What you can learn from 3 months at sea

MV Baffin Great Barrier Reef 2017

Photo: View of the Great Barrier Reef from MV Baffin Credit: Harald Lauvik Gjelstad


As a part of a pilot project between the University-College of South-East Norway and Klaveness Ship Management, Harald Lauvik Gjelstad boarded MV Baffin in Bunbury, Australia in September. The pilot project was initiated to allow for students to combine theory and practice, and as Gjelstad said upon his return, «it makes it much easier to understand the processes on board».

Harald Lauvik Gjelstad

Photo: Harald Lauvik Gjelstad onboard MV Baffin

A letter from our student on board MV Baffin

After spending a week at the office in Oslo, I was ready to join MV Baffin on September 12th in Bunbury, Australia. The vessel loaded alumina before heading to Port Khalifa in Abu Dhabi.

Upon boarding I had already been informed that I would be part of MV Baffin’s engine crew. In the short amount of time I spent on board, the crew taught me how to perform daily maintenance, testing and overhauling of different equipment. When doing so, they not only taught me the practical side of it, they also provided me with maintenance advice that I hadn’t picked up in text books. It felt great to experience in real life what I had learnt at school. Seeing how equipment and various components on board the vessel worked together makes it much easier to understand the links between theory and practice, and perhaps also see where theory falls short.

After arriving Port Khalifa, we discharged the alumina and headed one day in ballast to Abu Jubail in Saudi Arabia for loading caustic soda. Since MV Baffin is a Combination Carrier, the ship can load both dry and wet cargo. When the loading was complete the ship started the voyage to reach Gladstone in Australia, lasting approximately twenty days. On the way to Gladstone we had to sail through the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.

Unloading the caustic soda only took two days, before we sailed four days to Tasmania. The wind was not on our side when we arrived Port Latta in Tasmania. This resulted in anchorage for eight days before we went in to load iron ore.

After loading we went to China, for discharging in Zouchan, before maneuvering up the river to Zhangjiagang. On the way to China we also got to celebrate the one-year birthday of MV Baffin.

After three and a half month on board I signed off in Zhangjiagang. I think I can say that the most useful experience from my three months on board is learning what it’s like to be a seafarer. Not only the job, but social life on board and all that comes with this lifestyle.

On a final note, I wish to thank the crew on board MV Baffin for making the stay a pleasant and insightful experience. Thank you!

Text: Harald Lauvik Gjelstad