Written by Master Jussi Vaahtikari, this log book follows the maiden voyage of Haaga. She was delivered from Jinling Shipyard in China at the end of August. From the shipyard, she sailed to Japan to load her first cargo with destination Oxelösund, Sweden. This log book gives a glimpse to the daily work onboard from different points of view in this very special voyage.
The ship is now ours and the game begins. Change of the flag and formalities were completed afternoon and right after that, we received our first spare part shipment. During the coming days, we will receive at least 40 tons of supplies, 150 tons of fresh water, bunkers and provisions for more than two months, including kilos of rice and chicken. If one takes a look at the map one can see that there is a couple of routes to Europe. The route via Panama Canal crosses the Pacific Ocean and the distance is about 13,500 nautical miles. That’s the longest way. Voyage via Suez Canal and the Red Sea is usually selected but due to pirate issues that alternative is not tempting. Moreover, the distance is still quite long.
Then there is the third alternative, but it’s not the obvious one and still quite unknown. They call it Northeast Passage or Northern Sea Route and that’s the path north of Siberia and so close to the North Pole that you can almost touch the Earth’s axis. Going there exposes the vessel for harsh conditions at high latitudes where getting help is not so obvious. But... This construction time has proven to me that if there are a handful of companies ready to sail through that route then that is ours. The vessel has adequate ice class, we have the crew meeting the requirements - ready to fulfil their duties and we already have good knowledge of how to perform at the Arctic. It’s not that we are a Finnish company and we live at the Arctic Circle because it’s not even close enough. You have to have more experience than just standing at minus temperatures and we have that.
We checked the possibilities. We evaluated the risks and pushed ourselves to make things happen and choosing the Northern Sea Route is just highlighting this. Why do this is that we like also to make a difference when it comes to climate change. This action and many others we make will cut our CO2-emissions remarkably and save big amounts of our common limited resources. This afternoon we also received the confirmation from Russian authorities that we are well fit for the duty ahead. I hold now the permission to sail through Northern Sea Route.
Coming days will also mean some hard-core training for the crew. The ship is not sailing anywhere before everyone knows their places in case of fire or other distress. We have to familiarise ourselves to our duties and for example, find blankets and pillows from supplies. Key members of the crew have been on site for a couple of months, but it is only now when we can start to make our own decisions over how to maintain the ship. It was late hours when we finally found the pillows and had the first night on board M/V Haaga.
Jussi Vaahtikari is Master of m/v Haaga. He has participated to the construction of Viikki and Haaga since the design phase and he was also part of the supervision team in China during the construction phase.
ESL Shipping is the leading shipping company transporting dry bulk cargo in the Baltic Sea. It secures raw material transportation for the industry and energy production around the year, even under difficult weather conditions. Its key customer segments include the steel, energy and mining industries.