Officers Assistance on a Heavy-Lifter from the Briese Schiffahrts
GmbH & Co Kg , Leer/ Germany
slowly moves the vessel in the small fjord in Skjerstadfjorden,
which is located in the north of Norway (pictures 1,
On shore are standing some people, they are greeting and
taking pictures, just like me.
name is Eike Weißenborn, I'm 20 years old and working since
September 2016 as a nautical officers assistance (NOA) on
the heavy-lifter BBC Germany.
After six month, at sea I want to study for becoming a nautical
I'm sailing boats since I'm four years old, so it is no
surprise that the job of my choice is at sea.
sun is shining at this morning, like the three days before
when we were sailing along the beautiful Norwegian coast
Our next port is Rognan; it is a small village at the end
of the fjord.
The berth is just a few meters longer than our vessel and
located in front of rock formations (pictures 4, 5).
We were loading one container and one big cable drum. After
securing the cargo by lashing chains and stoppers, we started
our passage back through the fjord. It was already dark
when we prepared the pilot ladder and we saw impressive
slowly moving polar lights.
was one of the most beautiful passages in these first three
month, but my journey started somewhere else.
It was the morning of the 30th of august, when my parents
brought me to the airport in Bremen. After saying my parents
many times goodbye, I had my first flight from Bremen to
The second flight was from Amsterdam to the airport in Panama
City and had a duration of eleven hours. I was not the only
one who arrived with the destination BBC Germany in Panama.
Also the captain, 2nd engineer, 3rd engineer, electrician,
motorman and AB were at the airport. We were brought to
a hotel in Balboa (picture 6) and on the next to
a port where a boat took us to the BBC Germany which was
near the coast at anchorage between some other vessels.
After our boarding and the departure of the crewmembers
we changed, my first miles on board of a vessel as NOA started.
they started very good because we were passing through the
Panama Channel. It was interesting to see that trains are
pulling the ships before and in the locks (picture 7).
port after the Panama Channel was Houston in Texas (pictures
8, 9). This was the first time I have been in Amerika
and the first time I had to do gangway watch.
It is the task of me and one OS to stay in every port six
after six hours at the gangway and fill in the gangway logbook
with the data from the visitors.
Furthermore am I responsible for hoisting the flags at sunrise
and taking them down again at sunset.
On sea am I working from the morning until lunch on deck
and after lunch on bridge.
My usual working day starts with breakfast at 07:30 in the
mess room. At 08:00, the deck crew meets near the workshop
and the bosun explains what has to be done today. In Russian
of course, because the hole crew is Russian or Ukrainian
with one exception, me.
After that he explains to me my task in English or whom
of the crew I should assist in his work.
Examples for my work on deck are removing rust, grinding,
painting, cleaning, stowing and securing gear, testing the
lashing of the cargo, preparing pilot ladder and assisting
in mooring operations by preparing heaving-lines, operating
mooring winches and handling the mooring ropes (pictures
bridge am I for example correcting charts and the Admiralty
Catalogue, preparing a passage with the necessary charts
and nautical publications for practice.
Alternatively, I'm assisting the officer in his duties like
testing the EPIRB, SART, GMDSS and emergency signal equipment,
making entries in the chart or working with navigational
devices like AIS, GPS, ECDIS, compass and radar.
It is my intention to have an impression of every work,
which has to be done on a vessel. Therefore, I am going
to work at many places on the vessel and at many places
all over the world, because Houston was just the beginning
of a long journey.
next ports have been Freeport, Newport News in Virginia,
Antwerp in Belgium, Rotterdam in the Netherlands (picture
12), Skjerstadfjorden in Norway, a passage through the
Suez Channel in Egypt (pictures 13, 14), Hamriyah,
Jebel Ali, Ras Al Khaimah, Musaffah and Fujaihra in the
United Arabian Emirates, the kingdom Bahrain and Mumbai
in India (pictures 15, 16).
this first three month it was possible to see many things
like dolphins, wales, flying fish, pelicans beautiful landscapes
or nothing but the sea at 360 degrees around the vessel.
I also experienced the poor living conditions in Mumbai
in contrast to the futuristic skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi (picture
there was very interesting cargo like the large ones we
discharged in Houston, the parts of a crane which we carried
from Antwerp to the SAQR port Ras Al Khaimah (picture
or an Ampelmann which is a special gangway for offshore
vessels (picture 19).
It moves by itself to compare the movement of the vessel
and this makes it possible to use the gangway even at rough
the Suez Channel, my three month on the BBC Germany came
to their end.
After a flight from Cairo over Frankfurt to Bremen the next
three month on the sister ship BBC Scandinavia are beginning
In addition, they are starting very good, because we are
in a dry dock (pictures 20, 21).
Therefore, I am looking forward to the coming experiences
in the next three month as a NOA on a heavy-lifter.