Container vessel Ever Gifted has reached Colombo Anchorage (Sri Lanka) on Thursday morning after carrying out a ‘transit crew change’ at Vizhinjam off Thiruvananthapuram, the second in the minor port’s history after another vessel Ever Globe completed the chore a week ago.
As in the first case, the crew change got over in six hours, a major advantage that Vizhinjam can boast of thanks mainly to its proximity to the international East-West shipping route, says Captain AM Riyas, General Secretary of the Trivandrum Mariners’ Forum, Thiruvananthapuram. The crew change prospects here translates into savings in time and cost for passing container and tanker vessels.
Rises to challenge
The Vizhinjam port officials and staff have risen to the challenge of receiving big-sized vessels that ply the busy route and seem to have largely taken the required protocol in their stride with just two crew change events. The ‘transit crew change,’ i.e. crew change on the go at an Anchorage without having to formally call in at the port, has proved to be a smooth process here.
In the case of Ever Gifted, the Captain did not even anchor the vessel and chose to drift it, given the state of the sea (referred to as ‘moderate, with wave heights of up to 13 ft) around Vizhinjam on Wednesday. In the process, it also provided the comfort of ‘lee’ (calm sea along the portside) for approaching smaller boats carrying crew on-signers (those who are signing in duty afresh).
Reaches Colombo Anchorage
That meant the starboard side of the vessel took the rough sea on its chin as the on-signers entered on board and of the off-signers (whose current contract ends) disembarked. The captain of the vessel is among those who finished their current contract. Meanwhile this morning, Ever Gifted was located at the Colombo Anchorage at its destination of Colombo Port, after a 16-day voyage from Rotterdam.
The vessel had approached Vizhinjam for crew change at 7 a.m. on Wednesday and set sail to South-South-West and then South-South-East and later South-East to reach Colombo Anchorage this morning. The ‘moderate sea’ conditions at Vizhinjam were attributed to a disturbance from a long distance (there was a cyclonic circulation over Maldives and adjoining Lakshadweep on Wednesday).
Official port call avoided
The entire operation was over in six hours which Captain Riyas described as ‘very fast, and superb.’ The fact that an official port call could be avoided is another a huge advantage because it could require a formal clearance from the port before the vessel can continue its sail. This also brings in port charges.
But Ever Gifted could continue to sail with the port clearance issued from the port of origin, which is Rotterdam. Port clearance is a certificate endorsing that the voyage is an authorised one. It would have required Customs to come in from the port and conduct a search on board before clearing it afresh.
Source: The Hindu business Line