Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Experiences on board of a Container Ship

On Sunday noon, March 17th 2024, I went on board of M/V Katharina Schepers at the CTB Burchard Kai in the port of Hamburg, Germany. I was welcomed by second officer Konstantinov and captain Skrychevskyy, both from Ukraine. I was happy to move into the spacious owner's cabin with large bed, own shower, toilet and desk.

KATHARINA SCHEPERS (IMO: 9584865) is a Container Ship and is sailing under the flag of Portugal. Her length overall (LOA) is 151.72 meters, her width is 23.4 meters and her draft is 8.0 meters. She was built in 2012 in China, max. speed is 19 kn, engine power about 9000 kW, carrying capacity is 13031 t or about 500 standard containers and a crew of 12 men.

In the afternoon we moved to the Eurogate container terminal and next morning to Tollerort East to pick up some empty old cooling containers. At 14:00 we reached the western gate of the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal in Brunsbuettel and left the NOK at 23:00 in Kiel

On Tuesday 19th we passed Storeboelt bridge at sunrise and docked at Aarhus port in Denmark at noon. 




 Early next day with heavy fog we left Aarhus and reached Goteborg in Sweden at 16:30, got a full load of heavy crude oil from a anker ship. After midnight we left Goteborg and passed Helsingoer castle at sunrise. At noon our cook Mejeres from the Philippines served us an exceptional meal: oxtail soup, halibut steak, fried potatoes, mixed salad and some fruits.

Next morning at 5:00 we reached Gdansk in Poland, spent the whole day to get fully loaded and left at 21:15 for Norrkoeping in Sweden south of Stockholm where we docked on Sunday 23rd at 08:15. Half of the containers were unloaded and we left at 17:00 in heavy fog.

At sunrise next morning we passed north west of Ekeroe at clear sky with -3°C and a nice breakfast with scrambled eggs, Emmentaler cheese and grilled sausages. After noon we docked in the container port of Gavle north of Stockholm. During the night I visited the engine room with engineer Badillo from the Philippines and a lot of snow fell. 

After finishing loading operations we left Gavle on time at 10:00. We passed some ice sheets floating in the narrow channel and started our long journey back to Kiel.




After passing Oeland to starboard at noon of Wednesday with a lunch of tasty fish-soup and stir-fried beef filet and vegetables we passed the narrow and dangerous Kadetrinne northeast of Rostock at 04:00 on Thursday 28th. 

At 11:00 the pilot for Kiel came aboard. He changed at the eastern lock of the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal with 2 special pilots, who steered the boat carefully to Brunsbuettel, where we left the NOK at 20:15 turning north, passed Cuxhafen and then the famous Elbe lightship at midnight, and finally docked at the vast container port of Bremerhaven at 03:00 on Friday 29th, March 2024.

After a short sleep I left Katharina Schepers in the morning and enjoyed a nice day visiting Bremerhaven, went on to Hamburg to reach my flight back to Vienna.

Sailing 2200 sm during 12 days on board of this impressive container ship I got a lot of experiences. Large ships may use 20 ship-length to come to a standstill, so for example 4sm. Now I know, that it is very wise to always give way to an approaching large cargo ship, even though according to the COLREGs you would have the right of way as a sailing boat. 

You may download our track in gpx-format

or view it directly on GoogleMaps .