I joined a Marine Survey Company in Colombo which was owned by a Senior Master Marine and Marine Surveyor, and started work as a trainee marine surveyor. I enjoyed the work very much. About six months later, I was made permanent and started to work as a marine surveyor. It was not an 8-5 job and as such, we had to be prepared to work anytime, any day.
There was one job in particular that I remember to this day. I attended a ship that was brought in for repairs to the Colombo dry docks, on behalf of the owner's hull insurance. The vessel was damaged in way of the engine room on port side that had allegedly been caused by colliding with a fishing trawler in South Atlantic Ocean. I surveyed the vessel and recommended the necessary repairs.
I attended the same ship on behalf of the owner's protection and indemnity club.
While doing this survey, I recommended that most of the ladders going up to the masts as well as most parts of the vessel's Christmas tree, be cropped and renewed because they were heavily corroded, making it unsafe for the crew to go up and down them. The dockyard engineer in charge of the repairs suggested the whole thing be cropped off. They cropped the Christmas tree of the ship and removed and placed it near the main office of the dockyard.
It was Christmas time. One morning when I was in the dockyard, the manager met me and jokingly said, "Hey, you are a Christian aren't you? Why are you leaving it here without taking it home?" I replied, "Sir, unfortunately it is too big for my house. We'll have to find some other place." We exchanged some much needed pleasantries.
Jokes aside, the manager thanked me for recommending it to be removed, for it would have anyway come off from its base or part of it under bad weather conditions.
Image: Christmas Tree of A Ship