Ahab's Axplanations

Colleagues, Please find below the latest instalment from Capt. A.Hab. Here he gives an update of how Grimbsy's version of the nKPM is fairing in its early stages. Any similarities as to what is happening in Kent is purely coincidental !


Federation of Grimsby Trawler Operatives

Ahab's Axplanations

December 2011

Dear Fellow Operatives,

The winter gales are blowing the first flurries of snow onto the decks of our Fishery enterprise here in Grimsby, and an icy blast up the channel will soon make it necessary to deploy hands to slacken off our buntlines and chip the ice off our cringles. What better time then to take shelter in the wheelhouse with a tot of rum and a pipeful of pusser's leaf to contemplate how well the new Kipper Procurement Model (nKPM) is settling in.

Trawler Captains from the Nautical Herring Teams (NHT) are beginning to show the strain from being lashed to their computer terminals for watch after watch, allocating the fishing quotas to vessels and directing operatives to wash and gut the catch from the previous night. Each morning these Captains will begin their day by assessing their resources (one operative and the ship's cat) against the demand (a million tons of fetid sprats). They then begin the delicate negotiations with their colleagues from other departments to decide who will deal with which fish. The core competencies for this role now include cajolery, supplication, inducement, begging, bribery, menace and blackmail.

Possession of a good-looking sister may be an advantage, while spontaneously producing real tears and mild self-harming can occasionally clinch the deal. Use of such terms as ''we're all in it together" and "Team Grimsby'' are likely to be met with unpleasant but justifiable violence.

Meanwhile their shipmates in the Fast-Response crews steam from sea area to sea area to demonstrate that their function is truly 'Borderless'. (Of course in this sentence the word 'Border' might occasionally be replaced by 'Aim', 'Direction' or 'Hope').

I have enjoyed reading the recent news that, following an urgent review of the marine radio system, the Admiralty has 'listened to representations' and restored the net so that Operatives in Malin or Hebrides no longer have to deal with radio traffic for vessels in Biscay or Trafalgar. Much has been made of this openness to feedback in the Fishery Magazine 'The Belay'.

It has, however, been suggested that while it is good to have one's representations listened to after the system was shown to be faulty and dangerous, it might have been better to have listened to representations before the system was tinkered with to make it faulty and dangerous in the first place. Such a churlish ejaculation is unlikely to convince the modern manager, and so to assist I have reproduced the chart overleaf taken from 'Lambs Nautical Engineering', which illustrates the principle for the benefit of those involved in the design of 'nKPM'.

Nationally the pirates at the Fisheries Ministry have suggested that we may soon be asked to pay an annual fee for the pleasure of joining a professional Institute of Fishery Excellence. In the light of the review of pay and conditions I suggest that this is akin to the French Marine who shot Lord Nelson at Trafalgar shinning his way down the rigging, elbowing Hardy away from the stricken Admiral and rubbing a handful of fresh Morden Sea Salt into his open wound while sucking on the stub of a half-smoked Gauloise filterless.

Wishing you a Happy Christmas, listing to port with his rowlocks in the 'oggin,

Capt A. HAB (M.N. Ret'd)

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