INT. BARGE - DAY
Crewman EPPS (29), wearing a life vest and tool belt, jumps
down into the darkness. She stands in a great hollow cavern,
oily, wet, resonant with the sound of creaking, rusty steel
and WATER MOVING OVER ITS HULL on the other side.
INT. BARGE - LATER - DAY
Epps comes to a low point in the darkness, shining her light
on a lake of salt water sloshing against the bulkhead. She
kneels. As the water sloshes back she sees that it is leaking
in through the seams in the steel plate of the hull.
EXT. BARGE - LATER - DAY
Epps pulls herself onto the deck from below. She stands on a
rusting 5000 ton tank barge being pulled in the open ocean
by a brawny marine tug at the end of a 150 foot tow cable.
It is a typical summer day in the southern Bering Sea, which
means a healthy chop and a stiff cold breeze out of the north-
west. She closes the hatch behind her and makes her way
EXT. BARGE - BOW - MOMENTS LATER - DAY
Up ahead, the tug pulls steadily, grey-black clouds of diesel
smoke rising from its massive turbine vents.
Epps cinches and checks her body harness, focused and
professional. The product of a rocky childhood in the Pacific
Northwest and a few years of hard living, she's found her
true calling now. And under some grime, several polypro shirts
and a pair of orange men's Insulite pants she might even be
She clips her harness into the tow cable where it attaches
to a heavy pair of eye cleats at the bow. She climbs onto
the cable, hanging out over the water as it breaks on the
bow beneath her. She pulls herself forward on a roller bearing
that fits over the width of the cable and starts off toward
the tug at the other end.
EXT. ARCTIC WARRIOR - LATER - DAY
DODGE and GREER look on from the stern, where the boat's
name "Arctic Warrior" is emblazoned on the transom. Dodge
(37), scruffy chief engineer, wearing de rigueur greasy
coveralls and nicotine stained fingers, is an expatriate
Texan and former merchant marine. GREER (42), is the boat's
first mate, African American, originally from some sweltering
red-neck hellhole, now a tug pilot intentionally well to the
They watch as Epps pulls herself toward them, the cable
occasionally dipping a few feet with a spray of water as a
passing swell slackens it. Epps pulls herself to the stern
where the cable winds into a tow anchor.
It's a slow leak.
She unclips and drops to the deck.
Maybe twenty gallons an hour.
Amidships starboard at the beam.
Just under the waterline. I don't
think it's a problem.