Discharging Transformers

Another team effort was seen when OLS, WFS and WBS worked together on a shipment of transformers that was discharged from the BBC Maple Lea last week.The two transformer bodies weighted 133 tonnes each, and came with another 74 crates containing parts that are added onto the transformers to function. OLS handled the ships’ agency and owner’s matters for the BBC Maple Lea, while WBS took care of the unlashing, re-stowing of cargo onboard and the discharge of the transformers. WFS handled the customs clearance and Namport matters to get the cargo released for its trek to the north of Namibia.

The BBC Maple Lea is a general cargo vessel with a length of 138m and 21m wide. The vessel has been especially strengthened for heavy cargo and equipped to carry containers and dangerous goods. She sails under a German flag and what makes the Maple Lea interesting is that she has a female captain at her helm, a rarity in the cargo ship industry calling. In an interview with N24 Captain Birte Jessen said that none of her family shared her fascination with working at sea. She is a qualified industrial engineer for maritime transport, but only took command in 1995. Previously she worked in shipbuilding supervision, having served above the officer’s career on trips on the oceans.

“As a captain I am everything: interpreter, doctor, lawyer, manager – that’s what makes the job so exciting. The shipping profession is a male domain. Often highly qualified female sailors end up in office or admin jobs. It was one of the reasons some of us started the association ‘Women at Sea’ to represent the interests of female maritime employees.” Captain Jessen has never had problems with her male counterparts onboard. “On a ship rank counts, not the person. Initially I was called ‘Sir’, because the industry salutations are also fixed traditions. I’m not a captain or skipper, if anything, my name is Mrs. Captain.” In her career Captain Jessen has sailed various vessels from oil tankers to 390,000-tonne freighters.

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