On our arrival at Visby one thing stood out. The local Visby fog bank. About 3 miles long, 1 mile wide and located exactly where I was planning to drop my anchor. Not a single whiff of smoke was to be seen anywhere in the whole Baltic around us, except at the Visby anchorage. A really good way to start the day. However the sun was on my side and while I was lining up the Prinsendam, in the fog, for the pre selected anchor spot, the sunrays started to burn off the haze. By the time the hook was down we could see the breakwater and we had good visibility for the tenders. It would remain so for the rest of our stay.
Good visibility is of the essence here in Visby as there is a regular coming and going of ferry’s which maintain the regular connection between the island and Sweden. The harbour is not that big, so a ferry could easily overlook a small tender hugging the breakwater while it was arriving or departing. As the ferries were able to get in and out of the harbour I had been wondering whether I could not get the Prinsendam inside this harbour as well. It would have meant going stern in, as the harbour basin is too small to swing around but without wind it would have been possible. There was only one small issue; no dock available. The ferry docks take up most of the space in the port and the one cargo dock already had a cargo ship alongside it, so no other option than going at anchor and running a tender service. Which was not a problem at all as the wind had died down completely overnight and thus the water was as smooth as could be. I knew there would be wind coming during the day, mainly generated by the sunshine, but by 2 pm. we were leaving anyway. Before the wind could get any momentum going with the waves, we would be gone again.
I promised yesterday to tell something about the D.P or designated person. This is a function that exists nowadays in every shipping company. Since a number of years, each company has to have a comprehensive safety/operating program which encapsuls the way a company handles it ships. All the rules and regulations that a company has for running it ships are in some way brought under the umbrella of a Safety Management System or SMS. That system is divided in a number of topics which, within our company, we call the Marine Regulations. These include as examples: what the captain, should, can and must do, what training requirements there are for the crew. Standards rules for watch keeping, bunkering, discipline, when, how and to whom to report to, so that the whole fleet with all it ships works in the same way and operates according to the same standards. Within that system exists the position of the Designated Person or the D.P. He/she is a sort of contact person within the SMS system. The D.P has the right to cut through any company protocols and bypass anybody to go straight to the top if a serious issue would be brought to his/her attention.
Everybody has the right to contact the D.P and his/her photo and contact details are posted on the ships in various locations. So if a regular crewmember would have a severe safety issue and the captain would not be willing to take notice of it, then this crewmember could call directly the D.P. The D.P HAS to follow up and might decide that the issue is so grave that the regular chain of command in the office would not do in this case and then he has the right to walk straight into the office of our President and CEO, Mr. Stein Kruse. In a well operated company this aspect of the D.P is never needed but the law has foreseen that there might be issues hence the existence of the function.
One of the requirements of the D.P is that he/she should visit all the ships of the company at least once a year; to talk to the ships management and to verify that the system is working. Thus we had our D.P, Captain Roussel who in regular life is the VP Nautical & Compliance in the office, onboard for the day. He met with all the officers and petty officers to discuss the SMS culture in our company. As HAL is now so large, a visit to the ship of a VP and a meeting with the crew is a great motivational tool to keep everybody focused.
Tomorrow we are in Copenhagen and I am docking at the Lange Linjen in downtown, the best spot to be in. Good weather is expected and hopefully the ships progress through the Drogden Approach channel will be fast enough so that I have time to swing on arrival and dock nose out.