Overcast, gale (SSE Force 8), moderate visibility, vessel rolling due to typhoon backlash, +21 degrees, 1003 mbar
This morning news revealed the catastrophe in Japan. Typhoon Jebi has cleaned the table along the Japanese coast even though it reduced its force one step down from Super typhoon. Thoughts and prayers to them in need but if there are nations who can handle storms and natures worst sides that is the Japanese. For us, it is now to just bear these winds and waves.
Preparations for the North are going on around the ship. Not just in my cabin and feet. The crew is checking the methods to empty pipelines on the deck, covering some deck equipment with tarpaulins, switching on automatic heaters and adjusting air condition unit for the accommodation. Winter is coming, and one can feel it. Hot Japanese temperatures of +35 degrees have changed to below 20 and that’s surprisingly cold for me. Maybe I have been staying a too long time in the subtropical area. Well, time to just “chill” and winterize me back to normal.
Today we also made a lesson for the Filipino crew about the working on the Baltic Sea during the winter time. Our HR department has done a good job, as many of our crewmembers have already had some experience from the Baltic Sea, but some repetition of tricks and tips is still useful. Our company is actually one of the most experienced when it comes to winter navigation. We often visit most northern harbours in the Baltic Sea, but more and more also in the Arctic areas.
Our whole fleet is ice-classed and navigators share hundreds of years of combined knowledge how to handle vessels in ice. I often call our deck crew truly “Polarized” as they can stand in the wind and snow storm performing their duties without any hesitation. One of our success stories is that we have learned how to pass this knowledge from our older generation to younger without any problems.
As a testimony of this, the retention rate among seafarers has remained at a high level like in previous years. As a testimony of this, nine seafarers received a medal for 15, 25 or 35 years continuous service in the company.
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.