On board the vessel is Danish Chief Officer, Christian Stidsen. He has worked on Brage Viking for the last two years, but when the ship sails from Singapore around the 16th of September, he won’t be on board anymore. In April Brage Viking won a major charter contract with a Russian company, which will keep it employed for at least the next 2 years and 8 months. But this also means that there longer will be Scandinavians working on the vessel, but mainly Russians instead. The charter contract is – according to turkismaritime.com – valued at around USD $100 million and includes options to extend the charter for an additional 18 months. The vessel is now in Singapore to have “technical upgrades” made to it prior to the commencement of the contract.
”The hope is, that by upgrading and reinforcing it now, it won’t be necessary in two years time,” Christian Stidsen says.
Christian Stidsen is, together with another Dane, two Swedes and two Norwegians, the last Scandinavians on board. They are there to oversee the construction and to answer the questions that the Russian crew might have.
“It’s much more efficient to teach the crew about the ship while we’re out on the sea, than opposed to being docked or on land,” Christian Stidsen explains.
This is also why he and the others have been on board for the vessel’s journey to Singapore – without any run-ins with pirates in the area. Once the construction is done with, so is the Scandinavian crew. The ship is now under Russian flag, and Russians rules are strict, which means, that Christian Stidsen is not allowed to travel to Russia with Brage Viking. He is going home to Denmark and his wife and children instead, but the exact date is still a little unclear, as the date for the construction to finish already has been pushed forward once. Brage Viking was supposed to sail towards Russia on the 15th of September, but it is now the 16th instead.
This is not the cause of lazy workers, far from it. An impressive 200 men is working day and night on the vessel, which only has the capacity for 20 crew members. And while they are rushing to finish, Christian Stidsen and the rest of the Scandinavian crew is waiting to find out what is next in line for them.
“We’ll see what those at home can find for me to do,” he says.
In the meantime Christian Stidsen and his colleagues has chosen to stay in the ship’s cabins instead of a hotel in Singapore, even though he has now been downgraded from the Chief Officer’s cabin to the sailors cabins on a lower level.
“We feel like it would be sort of a wrong signal to send to the workers if we came here and just stayed in a hotel,” he says and further adds:
“This is better for the morale.”