The Daniella forms parts of the fleet owned by the heavy transport shipping company Kahn Scheepvaart from Rotterdam. Bert Barlagen spent 4 months aboard as third mate and wrote the following account of his trip.
Went aboard on 8 May in Rotterdam. After being welcomed by the friendly crew, there was fortunately just enough time for me to take a look round the ship and unpack my stuff. They had already loaded the cargo in the morning (2 reactors weighing 360 and 160 tons) and only needed to finish off the lashing. We then set sail for Immingham in England to pick up a few parts for a large tunnel bore. These were not so heavy, maximum 24 tons. This was followed by a 10-day Atlantic crossing to Montreal. Here we only had permission to anchor in the ports of Sarnia, Thorold and Toronto (all in Canada).
It was an amazing experience to sail over the Great Lakes and the Welland canal to the first port of unloading. The Welland canal is 43.4 kilometres long and is situated between Lake Ontario (74.98 metres above sea-level) and Lake Erie (174.34 metres above sea-level). In order to raise the ship almost 100 metres, a series of locks has been constructed in fairly close proximity. Four of these locks form a staircase and are a spectacular sight. It took us a total of 10 hours to pass through these four locks.
It took us 1 day to unload the reactors in Sarnia. But we didn’t leave port until the next day, allowing time to go briefly ashore to buy stores at Wal-Mart and for a pub crawl!
Early the next day we left for the second port of unloading: Thorold. This port is situated behind the lock on the Welland canal. We unloaded everything here in just one morning and could then clear up the deck at leisure. In the late afternoon, 8 of us ordered a taxi to go to Niagara Falls. These comprise two large waterfalls precisely on the boundary between Canada and the United States. The Canadian waterfall is truly gigantic. The water here falls many metres below with huge force.
We then “climbed” the Skylon Tower. This is 160 metres high and you have a fantastic view over the area.
So on our first free Saturday afternoon we set off shopping in our hired car. Everything as cheaply as possible, but nevertheless managed to hire a reasonable vehicle at Rent-a-Wreck. On Sunday we went to Paramount Rollercoaster Park to get ourselves thoroughly shaken up. After a week of maintenance work on deck, we could enjoy our second free weekend. On Friday evening, we “climbed” the CN Tower. This tower is situated on one side of Toronto Down Town and is 553.33 metres high: the tallest building in the world! From the top, the world lies at your feet. A magnificent view over Down Town with planes flying at the same height as yourself. The ship in port was no more than a millimetre in size.
After arrival in Albany, we started unloading virtually at once. The transformer was placed on a special heavy transport wagon. All in just a few hours.
There was still time in the evening to take a look at Albany. During a tour in the minibus owned by the seamen’s centre, we learnt a lot about the history of Albany.
Albany was founded in 1624 by the Republic of the Seven United Provinces as Fort Orange. It replaced Fort Nassau that was founded in 1615. It was mainly a trading post where beaver furs were bought from the indigenous population. In 1647 the town with the name Beverwijck was founded near the fort. It was the second town in New Netherland after New Amsterdam and was founded by Brant van Slichtenhorst. In 1660 the city had a population of 1050. The two most important streets in the town were Handelaersstraet (now Broadway) and Jonckheerstraet (now State Street). The town was surrounded by a wooden palisade.
In 1664 the English took control of the area. They renamed the fort Albany, in honour of the Duke of York and Albany, the later King James II of England (father-in-law of William III). In 1797, Albany became the capital of the State of New York. There is a monument in the port to the memory of the Russian crew members who died in the heavy transport ship Stellamare, owned by Kahn Rotterdam, that capsized.
The next morning we left full speed ahead for Panama City in the State of Florida. The trip down the Hudson River was particularly impressive. An incredibly beautiful view. Due to the good weather, there were many people on the river with their powerboats and jetskis. We also passed West Point military academy, the oldest military academy in the United States. Approximately 4000 students are educated and trained here to become officers in the United States Army. This time we passed Manhattan in daylight and of course the Statue of Liberty.
We sailed down the coast of Miami to Panama City in the Gulf of Mexico. The mercury was rising fast. By the time we arrived it was 38 degrees. When you left the cool air-conditioned accommodation, you felt you were hitting a wall of heat.
Our cargo comprised 3 large reels of cables to be used by the offshore industry to create a link between drilling rigs and/or the shore. A special cable-layer digs the cable into the seabed. The cargo came from Stolt Offshore and was destined for Vung Tau in Vietnam.
After a festive crossing and well-rested, we arrived 14 days later in the port of Santander. Here we would take on large dump-trucks each weighing 135 tons. They were being shipped by Caterpillar and were destined for Fremantle in Australia. Three trucks were loaded on Sunday and two on Monday.
On Tuesday we sped off to Kalundborg in Denmark. Here we would take on another 5 large reels for Stolt Offshore also destined for Vung Tau in Vietnam. The weight of these reels differs, but is around 228 tons.
In Kalundborg, after 4 months at sea, it was time for me to return home for a holiday! Looking back, this was a very interesting trip. Particularly because we were handling heavy cargo. Until then I really didn’t know what this was. It was certainly very varied work. There was an excellent atmosphere on board, partly due to the fact that the officers and engineers were all Dutch.
With best wishes,
Ship: Ms Daniella
Client: Kahn Scheepvaart