NEW DELIVERY: CAPTAIN KAREL & CREW
Our captain Karel has delivered many vessels over the years. Time to hear about his last delivery: The tug Pioneer from Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, The Netherlands to Congo. Here is his story …
The Damen ASD 2811 tugboat “Pioneer” owned by Damen Marine Services BV is one of the latest ASD designs from Damen Shipyards and is Tier III certified. Our ship delivery crew joined the vessel in Gorinchem, Damen’s main shipyard in the Netherlands. We immediately started preparing the ship and making it seaworthy for our voyage to Congo. We provisioned the ship and took on fuel, water and stores. The vessel was quickly ready to sail.
CITY LIGHTS OF ROTTERDAM
After departing the shipyard, we sailed through the Dutch river system towards Rotterdam. It was a lovely trip, passing many bridges, and late in the evening we reached the sea at Hook of Holland. We left the city lights of Rotterdam behind us and headed for the horizon. Soon we were in the North Sea swells and strong winds. In the first few days the sea was rough and the winds were strong – up to 6 BFT. The Pioneer handled these conditions very well. She is a powerful and stable tugboat. Once we left the English Channel the weather improved, the sea became smooth and even the Bay of Biscay was like paradise. We sailed long North West swells with wind force 1.
From then on the crew started to really enjoy the voyage. Nature welcomed us too when a lot of dolphins began jumping around the vessel. Day by day and night by night, the Pioneer slowly moved south west to reach the bunker port of Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. We took on fuel, freshwater, and provisions during our stay on this fantastic island, and our chief engineer Jan did some maintenance.
Once at sea again, we continued the voyage southwards to our final destination, Pointe Noire in Congo. The weather was nice and warm. It was a pleasant part of our voyage with outstanding European and Indonesian cuisine by our talented cook 😉. Shortly after Las Palmas, we had visitors around the vessel: an orca family. For almost half a day they jumped around the bow and displayed their lovely jumping skills. Looks like nature likes this Damen ship. But another challenge lay ahead of us: the Gulf of Guinea, the area famous for piracy. We performed all the necessary drills and preparations to keep the vessel and her crew safe. As the vessel steamed southbound, the outside temperature rose. The Pioneer was approaching the equator. Luckily, all the crew were certified and Neptune approved to cross the equator. The weather in the Gulf of Guinea was volatile. We had all kinds of weather every day: sunshine, squalls, thunderstorms, rough seas and smooth seas. As we approached Pointe Noire, the Pioneer was redirected to the anchorage. The crew cleaned the ship, desalted the deck and made the exhaust pipes clean and shiny. The Pioneer looked like a brand new ship that had just departed Damen’s shipyard.
Shortly afterwards the vessel was granted permission to enter the port. Near the breakwater, we had a friendly and warm welcome from other tugboats already operating in the port of Pointe Noire. Pioneer pulled up alongside and after the lines were fastened, the vessel had reached her final port. On the quay were many visitors who had come to see our new ship arriving, and a drone monitored our first movements in the port. The engines were stopped and the crew started packing their suitcases and preparing to fly home to rest and enjoy being at home before the next ship delivery voyage.
Many thanks to the crew: chief engineer Jan, chief officer Ceceng, AB Yahya, AB-Cook Achmad for your wonderful cooperation and teamwork to get the job done.