A navigation from Dunkirk to Saint-Nazaire
by Alexandre Dechelotte, CCO and co-founder of Plastic Odyssey
First day of 2022, first voyage for the Plastic Odyssey vessel. After many postponements, departure details are finally in place. This is good news for the whole team: seeing the ship at sea – after so many months in the shipyard – reassures our troops and boosts their spirits! This navigation has a very special flavor, because its goal is to reach the port of Saint-Nazaire as soon as possible to start… a new refit! The last one. After more than a year and a half of renovation in the expert hands of the Damen shipyard in Dunkirk, the ship will now undergo its last big repair: replacement of a complete ballast tank whose wear was discovered during an inspection a few months ago. An area that had never been visited during the ship’s 40-plus year life time; it is fortunate that this defect was discovered before the big departure.
Monday, January 3, 2022
Today the ship has to reach Cherbourg and will leave Dieppe in a few minutes.
The bay’s entrance must be passed after 10:00 am because of the tide. 117 nautical miles await us between Dieppe and Cherbourg. We have to hug the coastline, without distancing too far away. We will pass off Le Havre before heading North-West towards the French Cotentin coast.
The mooring lines are split (ready to be let go) and the ship starts to turn with the help of a towboat, which pushes the ship’s nose.
The crew is well trained, the maneuvers are carried out without any problem and soon the ship is in a free passage situation. But one hour later, the engines overheat. Again, the refrigeration issue prevents us from operating the ship at full capacity.
After a stop to cool down the engines, the route continues but at reduced speed and load. And facing the 3 knots of ebb tide2, the ship struggles to move forward. This pushes back its ETA3 to Cherbourg.
The maneuver went well and the crew can disembark to rest before the next navigation. The weather conditions will allow us to set sail on Wednesday or Thursday. As soon as the captain announces this to me, I rush to book my train tickets to participate in the next navigation!
2 Falling tide current.
3 Expected Time of Arrival.
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