The price of their safety is eternal vigilance on our part.
Lance Carpenter, a man of mythical vindictiveness, had displaced the previous CEO at a high point in Kobold Oil’s offshore operational record. The company was producing oil at less cost, and more safely, than its competition. Equally importantly, it retained its trained personnel in spite of the dedicated poaching of workers by competitors. Both areas were the result of Richard Forest’s policies, implemented, and then maintained in the face of upper management skepticism. He remembered believing at the time that he had won the war, that he could now consider his future secure. But Carpenter had his own ideas of how to run a business.
Under Carpenter’s watchful eye, the crews become overworked. Workers get hurt. Other workers get called back from vacation too early. Safety programs are cut short to move new workers into the field. Accidents multiply. Costs rise. The shareholders begin to worry.
Displacing 150,000 tons of water, the converted tanker Timor Phoenix was the result of an ambitious Australian man’s efforts to grow wealth for Kobold Oil. Changed into an accident-prone “Floating Oil Production Facility” due to an unnecessary degree of economizing on her equipment and facilities, she was nevertheless an unqualified success for a while. Working in her assigned field of oil wells, ninety kilometers south of Timor, she had helped Kobold Oil grow into a vastly larger and wealthier company. Then, one day, among her assigned oil wells, she was in the right place at the right time…so some would say.
But the directors who had opposed the project and then benefited from it immensely still wanted revenge against the brilliant man who’d forced the project through, passed their objections that showed a lack of foresight. Objections tinged with anxiety…even fear.
The United Nations mission in East Timor was overrun with refugees escaping the brutal militia. Abandoning their meager possessions, a mass of humanity, representing all ages and social conditions, had packed into the UN facility, praying for deliverance from the vicious and blood-mad militia.
As one of the overloaded helicopters carrying desperate refugees – mostly children – lifted from the UN facility, weapons from the militia tracked it…and damaged it. Suddenly unable to climb above the mountains between him and safety, the pilot was left with two unenviable choices – fly around the mountains in a damaged machine, or head out to sea to land on the massive Floating Oil Production Facility that had volunteered its services. The ship seemed the better choice. And so, the pilot aimed his machine for the big “H” painted on the deck of the vessel known as Timor Phoenix.
Now, the exhausted, overworked crew of Timor Pheonix has a load of untrained, under-educated refugees on their accident-prone ship.