Saturday, 27 September 2008

Certificates required for working on yachts

When you contemplate working on a yacht or in general get involved in shipping you will hear the word certificate being mentioned in every connection. It is todays money making racket and standardization of shipping that has brought it about. Also manufacturers wants to ensure that the product they are selling is certified to a certain standard. You can't even have a piece of uncertified steel onboard or plywood for that matter, same goes for the crew...

Sample of certficate

For starters you do not need any certificates to get employed on a yacht less than 300GT, but many Owner's or Captain's insist on somekind of training, RYA Yachtmaster, STCW Basic safety etc. That is just to up the standard of crew and also for them to have an idea what the job is about.

Below is what it takes to get on a commercial yacht that is >300GT and carries more than 12 guests.


- STCW Basic safety training;

- Crowd management course;

- ENG1 medical examination;

- Yellow fever vaccination;

- Valid passport;

- Seamans book (can be applied later).


As stewardess and in addition:

- STCW Watchkeeping certificate for deck ratings;

- Proficiency in handling lifeboats;

- Fast rescue boat course;

Consider these courses as well:

- PADI open water diving course or Dive Master course;

- Jetski course or alternatively instructor course.

Engine rating:

As stewardess and in addition:

- STCW watchkeeping course for engine ratings.

- Can also consider the additional courses as for deckhand.

The courses for stewardess takes a few weeks to get done but the watchkeeping course might take up to 1 yr depending on the country and school offering the course. It also takes a bit of commitment to spend the time and money.

E.g. Basic safety courses were cheaper in Sweden than on the Riviera, so it is worth shopping around.

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Thursday, 25 September 2008

Captain's Blog - Langkawi Drydocking

As told before we arrived at the Wavemaster floating pontoon on the 14th Aug for our drydocking. Once alongside our agent, Nick Coombes, set immigration procedures in motion. I met with the yard Operations Manager Barry Eades and later in the afternoon we had an opening meeting for our scope of works which had been tentatively agreed upon in advance. We also meet our Project Manager, Mr. Irwan.

Kalizma on the travelift

The scheduled haul up date was set to 18th Aug and there already we met with the 1st setback. Yard was waiting for new lifting straps which arrived on the 20th. When waiting for the straps to arrive yard made preparation works in the ER to dismantle our overboard valves as well as project managers surveyed areas of work. Our agent matters are now handled by John Orr.

On the travelift

On the 20th at 1330hrs we cast off and left the pontoon and made a swing towards the lifting piers where the mobile crane was waiting. Because of our masts and hull structure the yard requested me to back in Kalizma. Luckily the wind was not too strong so I managed a little too well backing her up on the windside, the windage did not set her off at all and our tiny bowthruster was steering well. Once entering between the lifting piers and gliding over the lifting straps, one strap got caught between the hull and wing propeller.

On the hard

No damage was done but it took the yard 1h to move the crane and pull out the strap. Several hours was spent setting the straps in their correct places and it was not made easier of our wing shafts and stabilizer fins, but eventually all was set and the straps tightened, the crane engine was howling and its tires were getting flatter and flatter as it was taking the weight of Kalizma. When almost all hull was out of water, then Kalizma was moved close to the pier and all crew was evacuated onto land. Then again the crane engine started it’s growling and wires and straps were put to the test as Kalizma was hoisted level with the dock.

On the hard, 2 pic collage

Unfortunately our sb bilge keel was buckled by the strap as the protective block was rotten and crumbled under the weight. Once over the dock the crane started slowly moving Kalizma to it’s hard stand. The crane gauges showed Kalizma’s weight at 310 tonnes. She was well drydocked by 2030hrs and we all (except the night watch) could leave for our rented apartment for dinner. Yard personnel started hull scraping and rigging hull stanchions. The hull was covered in thousands of barnacles and oysters, Kalizma was full of life even on the outside.

Drydocking video

Next morning 21st at the yard again the yard removed the lifting straps and continued hull cleaning. Overboard valves were being dismantled and fabrication people took measurements for installing the centre engine silencer. At the same time I had arranged ultrasound [US] measurement team to come and measure hull thicknesses as per class requirements.

Paint works

Later in the afternoon we met with the Class inspector from Rina, Mr. David Htwe, and the 5yr class inspection was under way. Fuel and water tanks were inspected, hull on the inside and outside by the US team, overboard valves, paint specs and other certifications were checked. The bad nes was that our collision bulkhead had corroded under the allowed level and had to be renewed so shipyard was alerted to alter the priorities. The hunt for certified plate started and frantic re-calculations of timetables to complete works on time.

On the 22nd the class surveyor continued the survey and eventually only having the machinery inspection left which can only be done when the ship as afloat, the surveyor left for another assignment with the promise that “I’ll be back”. We had our note books cluttered with remarks and started working on them as well as monitoring the shipyard. Anchor’s were lowered and chains ranged out on the ground for calibration. Paint locker was emptied in way of the collision bulkhead. The US team finished their survey and left for Singapore to issue their final report.

On the hard

On 23rd and 24th yard did little work as they are off during weekends and not too keen on overtime. Some propeller polishing and ob valve works took place.

25th was Monday again and the week was kicked off and yard started removing zinc anodes as well as shipside polishing. The anodes look like they had been welded on last week although our certificate states that they are 99,9% pure Zn, samples are collected for analysis. Later in the afternoon hotworks started and shipside was cut at the collision bulkhead and also in ER the silencer bracket fitting started. Overboard valves were removed to workshop for overhaul and service. On port wing propeller we discovered a small rope tightly wound around the shaft and when removing it a slight leak started. Yard is working late and we are standby in addition to fire guards.

26th Shipyard continuing works as on 25th, propeller guards and sea chest strainers are being cleaned. We are checking for availability of port propeller packing gland. Hotworks continue and dismantling of machinery aft of collision bulkhead starts.

27th – 29th Works progressed as per schedule.

30th – 31st Bottom was painted with antifouling.

1st – 2nd Start of Ramadan. 1st 3 yard workers turned up but did barely anything.

2nd nobody worked.

3rd Big meeting with yard representative due to very slow progress and I voiced my dissatisfaction of how things are managed. I sent Chief Engineer to Kuah town to buy materials for work shop people so they could overhaul our valves. C/E confirmed they did not even possess the rudimentary materials for a workshop and they handed a list with 20 items that they would require to proceed (bolts & nuts, lapping paste etc).

I asked Operations Manager why we have to do their procurement and he summoned the Project Manager that tried to say WE had asked for the list and then we went on to see Purchasing Manager, he had the workshop PR in his unprocessed pile for abt 2 weeks already and said that these items are not available on the Island.

Stern view

By this time I said to hold on and I whipped out my mobile and called C/E Vivek and asked how many of the items had he managed to collect? Reply was “all items except the aluminium sheet”. “Thank you very much, you just got caught lying in my face” I told the yard people and walked off.

4th Work was carried out between 8am to 5pm only.

5th Work has progressed very slowly due to Ramadan, no OT was done. In PM collision bulkhead was tag welded into position and BT motor lifted back onboard.

6th Weekend again, yard workers showed up late.

7th onwards, works are progressing at snails pace, I could write same entry for every day but it is sad reading. Yard was every morning promising this and that would be finished and more of a rule than an exception that promises are always broken.

11th Plate in bow welded in place and x-ray team and RINA surveyor brought on site. Team shot 3 x-rays (40cm length each), all seams failed due to bubbles and slag in weld seam. RINA surveyor gave orders to grind down the shot seams and do another x-ray.

13th Bow plate welding seams now re-welded and re-x-rayed, all passed. Phew, what a relief as time is running out…

16th Finally we were coming to the stage to talk about downslip and the yard has the guts to come and ask me for signatures on the basis of “no cash, no splash”. I had a meeting offering my protest of all the delays and no-shows and finally we came up with a 7.5% discount settling the yard invoice at 200.000RM.

17th Eventually they delayed again as the bottom sensor installation was leaking and had to be repaired and this morning it was still leaking so our only option was to weld the hole back shut. Finally we were lifted up over the water and ship was lowered and hoisted and a number of valves had to be dismantled and taken back to workshop for tweaking.

At the same time the RINA surveyor was onboard to inspect the valves and get the last bit of paperwork done. Unfortunately he could not wait for us to be completely waterborne and he had to leave for another assignment. The surveyor handed me the new Class cert and hollered “Call me in Singapore” when he was spirited away on the jetski. While we were hanging there we took the opportunity to load all beverages for the Owner onboard when they moved the ship back to the pier again.

18th In the morning at 0430hrs we were finally waterborne and all valves water tight. We moved along side pontoons and some cleaning jobs took place by the yard. At 1400hrs we started engines and left the yard unceremoniously for Singapore, there was only our agent John to cast off the ropes.

It was the 1st and last time I ever drydocked in that yard. The facility is great but the labor is mediocre with their issues of skills, getting people to come to work and actually do some work etc. In the future I could come with my own team there and do the whole thing by myself but then again you will lose on food and lodging as well as you need to negotiate the fee for external workers (the yard terms states 15% additional fee).

Now it is a standard term here onboard if we get a slow delivery or lazy contractor we say “He probably used to work at Wavemaster in Langkawi…”

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