Could you tell about your background?
I grew up in Kiel, Germany on the edge of the Baltic Sea and did all kind of water sports, but mostly sailing. Being triumphant in sailing competitions, namely dinghy, inshore and offshore races, I decided to work in shipping, specifically ‘commercial sailing’. I started studying in a ship mechanic program to become Fitter/Able Seaman. Subsequently, I decided to continue with the education to become a Navigator. To do so, I went to college and earned a diploma which I followed up by attending a university of applied sciences to study a Master of Science in Nautical Science, Business & Engineering.
I started offshore working on a project cargo vessel, delivering oversized and special cargo like locomotives, boilers and tug boats worldwide. Then, I spent two years circumnavigating the globe on container ships up to 350 m length. After that, I decided to develop a specialty and went into the offshore business, where I started on a platform supply vessel, moved to diving support, and performed freelance work in the offshore wind sector. My specialty with jack-up units began to emerge when I started in another company as an assistant during the development and commissioning phases for two new build DP-jack-up vessels in South Korea. Following delivery, I worked onboard and installed windfarm foundations and turbines in European waters. After that, I took part in the conversion of a towed jack-up barge to a self-propelled jack-up vessel within a company operating three other jack-up units.
In August 2013, I found a job ad for a vacant position requiring experience in jacking operations and dynamic positioning. A couple of days later, I joined Pacific Orca in Belfast, as Chief Officer for the West of Duddon Sands project. I transferred to Wind Osprey after being promoted to Senior Chief Officer and later, as Master.
What are the qualities and skills required for being a good master on such a complex vessel?
I think having general shipping experience, no matter the rank, is a real asset. Our vessels are very special and have specific requirements, but if you have a deep knowledge of shipping, like sailing worldwide in deep waters, that is an advantage which prepares you for handling unforeseeable situations.
Being the Master on such a vessel also requires technical understanding because a windfarm installation vessel is far from being a normal ship, and the Master must supervise all processes which contribute to the overall functioning of the ship.