The Flinterbaltica (2004) and the Flinterbothnia (2003) participate in the project Shore Support. Shipping company Coastwise manages these two high Ice Class ‘multi-purpose’ vessels of 3481 ton Dwt, in cooperation with Flinter for the chartering. Both vessel are equipped with MaK diesel engines of 1850kW. The sailing areas are Northwest Europe, Mediterranean, Baltic Seas and even to the lakes in Finland, just like the vessels’ names.
Shipping company Coastwise is owned by Douwe van den Berg (41) & Eelko Wijdieks (43), who officially started their cooperation in 2002 after finding a suitable partner being Flinter. In approximately 2002, Flinter introduced a project to sail with more captain owners and built the Flinter b-class vessels.
Who is Douwe van den Berg?
“I started my sailing career after earning a degree at the Maritime Academy in Delfzijl as Officer on shortsea vessels in 1986. Thereafter I sailed for shipping company Madora (the Verschoor family), first as apprentice, later as officer and engineer, where I met Eelko Wijdieks. In 1994 I became captain owner of the MS Rachel. At the same time, Eelko did the same on the MS Marinier. Both vessels were sold at the end of 2003 and plans were made for Shipping Company Coastwise. Further about myself, I live in Makkum together with my wife and (2) children.”
How did you become familiar with Shore Support and why did you decide to join the project?
“During the building phase of the vessels, Eelko and I realized that our CoC’s according to STCW had expired for our engineering degrees, because of our continuous sailing time as Captain. We applied to the KVNR and the IVW if possibilities existed to become a Ship Manager with a dual position on board instead of an ordinary Captain. KVNR informed us about the project Shore Support with another view on this case, but fortunately with good possibilities. As from the construction phase, we had the idea to sail with two Maritime Officers, of which one First Marof. This First Marof is quite hard to find, similar to a Chief Engineer for these vessels. With Shore Support, we got the chance to employ recent graduated Marofs.”
Do you see any more advantages of the new concept for the short sea industry?
“For sure! An improvement in balance between working time and resting period for the total crew is one of the advantages. With the Marofs, we changed from a 6/6 hours to a 4/8 hours watch with the same work/leave schedule. The maintenance on the vessel has also definitely improved. Besides this, sailing with a crew of similar backgrounds and nationalities is experienced as quite pleasant, resulting in less language issues and better communication during work and social hours. We sail with a young crew of motivated people, with 2 recent graduated Marofs and 1 apprentice. Of course not treating them all alike, we have even experienced Chief Engineers that couldn’t remove a cylinder head.”
What kind of experiences do you have with shore-to-ship support and have costs change?
“In case of any issues on board, Shipping Company Coastwise is the first contact point with Flinter as back-up for support from the shore. Next to that we make use of the services of Bolier, Pon Power, Alewijnse and several other companies positive results. For shore based maintenance, project Shore Support has not changed a lot for us. Besides this, costs have not significantly changed, as maintenance and wages must be paid anyway."
How do you think about the responsibility of the captain due to the project Shore Support?
“The responsibility stays the same. Both Eelko and I are dual educated and the same applies to our replacing captains, who we selected accordingly. "
How do you ‘sell’ the project Shore Support and what are the opinions, including yours?
“On behalf of Coastwise, we support the project positively and we hope the STCW regulations will be amended. Sometimes other Captain owners ask for our experiences and among the b-class vessels of Flinter, Shore Support has really become an important project with considerable benefits.”
More information: http://www.coastwise.nl & http://www.flinter.nl