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Vectis Eagle Transports Malt to West Africa

A pint of beer at the end of a long day is a welcome relief to many of the world’s working men and women, including in Nigeria where the population of almost 200 million people consumes over 12 litres of beer per person annually.

ABInbev, owners of the Budweiser brand in the United States and producers of 1 out of every 3 beers consumed globally, recently chartered MV Vectis Eagle for the transport of malt from Cartagena, Colombia to Lagos, Nigeria. Malt is germinated barley grain that has been dried in a process known as “malting”.

The grain is first soaked in water to germinate and then dried with hot air. Because malt is a food product, it is a very sensitive cargo requiring particularly stringent vessel specifications and cleaning standards.

Delivery windows are equally rigid – malt is a fundamental ingredient in beer production, so inventory delays can equate to tens of millions of dollars in losses for the brewery.
Given average consumption levels in Nigeria, the 5,500MT of malt carried by MV Vectis Eagle will provide for about 3,960,000 consumers for the next year – that is 85,541,500 pints of beer!

SMT is glad to support this unique industry and provide for the relaxation and refreshment of millions of people across the world. As SMT continues to evolve and adapt to changing market conditions, we challenge ourselves to provide service to new and interesting market sectors.

As Alex Ryan of SMT’s Operations Department explains, “Our versatile fleet of vessels helps us to meet new challenges and adapt to this constantly changing world environment…and many would agree that a good beer is now welcome more than ever”!

News from the Eureka Fleet

Earlier this summer, MV Sunnanvik completed a journey that was a bit out of the ordinary from Greenland to Turkey. Nautical News recently had the chance to interview Captain Emanuel Klar about this exciting voyage.

What was it like to travel from Arctic to Mediterranean climates?

It is interesting to go from iceberg watch and spot killer whales, to look for dolphins. From good fishing waters to the warmer and less productive waters of the Mediterranean, where we anchored for two days. From Ice cold winds, to assemble and fill the deck pool with 20 degree seawater, or a dip straight into the ocean from the gangway. 

Also to see the color shift in the sea is an amazing thing. Together with the spectacular coastlines, it was almost worth being “stuck” on board due to Corona virus. Not only Greenland but...actually all the northern coast of the African continent that we saw was quite spectacular. I did not expect it to be so dramatic. All this nature and climate shift in only 9 days.

How did your crew manage throughout the long journey?

Apart from limited internet connection, despite VSAT, it was a good journey with fair winds through the Atlantic Ocean. After bunkering and stores delivery at Gibraltar, 9 days from Nuuk in Greenland, the engine crew assisted by AB started to mount new loading connections for truck loading in Turkey. 

How did the vessel perform? 

She was a good lady as always, taking the harsh conditions at Cape Ferwell like a champion. The rest of the voyage was very smooth and we did not encounter any issues. Even though there was some concern about the bunker capacity, we reached Gibraltar with some fuel left.

Were there any interesting stories about the nature you might have seen along the way?

From Cape Ferwell to the port of Nuuk we kept 2 men on 24 hour watch for icebergs. We spotted a few but at a great distance from our route. The Greenland coastline was spectacular but due to the pandemic situation, we were not allowed to go ashore anywhere. As mentioned above, we saw killer whales along the Greenland coast. From Cape Ferwell to Gibraltar there was not much action and then entering the very busy traffic zone of Gibraltar Strait was like going from 0 to 100.

Were there any special preparations required to ready both the crew and the vessel?

First of all we had to get a Polar Certificate and update Radio Equipment as well as the Ship Pharmacy. For the crew it was more on the mental level and we of course had a meeting to talk about such things as icebergs. Even though some of the crew was concerned about undertaking such a journey, it all went very well and the cargo receiver in Greenland was very pleased with Sunnanvik’s performance.

safe and efficient port operations

Cargo equipment

SMT’s ability to conduct self-loading and self-discharging operations provides the company with a significant market advantage, particularly for its bulker and mini-bulker fleets. As such, these vessels rely heavily on their onboard cargo equipment to perform safe and efficient port operations.

These include bulk cargo grabs, bobcats, excavators, and front-end loaders, as well as specialized grabs for cargos like scrap steel and large stone. To assure that the equipment is fully ready for use when needed, skilled onboard personnel carefully operate and maintain this machinery. Their efforts are supported by a shore-based team of hydraulic, electric, and mechanical specialists lead by Mr. Anatol Zajac from SMT’s office in Sopot, Poland and supported by Mr. Wilson Penzo who is based in Colombia.