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Use of new technology in the bunker business, such as mass flow meters has been a source of some debate in recent times, with some gloom-and-doom merchants predicting that this would prove to be the end of the independent bunker surveyor as we know it. Not so, we gather from FOBAS’s Douglas Raitt; even if new technology is introduced, there will still be a need for independent assessments to check, among other things, whether the flow meter is working properly! The message therefore is don’t be afraid of new technology. It will always go wrong and there will always room for someone to charge you to tell you it’s gone wrong.

This reminds us of one of Spinnaker’s MD’s favourite career anecdotes from his days in banking (when banks were honest and the bosses had mahogany desks instead of big bonuses). An IT expert (or was it a typewriter repair man) was called in to fix a broken computer. He was there for five minutes and sent in a bill for one thousand pounds. Asked to break it down, he wrote “Twiddling knob, 1 pound. Knowing which knob to twiddle, 999 pounds.”

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