Cadets working onboard MV Gdynia

Today, 32% of Mexico’s international trade is moved by maritime transport, and as that number grows, so does the need for well-trained Mexican Merchant Marine Officers.

To this end, SMT Shipping and its local crewing partner PROPERMAR introduced a cadet training program that has taken place onboard MV Gdynia since she became a Mexican flagged vessel nearly 10 years ago. At present, there are a total of 7 cadets working onboard MV Gdynia – 3 with the engine department and 4 with the deck department. These cadets have been recruited from each of the three maritime academies in Mexico--Nautical Merchant School of Mazatlán, Nautical Merchant School of Tampico, and Nautical Merchant School of Veracruz.

Students studying to become Deck and Engine Officers attend classes for four years and then have 12 months of practical experience at sea. Students learn about vessel operations, navigation, crew management, communication, as well as vessel maintenance and repair. Students learn that the safety of the crew is always of paramount importance, and seafarers must work to maintain commercial efficiency while protecting the vesel, its cargo, and the marine environment.

MV Gdynia is an excellent ship for training purposes. She has a proven track record of efficiency for a bulk carrier vessel, and she travels mostly between the ports of La Paz and Lazaro Cardenas, a route which is much like the simulations that the students perform. In addition, the routes have been planned in accordance with the academic calendar of the three Nautical Merchant academies. Overall, the program is an excellent opportunity for SMT to enhance the professional development of Mexico’s future mariners.

MV Savannah Pearl:
Vulcan Materials

Since March 2019 MV Savannah Pearl has serviced a contract self-discharging aggregates in Beaumont, Texas for Vulica Shipping Company Ltd., a division of Vulcan Materials. The challenges of the business are:

# Narrow entrance to the load berth in Puerto Calica – requiring bow thruster and expertise of the Master
# Full self-discharge with vessels crew, crane, and grabs in Beaumont, TX
# Self-discharge directly into narrow trucks
# Efficiency at all ends –loading, discharging, berthing, outtrimming, sailing – the shipment needs to be completed in about 10-12 days end-to-end

Open hatch, boxed shaped gantry handymax vessels like MV Savannah Pearl are perfectly suited to this type of trade. The hallmark of these co-called “ 4 th Generation” vessels are their two 35 ton traveling gantry cranes. On a gantry crane, the crane driver sits atop the grab in the accommodation, giving the driver a bird’s eye view of the discharge. This allows much safer, accurate, and speedy discharge into a wide variety of receptacles. Discharging into a barge alongside the vessel, for example, is difficult for a conventional jib crane as the grab must go below the sight line of the driver, requiring extra labor. The gantry crane does not have this limitation and as such, is ideal for difficult discharging conditions and specialized project work.
Further advantages of the 4 th Generation types are the bow thrusters, which are not available in many handysize vessels in the current market. In ports with limited access to tugs or heavy susceptibility to currents or swells, the bow thrusters are an invaluable tool for the safe navigation of the vessel.
All GBSMT 4 th Generation vessels are bow thruster equipped which is just another advantage when calling ports/anchorages with limited access to facilities.