“I like the complexities of the vessel and the challenge of operating it.”

Jens Rohn, Master of Wind Osprey


What do you do as Master of Wind Osprey?

As Master, I act as a mediator, adviser and decision maker depending on the situation.

From my perspective, communication is the first crucial skill for running a vessel. I have to keep my eyes and ears open all the time. Being responsible for the safety of the vessel and wellbeing of all personnel on board. I must support them when needed and notice if a crew member is unfocused, as it could impact the overall functioning of the vessel.

I also make sure we have good communication with the clients and that the possibility for discussion remains open. I represent our company, but more importantly, I make sure things are working smoothly and that our clients can gain the full benefit from a well-maintained vessel and a crew focused on safe operations.

Then, of course, being Master is also about monitoring and maintaining adherence to the legislation and procedures from authorities, as well as the vessel owner and keeping up with the client’s method statements. The Master must also supervise operations on board; Cadeler is fortunate to have competent officers and crew running the vessels, making this task much easier.

What skills are needed 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.

What aspects of the job do you enjoy the most?

I am a technical guy and like the complexity of the vessel and the challenge of managing all the specialised equipment: the cranes as well as the jacking and positioning systems. Also, every project comes with its own innovations; it is interesting to see the implementation of new technical inventions or engineering developments.

I also particularly enjoy being involved in early planning or project tender meetings. There is a real opportunity to share my expertise and knowledge with our clients, from the earliest stage, to improve vessel operations and ensure a smooth and safe project completion.

What are the challenges you must deal with during operations?

In operations, everything depends on the weather. In good weather conditions, everyone is happy, but when the weather take a turn for the worse, the Master must take a decision on whether the conditions are workable or not. If you are straight forward and keep everyone in the loop, you win approval from all parties. Of course, we all want the project to be completed within the best schedule and conditions possible, but there are limits we cannot cross. Sometimes, it can be delicate to tell the project team that we must stop the job for different reasons, but it is necessary to ensure safety of the asset, crew and project equipment.

What do you enjoy while being offshore?

I like to go offshore for the people, for the team, for the professionals and for the technical challenges.

I really like that I always get to work with the same crew. It enables us to achieve a lot more, as we can trust and rely on each other. I also enjoy navigating. While at sea, you can enjoy the nature, and you know where you have come from. When you jump on a plane to spend the weekend somewhere, the world seems so small because you move fast. Navigating the oceans forces you to slow down. When you are crossing the Pacific, full steam ahead without seeing the shore or anything for 20 days, you realise how big the planet is and how little you are. It reminds us to do our best to preserve resources and value the planet.

We also have a lot of funny moments and jokes on board! It is good to laugh as it can be tense when things are not going in the right direction or must be done within tight deadlines. Our projects require teamwork, and everybody should pull the rope in the same direction in order to achieve our goals. I try to do my best to create a good harmony on board, but it is hard for me: Germans are not famous for making jokes. (laughs)

I have many good memories. While we were driving the last monopile with the pile hammer at West of Duddon Sands, music was playing on the radio. Michael Jackson was singing Beat It, and the beat was exactly in sync with the pounding of the hammer. I transmitted it to all the communication channels on the vessel, so everybody could enjoy it. That was fun! Another notable moment occurred last year. Our ISPS security drill fell on Easter, but instead of a bomb search, we had to search for ‘suspected objects’ and the crew found… chocolate Easter bunnies!