"Northern Magnitude" - passenger number 1! :)
These ships provide me with my only "real" vacation. This one was a gooood one!
Thank you Maersk!! And thank you to Captain Jens Lorenz and his spirited crew! Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)
The "Northern Magnitude" became my 9th containership within the Saga...and within my life for that matter. Something I've never thought about before is how much it means where and when a ship was built. Our planet went through a global financial crisis in 2007-09. It's still felt today in some places although the recent immense drop in oil prices is now the huge economic factor for many. You should know by now that the financial partner of the Saga has from day 1 been Ross Offshore (www.rossoffshore.no). As the name gives away they are in a business which makes them highly sensitive towards the prices on the oil market. But they continue to create a "deeper understanding" and I'm still privileged to feel their support. So we all owe Ross a huge THANK YOU for bringing the project this far.
The "Northern Magnitude" was built in South Korea back in 2003 which makes it a formidable ship! I've never seen an indoor pool on a ship before and this one even had a sauna! Wow! It apparently also handles well ;)
The water is straight from the ocean and is replaced every 2-4 days. The temperature was 25 degrees Celsius;)
The crew onboard these ships are hard working and hardly have time for such luxury. But it certainly helps boost the spirit onboard. In my opinion the Captain is also paramount to the wellbeing of a crew. And this crew was amazing.
Walking up the gangway was an extra long trip.
Out of the 9 ships I've seen, only two have been really large. This one was 300m long and could carry 6,967 containers! Think about that for a moment... That's 3 football fields floating at sea! I used to live in a twenty foot container 16 years ago. It was for a job and the containers we lived inside were created especially for the circumstances and hosted 3 men each. Now think about 6,967 containers!!
The "Northern Magnitude" carried me from Mauritius (country 116) to Durban in South Africa. They would have brought me all the way to Port Elizabeth which was their next port of call after Durban. But there was congestion at the port due to high wind speeds, which meant that the port cranes couldn't operate for 6 out of 8 days. The congestion started long before we arrived and the captain had naturally already been advised by the agent in Durban well in advanced. So at sea we drifted for a while. That means the captain gave orders to stop the engine at sea, so that we saved bunker (heavy fuel), which is good for the environment and for the ships economy as well. However, with our deliberate delay at sea, we still had to wait at anchorage for several days outside Durban. Everyday the captain would receive new notice about when we could come along side...and the day and time for that was pushed again and again...
This electronical chart of Durban shows you how full the port was. We were waiting outside in the "white" part of the chart.
You see, when your containerized cargo is delayed, its rarely due to the ship, but due to all sorts of outside circumstances. In this case the port of Durban was full of ships waiting to be unloaded and loaded, so at anchorage outside Durban it was much like a parking lot full of huge ships. A spectacular view! As the days went on I was eventually forced to leave the ship in Durban and not in Port Elizabeth which is much closer to Cape Town. Why did I so badly need to go to Cape Town? Well I'll keep that a secret for a little while longer. But I'm working on something big for the Saga and for all of you ;) Cape Town is well out of my way geographically. To be more exact it's 1,688km (1,049mi) in the wrong direction from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania which I'm trying to get back to.
For me personally, something extraordinary is currently going on within the Saga. We have successfully completed visiting the great island nations of Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius in the Indian Ocean! It took two "soul sellers" (worn down minor ships) and 3 containerships. Two of the containerships were "Panama Class" and the last one was, as described above, much larger! Now I need to backtrack around 4,872km (3,027mi) over land to get us back on track. And I plan to due this via Victoria Falls in Zambia to revisit a good friend and to pick a route I'm familiar with.
This shows the breadth of the accommodation!
I've already written much about being onboard containerships so I will not repeat myself, but instead share pictures with captions. You can use the "search function" on the top right of the webpage (www.onceuponasaga.dk) to find the other stories.
And I cannot stress enough how much the kind cooperation of Maersk Line (www.maerskline.com), the worlds largest container shipping company, has meant to the success of doing what we have recently done.
And as a final note I must repeat that traveling on these ships as a passenger is highly unusual, a great privilege and not something you can easily repeat ;)
There was even an elevator onboard!
You enter at UPP (upper deck) - my cabin was on F deck.
The captain gave me the honor of having the owners cabin which has only happened once before!
My personal living quarter.
My bedroom - missed my girlfriend ;)
And my personal bathroom.
The officers messroom looked like this.
The food was great! 3 meals a day: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Beverages included. Good stuff!
The officers recreation room was where I watched more than 50 episodes of "Doctor House".
The gymnasium was well equipped.
Usually the art on the walls consist of pictures of ships. This ship had proper art and it was actually a pleasure.
In some places the walls are decorated with notices, instructions, guidelines and warnings.
On the "Northern Magnitude" safety drills are had every Saturday. The captain blows the "general alarm" or the "abandon ship" to keep the crew prepared.
For whatever reason Danish style cookies seem highly popular on containerships? :)
I spend a lot of time on the bridge as it speaks to my nature. On the bridge you have all the information and it's also a great place to spot for whales.
"Tonight retard" does not mean that there will be a crazy party. It's a notice to the crew that the ship will set its clock back 1 hour as we pass a timezone ;)
The 2nd engineer, Maksym Lukin, gave me a tour of the engine room which is in 4 STORIES!
This is the top of the engine which continues a few stories down. It was built by MAN B&W, has 10 gigantic cylinders and produces KW - 77,000 BHP at 104 RPM! IT'S POWERFUL and supplies a service speed of 25.6kn (49kph or 30mph)!
There were plenty of whales, when we passed Madagascar and when we approached South Africa. From our point of anchoredge outside Durban you were unlucky, if you didn't see whales every 5 minutes!
When we finally received notice to proceed inside Durban port a helicopter arrived to drop two pilots onboard the ship. If the helicopter looks small then it's because the bow (front) is 228.2 meters or 748.1 feet ahead from the bridge!
I became good friends with the 3rd mate Stanislav (Stas) Kovtun :)
Alas, I disembarked and headed for Durban...
Mr. Torbjørn C. Pedersen (Thor) - done with African islands!
"A stranger is a friend you've never met before"
Once Upon A Saga