Shell Tanker – HALIA

It’s been a while since my last post…. too many things to do ashore than sit on the computer. I also had to renew my Master‘s COC among others and needed to spend much time with my family while on leave.

Anyway, I just settled back onboard and finally able to update my blog…

This is the continuation of my voyage with Shell Tankers… the second generation H-Class; HALIA, HAUSTRUM, HATASIA, HAMINEA, HADRA, HASTULA. If you ever wonder how the ships are named by Shell…. well it’s based from the actual shell species. The bigger the ships, so are the species of its namesake. The H-Class are 45,000 Deadweight MR tankers and bigger than the E-Class. Compared to the E’s which are conventional tankers, the H’s are more sophisticated double-hulled tankers with individual deep well pumps. Most of the H’s are dedicated “clean” but the others also trades “dirty” and I was on one particular H’s, the HAMINEA that carries both.

The first H-Class I joined was the HALIA pictured below:

I was onboard the HALIA as 2nd Officer for the whole calendar year of 1998. I signed on in January while she was anchored at Singapore and finally signed off on that same anchorage by 30th December, what a trip! I served under the command of  three German Captains during my tenure. I was welcomed initially by Karl Kothe then he was relieved by Hans Schinckle and it was Wolfgang Landberg that eventually signed me off. The crews were all Indonesians with multinational Officers.

The HALIA is a dedicated “dirty” trader that usually carries heated fuel oils, crude oils and the cargo that any Chief Officer hates to handle, LSWR (low sulfur waxy residue). With no heating coils and only heat exchangers on top of the deck besides the Framo pump, cargo heating always presents a challenge particularly when trading to Japan or Korea during winter. There is only 1 boiler that generates steam which means that if it fails during the voyage, our cargo will become asphalt hard in no time.

I was also onboard during HALIA’s first dry-docking at Sembawang where her livery was changed to black. My Bunkmate Mike Salvador who was the 3rd Officer with me onboard that time had a good time exploring Singapore. He was also kind enough to relieve me on my duties on few instances as Safety Officer during our stay in the yard so that I can go shopping as well.

My long service onboard gave me a chance to be more involved in cargo planning and handling works under the guidance of then Chief Mate Ron Mooring then his reliever Vijay Saxena.

I came back on the HALIA as Chief Officer in January 2003 where I joined with ETB (Ed Batalla) who was 4th Engineer at that time. Along with us that flew to Japan were two first trip Deck Cadets from Cagayan.

Being a Chief Officer is not a walk in the park as any seafarer would know. One challenge I could not probably forget is when our cargo line was clogged with the remnants of LSWR as we sailed up to Russia in winter. We managed to free it up somehow with excellent teamwork from everyone onboard. It was also during that time that the outbreak of SARS rocked the world. Ironically we were chartered to discharge our cargo in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, the suspected origin of the SARS epidemic.

Besides all the hardships, I did have good memories on the HALIA, 12 months as 2/O and 6 months as C/O, that I can cherish for a lifetime.

Check back soon for update of my blog regarding other H-Class…

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