m/s Finnmaid (Pic by Dirk Jankowsky)
Having signed off Columbus Caravelle I was at home but was called from the job centre whether I would take on a short replacement job on FG-Shipping's M/s Finnmaid as 1st Officer, to which I agreed.
Finnmaid is one of the experimental ships from the era when the development of the Ro-Ro (roll-on/ roll off) concept was being tried out. It was originally built for a system developed by Finnlines but never took on, a bit like Sony's Betamax. So, she was converted to accept trailers and trucks. She was built in 1972 by the Wärtsilä shipyard in Turku, Finland. Length is 130m and she could load 5400 DWT.
The propulsion was also somekind of experiment of the time, she had twin screws but only a single rudder, this made her steering sluggish at slow speeds. No bowthruster but an air blower that could be used as one, the main idea for the blower was that the air would be blown under the ice so it would break easier during winters.
Now she was plying between Naantali, Finland and Kapellskär, Sweden, all trailers on below deck and trucks on tween deck. The trucks had drivers with them and many of them were on their way to Central Europe for 6mths of trucking. Quite often the Swedish police would set up shop at the end of the ramp and test all drivers for alcohol content.
The ship was old but worked well, crew also was very nice and I was doing 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. The navigation was most of the time in the archipelago with the Liner Pilot navigating. One of the pilots happened to my old Captain from Columbus Caravelle, Ralf Jacobsen. The OOW's duty was to follow up on navigation, logbooks and alarms. Furthermore, I got the working hours log that was sent to office on a daily basis. It was a demanding job as there was 3 different union contracts in force, one for ratings, one for Engineers and one for Officers and I had to send this report every morning after my 12-4 dogwatch duty.