The naming ceremony
I had secured the use of a berth at the Verolme yard in Rotterdam as they also had some work to do on the ship before she loaded her first cargo. The day before the ceremony, I visited the berth to ensure everything was in place and found the weather very cold and that there were some lumps of ice floating around the ship.

The next day dawned sunny and bright and we were able to assemble all our guests, over 200 of them, on the bank of the river Rhine in the centre of the city of Rotterdam. We then boarded one of the tourist boats that normally make day tours on the river and headed downstream towards the shipyard. As it was scheduled to take about an hour we had arranged a buffet lunch to be served on board.

The weather continued to be clear and sunny all day, so everything was perfect for the ceremony to be held in the open. This was just as well, as I had made no contingency plans for rain or snow. We had also managed to delay the departure of the sister ship Jo Lind which had just completed loading cargo for the US, so that the two sisters could be together on the younger sister’s big day.

The ceremony went off without any problems and the Jo Lind sounded her horn as the bottle was broken on the bow. Several other ships joined in with their horns so it was very noisy for several minutes.

All the guests were then given a tour of the ship before boarding buses to be taken back to their hotels to prepare for the celebratory dinner in the evening. There were guides on the buses to explain the areas we were passing through but after a few minutes they realised that all the guests were asleep, and gave up!

The dinner was held in an historic building on the south bank of the river Rhine in the centre of the city and with good food and many speeches, the day concluded with everyone happy. The ship then made her first voyage to the US, discharging chemicals and reloading in the US Gulf for Rotterdam.

The captain was the old captain of the Stolt Brattland who had come from bulk carriers back to tankers. However, technology had moved on so much that he asked to be replaced in New York, as he did not understand the computer systems on board.

Later, Mr Knudsen asked what he could do to say thank you for handling the arrangements and after a little thought, I asked if my young son, then approaching 15 years of age, could make a short trip on the ship. In fact he made more than a short trip; he sailed from Rotterdam to New York, then down the East Coast of the US calling at three more ports on the way. Then he went into New Orleans and up the Mississippi River, calling at three more berths there before leaving the ship in Houston and flying home.

The event that prompted me to include the Jo Brevik under the ‘End of an Era’ title of this article was a message I received recently asking for potential buyers for the Bow Victor, an Odfjell ship that used to be the Jo Brevik. In the period of change in IMO regulations, she was converted to an IMO 2, fully double hulled ship with the loss of about 300 tons of deadweight capacity due to the steel needed to convert her.

The five Stolt Tankers ‘Jewel’ class ships were built in the same year and still with single sides, so maybe they will be the real end of the era – unless someone buys the old Jo Brevik and keeps her sailing!

Charles Barton
Maritime Consultant


 

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