The BlueSeasMatter initiative has led to many changes in our offices worldwide, as well as in many employees’ lives, but one of our declared goals is to find ways to reduce the amount of single-use plastic on board our 400 full-management vessels. So, what could lie nearer than asking our experts for their view on the issue?
On July 10, 2019 a delegation of the Hamburg BlueSeasMatter team, including BSM DE Managing Director Nick Topham together with BS shareholder Christoph Schulte, drove to Eemshaven in the Netherlands to pay a visit to our SOV Windea La Cour and to discuss with the Captain and crew ways to avoid plastic on board our fleet.
Despite a busy port call, Captain Rolf Schlink, C/O Vitalij Cepov, C/E Kent Vilhelm Sundberg and DPO Andre Schiebelhut took the time to sit down together with the BlueSeasMatter team and discuss several suggestions for improvement.
One crucial point on all vessels was drinking water. Nick shared with the meeting participants that during his active time at sea (which lasted until 2004), it was perfectly normal for all on board to drink the water from the freshwater tanks.
Only during meetings with externals were bottles of water put on the table. However, bottled water was available for the sea staff to buy from the bond. Nowadays, crews are reluctant to drink water from the tanks although the water is checked on a regular basis and then certified. The amount of bottled water being consumed on board the BSM fleet is in the thousands per day. The problem is that despite the certification, crews are sceptical regarding the quality of the water.
It is clear that we can only bring about such a fundamental change, if BSM tackles this problem and finds adequate measures to make drinking water from the tap more acceptable to crews. We remain motivated to banish plastic bottles from the BSM fleet, which will be a gigantic step towards sustainability on our vessels.
Another point that needs work are the many layers of plastic wrapped around the pallets with provisions. In our industry we must push the suppliers to either use different pallets, which have pallet-mounted frames and therefore need no extra wrapping, or request them to take back the plastic they produce for re-use.
Captain Schlink brought up the point that it would be good to install fixed soap dispensers on the vessels and to fill them up with eco-friendly and micro-plastic free soap, instead of one-use plastic dispensers. He also mentioned dosing machines for washing machines to reduce the amount of washing powder needed to do the laundry.
This in-depth discussion full of interesting and highly constructive suggestions demonstrated the great commitment and support of the anti-plastic campaign from the crew’s side. It also showcased the commitment of the shore side business in creating new prerequisites that make the change towards life at sea without plastic possible.
Thanks to Captain Schlink and his Officers and crew for their time and invaluable input.
If our people on board and on shore continue to cooperate like this, everything is possible.