A big shout out from your Captain on the mission floor. You guys mean a lot to me. I am often so preoccupied with my daily routine and do not get much time to communicate with you. Staying out in the sea for several months is no easy task.
Nevertheless, it comes with one of the most exhilarating feelings. The young cadets who are excited to become seafarers, might have the vision that sailing provides an amazing scenery of the shimmering blue sea and picture-perfect moments of dolphins, whales, flying fishes and much more… and yes it does sometimes. However, as a captain, my voyages involve a mixture of shared responsibilities and excitement.
However, as a captain, my voyages involve a mixture of shared responsibilities and excitement.
With all this pleasure, I still keep my focus on the task at hand. That is, to carry people’s goods as well as my passengers from shore to shore with precision and safety. I take pride in knowing that thousands of people are dependent on me to carry out my job efficiently.
Every voyage I take, I have to be cognizant that perilous disasters may transpire on the oceanic water. We may face engine problems, leakages, among other hazardous events. We, also, have to be on the constant lookout for changes in weather patterns. This is because the weather may change with quick pace. One minute the environmental conditions may be warm, calm and sunny; the next minute it changes to turbulent waters.
Shipyards mark the starting point for some delivery job processes and seek to optimize operations by providing maintenance services. This is paramount to the success of trade and the movement of goods across international borders. Before the vessel leaves the shipyard, it must be thoroughly inspected for steelwork deterioration, incorrections and other damages. All necessary marine and cargo equipment are checked, tested and verified, including the adjustments of loading and ballasting software. These procedures are critical to ensure safe travel… and operations.
Today I recognize that it is very important that delivery of any vessel is properly completed by experienced and committed crew
Our job makes me feel that I belong to something big and important and I’m helping things to go around, moving this world forward to a better future. It is important and a very interesting job that requires effective stress management, tons of knowledge in various spheres of human activity and of course experience, which is vital sometimes. And here I want to say couple of words about my ship delivery experience.
One of my most memorable voyages was one from the Shanghai Shipyard, China, in 2013. This has been quite a while now I must say. I was flown to Shanghai to collect a container ship. This was before I became the Master of any vessel. At that time, I served as Chief Mate in a reputable German company known as Reederei Hamburger Lloyd. The container ship to be taken control of was a 4600 TEU (twenty-foot equivalent unit) carrier with 45,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage). These vessels have extensive steelworks and therefore require much inspection.
Today I recognize that it is very important that delivery of any vessel is properly completed by experienced and committed crew. There are so many design gaps and worker mistakes to be prevented. I’ve seen so many of those while taking over couple of container boats in Shanghai Shipyard. I was Chief Mate at that time (2013), and I was so lucky to be guided by an extremely experienced Master.
Missing welding shims on watertight bulkheads, inadequate design and layout of workspaces on the Bridge and in Engine Room, poor pipework, to name a few. You have to take a look into every corner of the vessel to be taken over, have to operate every piece of equipment making sure that it is properly installed and not interfering with performance of other ship’s systems. You have to do as many tests as possible during several sea-trials. After the first sea-trial our comments list had over 200 items to be corrected or improved by the Shipyard. That’s a lot!
Then you’ve got to set it up for the operation. It actually means breathing life into the vessel. Our crew have received two 40-foot containers full of ship supplies. Navigational and office items, catering and laundry, full set of deck and engine gear. All of it had to be distributed around the vessel – that requires advance planning and proper teamwork. Before ship sails out you have to provide adequate training to newly assigned crew. Each crewmember requires duly assigned routine and emergency duties. With all the things that needed to be done, you can easily see that it is often a very high workload for everyone onboard.
…the crew members and I ensure that we do everything in our power to not only complete itineraries, but do so to the satisfaction of our clients by being reliable in our services.
After all necessary inspections and corrections were completed at the shipyard, the crew members gathered all essential equipment and entered the vessel. The vessel was released and we sailed towards the first port to commence operations. The voyage at sea was approximately 11 days and though we had a few rough weathers along the way, we kept up with maintenance as we keenly assessed the performance of the vessel and ensured that engine and deck logs documentation were routinely recorded. Throughout the voyage, position reports were sent on time, while maintaining the estimated time of arrival. We proactively ensured that logistical support was handled through the shoreside communications base station, via satellite phone communications. Upon the arrival of the vessel at the port we settled the delivery crew and prepared for the new itinerary that the container ship would be engaging in. From the activities of guarantee claiming to preparations for new itineraries, the area can easily become an environment with mass confusion. Our staff, however, was productive and well-organized which prevented the operations from being in turmoil.
During my career, I have participated in the delivery of 4 container carriers – 2 units as a Chief Mate and 2 units as a Junior Officer. I did not want to settle for these positions. So, I aspired to become the Master of the vessel. To my joy, I fulfilled this aspiration.
Honestly speaking, even though the experience is priceless and rewarding for any Marine Officer, a vessel delivery job can sometimes be a daunting challenge. Speed and timeliness are vital for efficiency in the world of marine assets delivery. Besides, the crew members and I ensure that we do everything in our power to not only complete itineraries, but do so to the satisfaction of our clients by being reliable in our services.
I am Capt. Vito …..arrr 😉