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Mariners inventiveness awarded

18 May 2016

The inventiveness of Swedish mariners is great said Christer Themnér, chairman of the Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation, during the Foundation's annual reward ceremony which was held 18 May. And you have to agree, many wise ideas are brought to life at sea.

Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation has since 1977 handed out rewards to people who are active in shipping. This year, a total of 426 000 SEK is given out in 35 different awards.

One of the winners is Stein Ulf Johansson, chief engineer at M/S Ortviken who, along with his colleagues succeeded in reducing oil spill and reduce the cost of the ship's lubricating oil by 16 000 SEK per month.

- We have long had problems with oil that has been disappearing. By trouble shooting we managed to figure out the problem, that the pressure in the crankcase made the oil disappear through the drains, Stein-Ulf Johansson says.

He and his colleagues, John-Eke Nilsson, chief engineer, and Tanasuca Costel, 1st engineer, custom made an oil wiper and was able to reduce the oil spill from fifty to ten litres per day for the ship's two engines

In many cases, the prize winners in labour rewards, share a common ground that their inventions are about simplifying the life on board ships. For example, a small crane that facilitates heavy lifting, a new ramp design that makes it easier to take on board provisions, canvas for sails that can protect windows in the lifeboats or how you by number and colour coding the ventilation valves on a ship can achieve better firefighting possibilities. Stein Ulf Johansson at M/S Ortviken believes that there is a special inventiveness among mariners.

Stein-Ulf Johansson.

- When you're on board, you are at work all the time, it's easy, when you are in your bunk and get an idea to go down to the engine and check directly if the idea works. There is not much distraction when you're at sea, so there is plenty of time to think of solutions to problems, says Stein Ulf Johansson.

The reward for sports and physical training was awarded captain Lars Becklund of M/T Evinco from Donsötank. Aboard the M/T Envinco there is a gym, treadmill, exercise bike, rowing machine and a table tennis table and Lars Backlund and his crew's shows great interest in nutrition, health and fitness.

The Foundation also awards individuals who have made outstanding contributions during incidents on board or in sea rescue missions and thanks to this year's winners, seven people and a cat is alive today. In October, a stroller with a six month old baby rolled over the edge of the dock in the harbour of Visby. By coincidence, a crew from Destination Gotland was nearby after doing some rescue exercises and the seaman and instructor Jonas Laveryd heard the father's cries for help. He dived into the twelve-degree water and managed to save the baby who was strapped into the stroller.

Jonas Laveryd, Destination Gotland and Christer Nordling, Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation.

Another reward went to the crew on the ship Tor Viking II,who responded to a distress call from the French solo sailor Emmanuel Wattehamps. Tor Viking II succeeded in rough sea in the Pacific Ocean south off Alaska to save both the sailor and his cat. In another part of the world, outside of Cape Verde were Swedish Navy schooner HMS Gladan were the only ones to catch a distress call on VHF channel 16. The Navy was able to locate a German sailing boat with four people who were in distress, and assisted the sailboat until a tug was in place.

The last rescue reward went to the chief Johan Söderling on the icebreaker Frej. During a walk along the quay in Luleå he rescued a man who had fallen down in the December cold water.

The Swedish Mercantile Marine Foundation also gives out a literature award that this year goes to the historian Joachim Östlund who wrote the book "Saltets pris" (the price of salt). A book about Swedish slaves in North Africa and the trade in the Mediterranean Sea from 1650 to 1770. The literature prize ceremony will be held at the annual book fair in Gothenburg.

More detail about each award can be found in the Foundation's reward folder here. (in Swedish)

Text and photo: Andreas Kron

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