Travel letter from Bow Guardian
A week at sea
A week at sea, 4-5 meter high waves, Indian cuisine three times a day, seasickness, dominoes and dart tournament with agents – although this might not at first, appear significantly intriguing, except the latter, it was nevertheless a life experience I will never forget.
My journey: Gothenburg → Teesport (UK) → Terneuzen (The Netherlands)
The journey began with a ride on a launch boat from Gothenburg port to the anchorage location of the gas carrier, the 9,000 cbm Bow Guardian, which took about an hour. Already at this point the weather was fairly rough with a swell around 4-5 meters, so being on a launch boat, i.e. a rather small sized boat, I realised, I am not that seaworthy after all.
LIFE AT SEA
As a first year trainee, with limited experience and knowledge concerning vessels, the opportunity to come onboard and travel with a vessel to learn more about not only the vessel, but also the life of a seafarer, was a valuable lesson.
The entire crew on Bow Guardian is of Indian descent including the cook, so the food was of course also Indian. Normally I love Indian food, and the food was indeed very delicious, but three times a day, every day, was a bit too much I must admit - even just for one week. In addition, spicy food and seasickness appeared not to be a good combination, at least not for me.
Onboard I had plenty of time to inspect the inside of the vessel and learn more about the different procedures carried out on a gas carrier. I got a better understanding of how the vessel prepares the tanks before loading, comprising gas freeing and purging of the tanks i.e. “cleaning” the tanks.
DOMINOES AND DART
One of the aspects of shipping I love is the sometimes rather unexpected and spontaneous way of lifestyle. Having finally arrived in Teesport after 1.5 days at sea, I met with our agent Casper Shipping, with whom Lauritzen Kosan has done business all the way back to 1959. The original plan was just a short visit to their office and then back to the vessel, however I was invited on a guided tour on Tees River, thereafter for lunch and later for an annual dinner event held at a small British pub in the Northern part of Yorkshire. Here I got to taste an original steak and kidney pie along with local brewed beer, and met other shipping related people. This was a perfect opportunity to practice my networking skills as well as my skills in dominos and dart.
Besides learning about the technical aspects of the vessel, one of my key learnings was understanding the tasks the crew onboard has on a daily basis combined with which obstacles they might face. I believe this knowledge is pivotal to enhance communication and cooperation between office and vessel.
Moreover did I get a taste of life at sea and a feeling of how it was to be a Viking travelling the seas – of course in a more modern and non-violent way.
Thanks to Casper Shipping, Odfjell, and a special thanks to Captain Pavan Pandey and rest of the crew on board Bow Guardian.
Michael F. Thomsen
1st year trainee