Meet Marcus Selos, an enthusiast chief officer, hooked on ship deliveries and lifelong learning.
Reading a new story about someone and his experience, in my opinion, is getting to know a person who might one day be your colleague. So, let me introduce myself to this big network of people who are connected to TOS and operate worldwide. My name is Marcus and I started working for TOS in 2017 as an officer. I did my first ship delivery as a chief mate on a Stan Patrol 4207 to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. After that trip, I was totally into doing more deliveries. Now, almost three years and ten deliveries later, the learning process hasn’t stopped. Each delivery is different and unique. I have sailed, for example, from Al Hamriyah all the way to Port-Kamsar in Guinea around the Cape of Good Hope! How many people can say: “I did that too”. It is an adventurous job that requires open-minded people who can think outside of the box. After all, the open sea can be beautiful, but also dangerous with sometimes unpredictable weather conditions. Sometimes you will sail close to a high-risk area. Selecting your next ship delivery crew?
TOS, count me in. I’m hooked!
From Hanoi to Al Hamriyah
I think it is time to tell you my story about the delivery of an ASD Tug 2813. It begins from the moment I walk out of my front door at home. At Schiphol Airport, I reunite again with the great cook, Jan Willem. Our captain is Erik Haijer. After touching down at Hanoi Airport, we take a taxi and drive two hours to Hai Phong. Once the crew is well rested, the agent picks us up and we drive through the beautiful scenery of Vietnam towards Damen Song Cam Shipyard.
Hai Phong Border
Office view Damen Shipyard
An excited crew
The crew is excited to see the ship and you can feel the positive vibes all around. At the office of Damen, we join a crew meeting with the project manager. After the introduction and safety briefing, we take a walk to the tugboat named Jawar Maysan. It is the latest model of Damen ASD Tug 2813, equipped with high-tech hardware and software and applied with a satellite compass. Its total power is 5050 KW, powered by two engines, and she has a bollard pull of 85 tonnes. In short: a powerful tug with a fantastic capability to manoeuvre.
Unfortunately, the interior is far from done. The guys from the shipyard are still painting and finishing it. There are plenty of people on board, but still, it remains a challenge to finish it on time and sail out on the scheduled date. I love a challenge, so we don’t hesitate and do our best to do the things we can do. Good teamwork: the preparation goes smoothly after all.
On the last day before departure, we celebrate Erik Haijer’s birthday. Paul van Herwijnen who is our chief engineer, Jan Willem and I pitched in to buy a sweet cake for this special occasion. When you are onboard and together with the crew, it gives you a family feeling. You take care of each other, make jokes, have fun and enjoy the trip. At the same time, we stay professional and dedicated to our work. Togetherness: it is a beautiful experience.
The ship is ready to sail!
With the pilot on board, we start our journey to Al Hamriyah via Singapore for a small bunker stop. When you sail from Haiphong to Singapore, you have to navigate with caution because of the significant amount of fishing boats around you. We also pass the Strait of Malacca, where you find even more fishing boats. The way I see it, you can’t gain more experience without the learning moments in life. In these moments you become focused and are able to put your knowledge into use in real-life scenarios. My watch ends at 6 AM and every morning there is a beautiful view. Every morning we are somewhere else, and the sky is always different.
When we’ve almost reached the pilot station in Singapore, I receive a message from VTS that the pilot boarding time has changed. Suddenly, the current is pushing us in at almost 1.4kn, but with an ASD you can only reduce your RPM to a certain point. So, I close my thrusters slightly until I reach the right speed and the correct ETA to the pilot station is set. When you put your thruster to a more closed position, they are no longer pointing straight to the back, but to the middle centreline. So, in this way, the speed will also drop. Yet another situation where you have to remain calm and always be thinking clearly to find a solution. It is merely a part of your job as a seaman and I like it very much. Having responsibility is a beautiful thing.
Once underway, we are continuously checking the weather forecast and we even adjust our route slightly. In front of us, there is a Super Cyclone Kyarr. It is moving away from India, so the passage is clear and looking good. But the next day, we discover another cyclonic system that is starting to gain strength near the southern coast of India. Although behind us, the cyclone over the Maldives has grown from well-marked low pressure into a depression and the forecast is warning that it will strengthen further into a storm within the next 72 hours. The deep depression is at the Lakshadweep Islands and moving northwest. We expect heavy rainfall and poor visibility. The next day, I made this shot.
Super Cyclone Kyarr
Because of the tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean and partly in the Arabian Sea, many fishing boats and small boats have gone missing and are in a distressed situation. Three days later, the sea becomes calm again and we see other vessels around us.
Less than 12 hours before arrival, we have great weather. We thoroughly clean the vessel and complete the work on deck. We want the ASD tug to look her best upon arrival, of course! We are approaching the coast of the United Arab Emirates with a representative tugboat. The Damen Shipyard crew in Al Hamriyah is standing on the quayside with their smartphones; taking pictures and with big smiles on their faces. Such moments are priceless and unique. When the ship is alongside the dock and all the mooring ropes secured, the guys standing on shore come aboard our tug and we all start talking and introducing ourselves. After the handover, the only thing left to do is unload our luggage from the vessel and drive to a hotel to get some rest before heading home again.
Calm seas again
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