheramie, Master Pilot with Higman, discusses steps for keeping incidents away from your operation So far as I know, I have never heard of anyone coming on watch knowing they were going to have an incident. It never happens. I've also never heard of an accident investigation where the investigator said, "Well, there was absolutely nothing you could have done to prevent this." No. That never happens either.
identifying it and actually taking steps to minimize or avoid it. Sometimes these risks are easy to identify. If you're going to be tanking a barge, you know that a bad hose connection could lead to a blow out, so you take precaution against that. However, after you connect the hose, you step off the drip pan onto a line and twist your ankle, possibly falling overboard. Well, you should have seen that coming. This is the exact type of scenario that planning and thinking ahead can avoid.
Incidents always take their victims by surprise. But, that isn't because incidents are unpredictable and unavoidable. No, incidents take people by surprise because the person having the incident hasn't developed a strategy for dealing with risk before the risk becomes a danger to them.
If your crew is in the habit of being reminded about trip hazards, you cover it in your JHA, you implement good housekeeping strategies in your work areas, then these risks are reduced and so is your incident rate. You hear this all the time, but you must be proactive instead of reactive. In this example, being reminded to put up a stray line from the tie-off helps you avoid a man overboard incident.
At Higman, you are given the knowledge and tools to develop successful strategies to prevent incidents. But, are you using them? You know what these tools are. You hear about them with every round of training and in emails, every CBT, every issue of the Higman Training Newsletter. But, did you realize their function is to work together in order to be a safety net that assists you in reducing your exposure to risk?
The second step - Identify upcoming r isk and deal with it appropriately. You can call this "trusting your instincts." Sometimes you have to perform a task that has a certain level of risk within the scope of your work, and your inner voice knows that something is wrong. You have to recognize that feeling as a warning sign and step outside of the moment to take appropriate action; the missing piece isn't always obvious.
The first step - Planning is most necessar y and perhaps the hardest part because identifying a problem before it starts takes a real investment in thinking through your task from start to finish. Three of your main tools at this stage are the Watch Change, the Voyage Plan and the Job Hazard Analysis (JHA). They are more related than you think. Dig deeply when using these tools because the only time you can prevent an incident is before it happens. That's not just a clichĂŠ. Think about it, you can only stop a risk from becoming an incident by
The main tools you have for this stage are your Go/No Go Matrix and Stop Work Authority. These tools are designed to take some of the guess work out of risk management and provide a level of control to be successful, even in a risky situation. You have to reach out 16
and ask yourself, “Am I doing something that could be done a better way? Do I need help performing this task? What can I do to make this action as safe as possible?” You have to rely on your support network. Do you need another set of eyes to safely transit a bridge? You have your Tankerman or another Wheelman in your crew. That's their job. Are you missing a vital piece of knowledge or information? You can wake your Captain or place a call to your Port Captain or Scheduler. It’s their job, too. Do you need an assist vessel? Ask yourself these questions and any others that come to mind for the situation. Make the call well before it’s too late to get help. That's your job. You also must make yourself available to support others. Ask yourself this, “Which call would I rather make, a phone call asking for help, or one notifying Higman that I just had an incident?” The third step - Make tr aining par t of your legacy and cultur e. Be a constant teacher and constant student of your trade. Treat each experience as a lesson, and pass along what you learn. Swapping boat stories isn't just to pass time; there are lessons to be learned listening to each other. After you retire, your legacy lives on in training and lessons you have passed along to those who worked under you. Make that something to be proud of. It helps everyone to hand down a shared body of knowledge that is difficult, if not impossible, to acquire by yourself. I've seen guys carry around tattered notebooks of information they acquired through the years. That's becoming more rare, but it is a practice that you may want to consider for yourself. Of course, you can magnify the usefulness of your electronic charts by constantly evaluating them, inserting information you used to put on paper charts, and super charge those notes with the advantages of this built-in tool kit. Use the electronic notes tab and set boundary warnings in dangerous areas. If you know the scene of a prior incident, mark it! Stop someone from repeating a horrible mistake. Your electronic chart has the ability to notify you of danger in a way a paper chart never could, but only if you learn to use it and take time to enrich the program with your personal knowledge and experience. Do your duty to protect yourself, your crew, your vessel, your company, and ultimately your livelihood, by cultivating a personal plan for risk management. Take time to develop a plan of action for the long term, at each watch, and think through every situation you will encounter during your watch. Trust instincts if you feel you are missing something required. Take initiative to avoid problems by asking for help before needed. Finally, share what you learn with your crew. Make continuous training your ongoing legacy and integral part of your vessel's culture. Use these steps as a starting point to build a foundation for avoiding risk, and you can elevate yourself into a position for long term success.
Mooring and Docking Safety Safety Saves Lives When mooring or docking, you have the greatest potential for a fatal incident. With tons of metal moving against steel and concrete, it only takes a split second for a crushing force to end it all. We know incidents happen on the water and don't always have a happy ending. Events range from falling in the Mississippi being swept under a fleet, to falling between a barge and lock wall while overextending yourself.
Brace to Catch a Line In a situation where you may have someone throw a line from one barge to another, it would be to your benefit to brace for the weight of the line, example shown below.
You also know on the boats word gets around fast. We at Higman Barge Lines need to remain as safe as possible. Incidents can be prevented with awareness and precaution. What's the best way to prevent incidents while docking or mooring? Practicing techniques for line handling and bracing positions to stay secure are two sure fire ways to help. The following sections provide a few examples of what you can do to moor and dock more safely.
Place Lines on Bits at Lock Walls Lock walls are sometimes a tricky situation. Because of the need to quickly catch a line and the fact that bits are inside the lock wall it can also be a dangerous situation. Negating these dangers is difficult, but can be done with proper preparation. One such way is to use your pike pole with the line ready on the end to place your line on a bit as seen here.
Lock Yourself In When you may experience the "bump" or where you need to brace yourself you can find different ways to lock yourself in place. One such way is to lock your foot under a kevel and hold onto the railing as shown below.
Use the Overhead Throw with Loop Here at Higman, we always want to do our work to help prevent the possibility of any crew member falling overboard. One excellent way to help you to do this is the overhead throw, with a loop of line behind your head, to swing up and over so you can secure the line onto a bit. Practice this important movement until you are good at it. See the example to the right.
Never Extend Past the Barge Edge Higman policy states to never over extend your body past the edge of the barge, or any vessel, especially when you are preparing to catch, or fix a line, into position. Remember, your pike pole is a great asset for situations where you are tempted to lean past the edge of the barge. It only takes a moment longer to get the right tool in your hands to do this the proper, safe way. Here we have an example of what NOT to do. Donâ€™t overextend yourself, as this person has.
Line Cleanliness and Management When laying lines, donâ€™t create a tripping hazard. Walking down the edge of the barge can already be tricky without extra lines in the way. Practice good line management. Roll lines up on the top deck. Throw Lines Properly When throwing a line, once the inertia of throwing the line moves your body forward, make sure there is no part wrapped around your leg, and that no tripping hazards exist.
Complacency What Is It? Complacency is defined as self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies. In short, we stop paying attention. When it comes to our workplace safety, we become at risk for injury, illness and even death. In a recent study there were 4,447 fatal and 2.9 million non-fatal work injuries in the United States workplace. According to the National Safety Council, the single most common cause of fatalities was complacency. Pat Riley, the legendary coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat had this to say: "When a great team loses through complacency, it will then constantly search for new and more intricate explanations to explain away defeat." Let's look at some causes of complacency. • Systematic Desensitization: When we hear the same message over and over, or have gradual and then constant exposure to a dangerous activity, over time we become immune to the message or the danger. • Normalization of Deviance: This r efer s to a long-term phenomenon where individuals or teams repeatedly "get away" with a deviation from established standards or procedures until the incorrect method or practice becomes normal. It becomes the implied standard. You do something improperly without incident or getting hurt, so you keep doing it. Over time, as you don't have an incident or get hurt, you then believe nothing bad will happen. • In-Attentional Blindness: In shor t, this means we see what we want to see. When we ar e focused on one ting, like getting the job done quickly, we pay little attention to the hazards around us. Expecting what is supposed to happen can result in missing the unexpected or the out of the ordinary. • Optimism Bias: Her e we ar e “looking thr ough r ose color ed glasses." We over estimate the likelihood of positive events, and underestimate the likelihood of negative events. With this faulty thinking, we don't think an accident or incident can ever happen to us, but we are sure we are going to win the lottery. 20
#1. Situational Awareness: See the big picture, not just the details. Be aware of everything around you and how they might interact to create a dangerous situation.
In addition to these causes previously discussed, complacency can also arise from fatigue, stress and over working or long hours. Let’s look at some warning complacency in your workplace.
#2. Self-Awareness: Think about what you're thinking about. Pay attention to your mindset and where your focus is.
• Lower Standards of Performance: For example, not completing or following an inspection sheet or checklist.
If you're the leader, avoid complacency in your personnel by personally following all safety rules, policies and procedures.
• Erosion of Desire to Remain Proficient: Not making effort to keep learning can lead to falling behind on new practices and procedures.
Dates to Remember
• Satisfaction with the Status Quo: People resist change and are satisfied with the way things are and do not seek improvement.
2018 Advanced Pilothouse Management (Simulator)
• Neglecting Personal Safety Items: At fir st this may seem stupid or just an episode of forgetfulness, but neglecting even the smallest item of personal safety may be a strong symptom of complacency. As you can see, it’s best to work hard at avoiding complacency. Steering clear of complacency actually requires two kinds of awareness. 21
January 15 - 17
February 26 - 28
March 5 - 7
June 18 - 20
July 30 - Aug.1
August 6 - 8
Security Risks: Potato Thieves to Terrorists Who’s Boarding Your Vessel? Someone mentions a security drill and most people jump to the conclusion of an extreme security threat, possibility even a bomb. Yes, terrorist threats are a slim possibility, but there are other vital systems within reach of anyone who boards the exterior of a vessel. In reality, a security threat is more likely to come from some drunk college kid wanting to pull levers on the exterior of a tow boat. Under cover of darkness, and the sound of a moving tow, someone could board at any time and you could be unaware. We rarely think about vital systems exposed on the outside of the vessel that could halt all operations.
omission is the colorful language I was using when initially being notified by my Tankerman. I’ve since had a lot of conversations with other captains and shore staff with time to think and reflect. While I believe we handled the situation well, I know it could have ended a lot different. They may have been after the skiff motor, but who knows. Maybe they were only just looking to steal potatoes. We will never know. My initial response was to run them off, then quickly saw that as a bad decision. One man alone, confronting two men on a boat in the middle of nowhere at night, could end very badly. Confrontations usually invoke a fight or flight response, and who knows what these guys could have been armed with.
Here are systems any random person could activate: fuel shut off valve, CO2 system, fire pumps and hoses, skiff launch and motor, the winch controls. This doesn't even include slipping inside the engine room. The M/V Miss Sarah experienced an odd security breach that was handled well. Let’s look and learn from it, because something similar could happen to anyone.
When Daniel initially addressed them, he was standing between them and their only way out. I sent him to get Grayson before heading to the stern, which was a better option, but in hindsight I think the best option would be to sound the general alarm and make sure everyone was awake and aware of the situation.
Here is a firsthand account from Capt. Josh Martin: We were underway at night on the ICWW at 6 mph. Tankerman Daniel Boudreaux stepped out the galley door headed toward the engine room. He saw a skiff tied to the stern quarter bit and went to investigate. There were two men standing underneath our skiff directly under the motor. He asked, "Can I help you?" One said they were from another vessel looking for potatoes. Yes, potatoes! Daniel said he would go check about this and be right back.
We do security drills and discuss methods of challenging unauthorized personnel, but they usually involve people from a dock or a fisherman tying off to the tow. We never discussed what to do if boarded underway at night in the middle of nowhere. Hourly engine room checks will now include a walk around the outside of the boat. Someone can come aboard and leave a package, steal potatoes, or activate a system, and you'd possibly not know until it's too late. When conducting drills, vary your situation; one drill could be an encounter with a college kid while pushed in the bank at Bolivar. If anyone not authorized is aboard the vessel, it can be a threat to all operations. From potato thieves to terrorists, they are each major breaches of vessel security.
Back in the galley, he immediately grabbed a radio and asked if I knew anything about two guys on the boat looking for potatoes. I told him I didn't, and to run them off, but then immediately told him to find Grayson first. When they returned to the stern, no more than a minute later, the men and their skiff were gone. They left in a hurry because they cut their skiff line rather than untie it.
Stay vigilant and take on new responsibilities like doing a complete boat walk-through every hour. There are always more ways you can help keep your vessel safe. Have your crew try to think of ideas on an ongoing basis and implement them.
After the initial radio call, I immediately turned on every flood light. Confident they were gone, I had Daniel search the boat and barges to see if anything was missing and make sure nothing was left behind. I put out a radio broadcast to notify other vessels of potential threat. Certain the threat was over, I gave the sticks to Grayson and began making appropriate phone calls: Kyle, NRC, USCG, local sheriff's office. This is as close to an accurate description as I can give. The only
Meet Relief Captain Albert Shelton Leesville, Louisiana is hardly a river town. The city is home to Fort Polk, a major U.S. Army installation. It has long been a center for the timber industry, harvesting pine up in the hills and hardwoods in the bottom lands.
go forward in the lower engine room and climb under a pipeline where hitting your head was inevitable. The main part of Al’s job startting out was to memorize 100s of USCG Tankerman license exam questions in anticipation of taking the PIC– Tankerman test. After two trips, Al was sent to the New Orleans USCG office and passed with flying colors.
Captain Al Shelton grew up there and never laid eyes on a towboat until later in his life.
Like many of his friends, Al joined the military after During his career, Al steadily graduating from high school, enlisting in the U.S. Air moved through the ranks, settling in as Tankerman 4 Force. He served 9 years as a member of the 2nd until 2008 when he entered Higman’s Steersman Bomb Wing, stationed at Barksdale AFB. Program. Capt. Al spent two years as a Steersman apprentice, getting hands-on training needed to During that time, the 2nd Bomb Wing was sent to Iraq operate a 2000hp towboat and push 600 feet of to support efforts during Operation Desert Storm. barges ahead of him. The 2nd Bomb Wing delivered one-fourth of all U.S. Air Force bombs and was instrumental in liberating Al received his Mate of Towing license in 2001. Kuwait. Overwhelming coalition forces quickly Today, Al serves as Relief Captain aboard M/V defeated Saddam Hussein’s troops and the 2nd Bomb Calcasieu. “Better equipment and better barges” are Wing’s deployment was over in 28 days. how Al describes changes from 25 years ago. “The tools we use everyday continue to improve. Better Al transitioned out of the Air Force in early 1993. A engines, better electronics, spectra lines, mechanical friend had a job with Higman and told him about life shaft seals are all examples of changes for the good. aboard towboats. It seemed like a good fit so Al With our navigation gear integrated into the applied at Higman Barge Lines in Orange, TX. electronics package, today we run safer and more Ginger Norwood, the Personnel Manager, quickly efficient than when I started in this business.” hired Al and gave him his first boat assignment after only three days on the job. For a young person interested in the business, Al warns it is not for everyone, but has definite perks. Deckhand life has a steep learning curve to those After 20 days on the boat, those 9 ½ days off give new to the career, but military life had taught Al how you time most folks in the workforce do not have. to adapt and change. Understanding the chain of There is time for an extended vacation, time to grow command from his Air Force days made the move to a garden. “For young married people, being away towboats not so bad. A watch schedule of six hours for twenty days helps keep your marriage fresh.” on, six hours off, is not an easy lifestyle. Working around the clock 20 days takes time to adjust. During his time off the boat, Al is an avid guitar player and collector. He also loves to ride his Capt Al’s first boat was the M/V Citation, an 800 hp motorcycle throughout the countryside. Of course, boat built at Main Iron Works in 1968. The Citation there are plenty of chores to do around the house and was an old-school boat with rod steering and grease his large garden takes constant attention. Capt. Al fittings. To get to the washer and dryer you had to still lives today in Leesville. LA with his wife, Mary. 23
Casualty Control Engine Room Flooding Engine room flooding is a casualty that never really happens to towboaters. If it did, it would happen to the other guy. Besides, if we start to sink, I can always push into the bank. You may have heard that sentiment before, and it may be true in a perfect world, but the world we live in is far from perfect. Rule number one: No vessel is unsinkable. In the real world, towboats do sink. In most cases, it is from flooding the engine room that serves as the vessel's reserve buoyancy area. Flooding happens many ways from the most dramatic to the most subtle. A dramatic and tragic case: On Apr il 19, 2016, the towboat Ricky J . Leboeuf capsized and later sank while attempting down-stream landing during high water conditions on the San Jacinto River. Four of the five crew members survived, but one deckhand died. From the National Transportation Board investigative report, "The force of the river current acting on the Ricky J. Leboeuf's starboard-side hull, combined with the force applied above the water line on the vessel's port side from its contact with the stationary barges, caused the vessel to heel to starboard. Water then rapidly entered the vessel through two open doors on the main deck , flooding the hull. Consequently, the vessel r olled onto its star board side and partially submerged, with just a small portion of its port bow remaining above water." This tragedy could have easily been prevented. Keep those water tight doors closed! There are many more subtle reasons an engine room can flood and quickly cause sinking. For that reason, effective casualty control training by the crew, along with quick thinking and a bit of engineering skill comes into play. How can a towboat engine room flood beyond the obvious reason above, the open water tight doors? Hull Breach Most towing vessels consist of steel plating connected to a steel framework with watertight welding along each seam. In most applications, this steel plating may not be much more than one-half inch thick. Plate damage caused by underwater obstructions could start a leak. How would your crew react if the bilge alarm went sounded after your boat hit something solid on the bottom in the vicinity of the engine room? A good emergency drill is to practice identifying materials that could be used to temporarily stop water inflow until the boat can get to a shipyard. Crews use all types of materials depending on the shape and size of the breach such as sharpened broom sticks, cedar roof shingles and rags jammed into a split seam. Seawater Piping Failure Due to vibration or corrosion it is possible for a seawater supply line to fail. Pressure of unrestricted outside seawater flowing into the boat, assuming the sea chest is 6 feet below the surface, will be about 17 psi. Seawater flowing into the engine room from a failed supply line can quickly rise.
Make sure all crew members can identify in the engine room where sea cock valves are located. Most of these valves will be found on the sea chest. They supply seawater to the fire pump suction strainer and the bilge/ballast pump suction strainer. Some boats have cooling water lines for the mechanical shaft seals. All connect directly below the waterline of the boat and will be under pressure. The sea cock valve will stop flow from a broken line. Most Higman boats also have a compressed air line attached to the sea chest which can be used to blow out accumulated ice or mud. This line should normally be closed. Shaft Seals A damaged shaft seal can quickly be secured by using the internal air bladder. All crew members need to know how to pump air into the mechanical shaft seal and be able to secure the shaft to prevent from turning if the boat needs to be moved. Understanding Bilge Pump System Common to any flooding emergency is the crew's ability to line up and operate the bilge pump if the boat is in danger of sinking. Can the crew pump the bilges in an emergency with water up over their ankles and the pipelines obscured? Are exact locations of the bilge suctions clearly in each crew members’ mind? Practical Considerations Common sense comes into play in a flooding emergency. Since it is against federal law to pump oily substances overboard, and generally there are minor amounts of oily residue in the bilge, a decision must be made before pumping. Is the boat in danger of sinking or can the boat make it to a pump facility to strip out the bilge? Is the temporary repair secure enough to safely move the boat to a repair facility? Here, members of the shore staff will help the Captain make this decision.
Another part of a flooding scenario is proper operation and consistent testing of the bilge-level alarm. Are all crew members able to locate and test the bilge alarm? This is a critical alarm and should not be taken for granted. When a bilge alarm goes off, is the crew ready to react? Casualty control drills are an important part of vessel operations to keep the crew safe, and hopefully prevent future damage.
Make sure your crew is ready to think and react! 25
Barge Electrical Plugs & Sockets If the grounding terminal ('half-moon") is plugged into the â€œroundedâ€? hot probe of the junction box, sparks and burning occur destroying the plugs, not to mention introducing fire hazards on the barges.
A round prong should never be forced into a "half-moon" socket. Look closely at the socket on your power supply cord from the boat to the barge. Notice one of the three sockets has a straight edge or "half-moon" shape. Look also at the plug and notice one of the three prongs has a "half-moon" shape matching the socket.
If the junction box on the bow of a barge is loose, causing extension cord connection difficulties, report this on the Higman Outstanding Maintenance Needs for barges.
When aligned correctly, there is only one way the socket can connect to the plug and ensure the correct polarity. This means the "hot" wire properly takes the 120V alternating current on the correct path to the load, and the "neutral" wire completes the circuit to ground. The ground wire ("halfmoon") connects to any metal parts to prevent shock caused by a short circuit. Occasionally, it is difficult to get the three prongs to properly align. Modification may make it easier, but doing so also makes it easier to get the wrong polarity by mismatching prongs to sockets.
Acknowledgements The Towline was written and produced by: Janis M. Anderson Gordon A. Keenan Dennis M. Zink Austin C. Zody John T. McMahan
The TOWLINE is the official publication of Higman Marine Services, Inc.