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3rd June, 2016

Blohm + Voss yard, Hamburg

Before I talk about our ship I’d like to share a bizarre experience with you…I ventured ashore the other day –something I don’t do very often. It happened to be the day the Queen Mary 2 was being admitted. Much with any Royal admission the press were out in force –as were the locals. Hamburg was packed.. as I meandered my way through the pedestrian traffic I heard a familiar tune bellowing over loud speakers. Much to my surprise it was “Land of Hope and Glory”closely followed by “God Save the Queen”. Rest assured I’m trying to book them for our next visit!

Back to us…

So it’s all coming back together nicely. The new steelwork has been painted and blends in somewhat seamlessly with the old steelwork, and we’re in the process of testing the equipment that’s been worked on. Carpets are being laid at an alarming rate, the air conditioning whirred back into life (much to the delight of all the troops) and the boarded windows are being unveiled one-by-one.

One of the reasons we’re here is to perform work on our starboard engine –Chief Engineer Steve and his team are on-track and soon we’ll start testing this as well. This will entail leaving the berth, sailing up the river and running the engine under different load conditions once we hit the open water. Once back alongside it will be time to sign-on reinforcements to assist with the greatest challenge of all - the “clean-up”.

Before they’re set to work, the new Crew will undergo a programme of training. Our two Safety Officers, Dan and Tatu, will be busy over the coming days –making sure the newbies are fully up-to-speed with how we do things here and conversely ensuring that returning crew didn’t forget everything after their leave periods.

Safety is at the forefront of everything we do on board. We’ve been conducting regular drills and training throughout our refit period to ensure our crew maintain their ability to tackle any incidents that may arise both here and when we return to regular service. Our colleagues here at Blohm & Voss share a commitment to safety and have an on-site Fire Station manned with fully qualified Firefighters and Paramedics and they were kind enough to let us borrow their training unit. We jumped at this opportunity to put our teams through their paces in some strictly controlled exercises - with real flames and smoke!

When we were conducting the training, yet another new patient was brought to the Blohm & Voss ward… I can’t help thinking the Montreal Express may require a tug with a little more…clout?

Alex Downes

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.