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5th January, 2018


After a fun-packed 3 days around from Stockholm to Bremerhaven we arrived off the Weser Pilot station at 0400 to be advised that Pilot service had been suspended. The sea was reasonably lumpy, but I was surprised that the Pilot boat wouldn’t come out - they are BIG pilot boats at the Weser!

After some discussion it was agreed to fly the Pilot out by helicopter. A great idea. We set to as a lot of shipboard preparation is required to execute this. Awnings down, decks secured, fire-party standing by. The Pilot was overhead just before 0500 and after a very effective ‘drop & go’, the Pilot was on the bridge and we were on our way in to Bremerhaven.

The challenge now was to get alongside soonest, as we were now running late, and fighting an uphill ebb tide to boot! I had Tours to get away. Fortunately the parking was ‘straight in’ and we able to use the tide to ‘drop’ the ship onto the berth. That is to say we used the power of the tide, with the ship angled across the stream, to push the ship on to the berth. All in all not bad. Shortly after 0900 our passengers were away on their shore-excursions.

I hosted my Farewell Cocktail party after a ‘rapid’ departure from Bremerhaven. It’s a good job my commute time, Bridge to Britannia Lounge, is a mere 3 minutes and 30 seconds!

So with the Pilot disembarked at 2130 we set course for Southampton, with a day at sea to enjoy tomorrow.

Captain Stuart Horne

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.