He is a romantic pur sang
A sailor in heart and soul, and he loves a good challenge. Meet Tjalling van der Zee, Ship Delivery Captain, and read about his delivery voyage with a double tow.
Preparations in Nigeria all went according to plan. TOS Superintendent Ernst Weggers was hard at work, as usual. On shore, it was a well-organised chaos. Wonderful to see the hustle and bustle in the port. Getting three ships ready for a long delivery voyage is no small task. Especially since the maintenance was done according to Nigerian standards. And then, finally, the time has come; the time for departure. Now, the fun can begin. There is always a good level of pressure to get it all done, but with the years of experience you know that everything is going to work out just fine. The risks are calculated risks. And then we set sail. The harbour is closed for traffic. Everyone is watching, keeping an eye on the developments. A double tow is always special to see. I adjust the tow to the right length. The crew checks one last time if everything is fastened and secured. And then we head for our destination… on automatic pilot.
During the first days, we get used to the swells, we monitor the vessels, engines and the tow and we rest in between. After 72 hours, we have found a routine that works well. I take a moment every morning for my coffee, while everyone leaves me in peace. They know me well! Many colleagues don’t understand why I sail with a double tow. They always say the same: “It goes so slowly, it’s a lot of extra work and it’s difficult to adjust your course during bad weather.” But I really like the challenge. Experience makes it easier to calculate the risks and a bit of pressure is good for me. We sail for a total of eight weeks. It’s nice to do the job together. A job well done!
DOUBLE TOW CREW
The crew is more like a group of good friends. I notice it right away as we arrive at the airport. These young crew members have known each other for quite some time. There is a lot of laughing and playing around, it’s great to see. It’s an experienced tow & delivery crew. They work very hard to get everything ready. The ship delivery preparations pose a serious challenge, but the crew handles it nicely. During the voyage, Chief Officer Vadym has good news to share. He has just become father to his new-born son! We celebrated with cake, thanks to our cook Igor.
GREAT–GRANDFATHER WAS A FISHERMAN
They often ask me, “How did I end up in this line of work?” Now, that story isn’t very complicated. I was born into a seafaring family. My great-grandfather always sailed as a fisherman with Lemmer as his home base. My father was captain of the KJCPL [Koninklijke Java-China-Paketvaart Lijnen, known outside the Netherlands as Royal Interocean Lines]. I was born in South Africa and, hence, I have a double nationality: Dutch & South African. As a child, I lived for five years in Durban, South Africa and I got to join the voyages along the West and East coast of South Africa and the Persian Gulf via the Strait of Hormuz. Those were good times. Once back in the Netherlands, you would always find me at the water: on small boats, sailing and fishing. I have sailed a lot on the brown fleet and tugboats and I eventually got my official papers and became certified. J
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