“Coincidences made our unique voyage possible,” Captain Joachim Rubin explains, from Trans Catalonia at anchor just outside Turkey. “We ballasted from Europe to the United States, and then we loaded gas and some chemicals from the US to the Far East. Back home in Europe, we were fully loaded with chemicals only.”
The vessel left Rotterdam on 22 July and reached Houston on 5 August. After a trip to Mississippi, they arrived at the Panama Canal on 23 August and sailed into the Paci c Ocean the day after. On 11 September, they had
to change the date on the calendar on board when they crossed the date line. They arrived South Korea on
20 September, and continued to Singapore on 10 October. From there, Trans Catalonia set course towards Europe and reached the Suez Canal on 14 November. We spoke with Captain Rubin on 20 November, and he told
us they now plan to head for the port in Gebse, before returning towards Rotterdam. “We expect to be back there at the end of November or beginning of December,”
Captain Rubin explained.
The vessel has had a problem-free voyage. Even the extra armed guards on board had a quiet trip this time when crossing the Bay of Aden. “We didn’t see any pirates, and the impression is that this activity has decreased lately.”
Travelling around the globe also involves visits from a lot more authorities who like to visit our beautiful vessel. During this trip, we managed to have three port state controls (the fourth will be in ARA), one US Coast guard inspection, one
CAP class inspection and a Vetting and Internal audit.
The US authorities have introduced
a ban on vessels sailing close to the Hawaiian islands, so the crew were notably happy to catch their rst glimpse of land with the rst islands outside Japan, Captain Rubin told us. “But what surprised me and really a ected us on board was the massive amount of plastic waste in the Paci c Ocean. We saw enormous amounts of plastic bottles, cans, nets and akes continuously along the way. This is really very sad. We must re-think our attitude towards plastic.
It is a long way from Sweden to the Paci c Ocean, but I know from my home
country that some counties and other public o ces have implemented a ban on bottled drinking water. That would be something to consider in the countries with borders to the Paci c Ocean, too!”
Even if Trans Catalonia is familiar with longer voyages, this one became special. “We had to plan it carefully. It takes approximately 24 days to cross the Paci c Ocean, so we had to re- ll fuel and provisions before we left Panama. And when we arrived in South Korea, it was nice to get some fresh provisions onboard again, even if the galley department made a fantastic job planning the food.”
“As a curiosity, we received navigational warnings about falling objects from the North Korean rockets red and falling debris from space, so we had to keep looking up and not just ahead! We experienced some bad weather outside Japan, which is pretty normal, but all in all it was an easy voyage,” Captain Rubin explained – looking forward to getting his feet on European soil again.