Saturday, May 06, 2006

the zone...

I had no idea there were so many different types of “LOGIC.”
Formal logic. Applied logic. Modal logic. Fuzzy logic. Alternative logic.
I have a good friend who calls West Africa “The Logic Free Zone.”
And for years I have been repeatedly convinced that there is more than an element of truth to this! Or perhaps, we could call it “Fuzzy Logic!”

Pronunciation: 'f&-zE
Function: adjective
1: lacking in clarity or definition

That sounds about right.

I think this is Fuzzy Logic:
The date is 25 July 2001 -- the place is the Free Port of Monrovia.
The M/V Torm Alexandria, pulls into port. A 4,160 ton "Feeder Vessel" which calls at small ports to load cargo containers destined for multiple long distance destinations. The Feeder Vessel passes these containers to central locations where the various containers can be sorted & loaded on to long distance “Mother Vessels” which then deliver the cargo to a final destination port.

Here is a short version of the account of what happened that day:
"The vessel was about three quarters of the way through loading. At the same time the vessel was discharging contaminated oil from a double bottom tank. The Master, who was standing on the quay, witnessed the ship take a heavy roll as one of the 20 foot containers was lifted. He was told by the stevedores that the weight of that container was 20.8 tonnes and that the planned stow for it was on the second tier on bay 4 on deck. The Master stopped the loading temporarily for about ten minutes and informed the Chief Officer that he was not happy with the second tier of containers on bay 4. The C/O then altered the stow from second tier on bay 4 to bottom tier on bay 5. When loading resumed there were about twenty containers still to load. Whilst lifting the third to last container, using the ship's own crane, the vessel suddenly heeled over to port towards the quayside. The Master attempted to control the list with the ballast but this did not produce the desired effect, the vessel continued to list further until she capsized. The Master and C/O attempted to free the vessel's moorings but did not succeed.”

There you have it. Not a good day by maritime standards. And unfortunately this accident happened smack dab in the middle of Liberia’s 14 year civil war and during a time when the infrastructure of the country was virtually in shambles.

Fast forward to May 2006.

The shambled state of Liberia continues.

The M/V Torm Alexandria, still lies resting on the quay here in Monrovia.
Big. Quiet. Rusting.

Blocking the access to this city’s key loading dock. And a reminder of the Fuzzy Logic of that day in July 2001. The M/V Torm Alexandria seems to me to be also a reminder of the state of Liberia and her people, suffering the ripple effects of war and destruction. So many, innocent, stuck living in the unfortunate aftermath of the Fuzzy decisions of a powerful few.

On a smaller scale of Fuzzy, as I drive through Monrovia, I am continually amazed at the evidence of this country in disarray.

Even something as simple as this truck driver attempting to make this impossible traffic move seems to resonate with what my friend said.

I can’t quite make it out...

It seems so 'f&-zE …"lacking in clarity or definition!"


Anonymous Mindy Moser said...

Thank you Colleen. I loved it.... Great story girl...

3:29 PM  

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