Last month, our crew delivered the Afrik Magpie while towing the Afrik Eagle and Afrik Eider from Lagos (Nigeria) to Astakos (Greece). Captain Jan says: ‘It was a tough job, but at TOS we’ve got great ship delivery specialists, and good preparation and planning!’ Captain Jan is an experienced and loyal ship delivery Captain. He has sailed since forever and has seen it all. Still, a double tow is quite an amazing feat according to our Captain. ‘The preparation in Lagos was key!’
DOUBLE TOW: SPECIAL ATTENTION
Captain Jan: ‘A double tow is so unique that the departure and arrival always require extra attention. In this case, we had to depart from Lagos (Nigeria) with the help of only a small assisting boat. Then you need to have a good plan before the departure and setting the length of the towing wires. Also, we had the same circumstances for the arrival in Astakos (Greece). A small assisting boat kept the second tow going, while we brought the first tow around to one side. Then we were able to take over the second tow to bring it around to the other side. Simply a matter of coordination!’
‘While under way, the work is not much different from a single tow. But when bunkering off Mauritania and stocking up on provisions off Las Palmas, the double tow did create extra work. That is because the towing wires need to be made either shorter or longer. It’s important to do it in the right order to maintain a steady distance between the tows (125-150 metres). When you want to let out the lines you first have to let out the last tow, and when you want to reel them in you have to first shorten the first tow.’
THE TOWING: WIRES
‘Organising the towing wires is work that requires a specialist. Upon our arrival in Lagos, for example, we found out that there were no protective sleeves around the wires. And in Lagos, such dividable protective sleeves are not available on such short notice. We decided to cover each separate wire with a separate protective sleeve. We were able to get the sleeves in the wire size we needed (52-54 mm diameter) in Nigeria. In order to put the sleeves on, you have to cut the socket loose from the wire, slide the sleeve over it and then connect a new socket to the wire. Fastening a new socket to the wire is where a certified company is needed. This is also a requirement for the insurance of the towed objects. Together with the superintendent and the crew, we prepared the ships for the voyage. The delivery went very well. We had a good crew with the right mentality. Personally, I found the voyage to be a bit too long: ten weeks, of which we spent seven consecutive weeks out at sea. Now, the first thing on the agenda is to enjoy my vacation on solid ground!’
YOUR DESTINATION IS OUR CHALLENGE
We are experienced in the relocation of all types of vessels. For an all-in price and with clear terms and conditions, we can take care of flag state registration, certification, ISM and instruction of the new crew in preparation of handing over the vessel.