Officially named: Damen Fast Crew Supplier 5009 Seating for 80 persons Deck cargo 250 tonnes Cruising speed 25 knots. Depending on the loading. The power required for this was 4,472 kW = 6,000 bhp. This was provided by 4x Caterpillar 3512B on four screws.
What is special about the axe bow is that the draught at the fore is deeper than that at the aft. As a result a part of the ship remains in the water in rough seas so that the ship does not start to beat on the waves. The shape is derived from an axe, hence the name.
On 24 February 2008 we flew to Singapore to sail the “Don Osiris” to Ciudad del Carmen in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a distance of 12,000 miles, more than halfway around the world. The journey was to go from Singapore via the Strait of Malacca, notorious for piracy (and therefore not particularly popular with us either), below Sri Lanka and India through the Indian Ocean to Yemen. It is necessary to stay far out from the coast of Somalia, also in order to avoid piracy. We entered the Red Sea for our first bunker stop in Suez, because the 160,000 litres were finished. Then through the Suez Canal to the next stop which is Malaga – Spain, again for bunkering, stores and a change of captain. There was another job for the captain, namely a trial run with a naval ship in Thailand. If, like Damen, you have shipyards all over the world, then you have to fly a lot.
With the stop in Malaga it was essential to take as much fuel with us as possible so that we could cross the Atlantic without having to refuel. A date had actually been set upon which the ship would start on its new contract (10 April 2008). It was therefore necessary to maintain a speed of 15 knots. Quite a speed for us because with tugboat deliveries we usually sail at a speed of around 8 knots.
The trip should be possible in 14 days from Malaga. At 08:00 hours on 22 March we pulled in at Malaga. And the Caterpillar dealer would be there with a new cooling-water pump. Later this turned out to be the wrong one. The gas oil came by lorry. This had to load three times, so at 19:00 hours it was all in. The new captain was on board, the old one had left, we were to leave in the middle of the night despite gale warnings for the Strait of Gibraltar. It was therefore very hard work. When we were near Madeira the weather got a bit better and we could set our course for the Mona Passage. This lies between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. There we would enter the Caribbean.
As we had the wind and current behind us we were travelling pretty fast and we could bring forward our ETA to 6 April around 14:00 hours. However we had a request from the client to increase our speed in order to be able to arrive a day earlier. We were going to try it. The rpm increased to 1300, the speed climbed to 18.5 knots.
After a day it was over. We could not make it to arrive on Saturday morning before 10:00 hours. After this time the authorities had their weekend off, so it was going to be Monday morning daybreak 06:00 hours. We did not like this at all, after all we had been striving for 5 weeks to meet the date and we were now being thwarted by a bunch of officials at the end of our journey. On Monday morning at daybreak the pilot came on board and we were directed to the port of Ciudad del Carmen. Right in front of the customs office, because the men did not want to have to walk too far. At 12:00 hours we were ready to move to the pier of Naviera for completion of the procedures and the signing of the ‘Bill of safe arrival’. After this our work was finished and we could go the hotel. Only the captain still had to turn up the next day for trial runs. Furthermore there was a Dutch film crew which was filming a Damen promotion film. That Tuesday a few hours of fast sailing at sea with an Axe Bow which had been delivered earlier, the “Dona Diana”, and an American product, the “Dona Sofie”. This provided some more spectacular pictures.
After this it was all over for us. The client happy that he had his ship on time to start its new contract on 10 April. And we happy that it was all over again. On Wednesday evening in Mexico City we boarded the KLM jumbo to arrive back at Schiphol on Thursday afternoon. Said goodbye to the crew and off home for a well-earned break, 37 days of only wind and water is more than enough. Until a next trip, who knows where from and where to.
10 April 2008