01.06.2000 - 07.08.2000 Captain
02.10.2000 - 01.11.2000 Chief Officer
02.11.2000 - 04.02.2001 Captain
05.04.2001 - 04.06.2001 Chief Officer
05.06.2001 - 10.08.2001 Captain
09.10.2001 - 09.12.2001 Chief Officer
10.12.2001 - 26.04.2002 Captain
24.06.2002 - 07.01.2003 Captain
M/v Columbus Caravelle
M/v Columbus Caravelle in Jeju Is., S. Korea
As we did not have too many comers to CC or rather we weren't interested in Officers coming on for one contract and then moving on we decided we would rotate the position between 3 persons, C/O Perttu, me as C/O & Captain and Reijo as Captain. It worked well for awhile but was finished after Reijo got a position ashore and left seafaring life to be with his family.
By end of 2000 Conning Shipping acquired a bigger ship, Omar II, to cater for their growing clientele in Hong Kong and so we were chartered down to Singapore with a partnership where I think Conning Shipping also had a finger in the pie. The MO was casino cruises of course. The rumor went that someone had lost nearly 100mil USD in one night at the casino and that enabled for the fleet enlargement.
We made cruises up and down the Malacca Straits and even once we visited Bintan Island in Indonesia as a trial. I think the massive bribes to get a sailing permit there finished the idea. Usually we cruises up to Port Klang, then down to Melaka, from there to Singapore, then Pasir Gudang, again Singapore and Port Klang. It was a rather pleasant itinerary, some days we could go and explore Port Klang or Singapore.
The Indonesian shipping license, I was told the signatures cost a fortune
As I was going so often to Port Klang I applied and got pilot dispensation so we only needed a Harbor Pilot (he only came for the coffee anyways), but it sped up the arrival. Also the radio communication went entirely in Bahasa Melayu, the 1st Officer then, Jukka Kiuru, compiled a nautical phrase list that we rehearsed ourselves on before we started reporting in Malay.
Malaysian pilot exemption certificate
Furthermore, the requirements became more stringent on passenger ships and crew needed to have a Crowd Management course done. Reijo Granqvist had started this certification by making an onboard course and got it certified by Lloyd's Classification society, I continued his work after he left.
We also were required to start a maintenance program digitally, a program that would remind you if something was left undone. It took us about a year to put everything on database but we got it ready in time to our next external ISM audit. It was a really good tool after that.
Arrival ceremony in Shanghai, China (attended by R. Granqvist)
Then suddenly in June 2002 the charter ended in Singapore and Conning Shipping did not extend or renew the contract so they took away the ship and chartered us in traffic between Shanghai and Jeju Is. S. Korea. I was on vacation when the transit happened and Reijo took the ship up north from Singapore.
The sailing was at times quite rough when it was typhoon season and the traffic in the river was chaotic. Nothing we had experienced in Hong Kong or Malacca Straits could have prepared us for the nightmarish traffic situation in Shanghai. The pilots were used to old ships, maybe even steamers as they had only telegraph orders for engines and at times were difficult to understand their pidgin english.
One 1st Officer, Heikki Kaukinen, once counted the traffic and got an average of 400 ships passing our berth in an hour. The berth we occupied at Gayonglu jetty was in the centre of the city so one could walk to the Bund and elsewhere. Unfortunately the Charter went bankrupt at end of 2002 and the ship was arrested and Conning Shipping took back the ship to Hong Kong.
I signed off in Shanghai and handed over to an Ukrainian Captain and left for vacation and to find new employment when the news reached me that the ship had been sold to a Greek buyer and Conning Shipping did not have a position to offer me (Omar II was 100% Ukrainian deck & engine crew and cheaper).