Barge Delivery: Willem Lourens
As a maritime service company, Flexbox Crewing prides itself on undertaking challenging missions like inland shipping barge transports. For the fourth time this season, we were commissioned for a voyage – this one holding a special place in our roster. It was our second transport from the Netherlands to Ukraine this year, but it also marked our first experience in sailing a pushboat up the Rhine.
Our journey began when we were introduced to the new owner from Mykolaiv, Ukraine, by our longstanding partner, the shipping company “Van de Graaf & Meeusen“. Following the sale of their pushboat “Willem-Lourens” we were engaged to manage the transport of this vessel from Ridderkerk to Izmajil.
The task was straightforward, yet challenging. Besides the “Willem-Lourens”, two barges were initially part of the voyage, with two more added later on, also destined for Izmajil. Given our prior knowledge of the vessel, pre-inspection was not overly complex. However, each mission has its unique elements to address – bunkers, stores, and a new AIS-connection, to name a few. The most significant challenge, as usual, was finding a capable crew, especially during a time when the industry faces personnel shortages.
Thankfully, we could count on our ‘specialists’. They boarded the “Willem-Lourens”, assessed the vessel, identified necessary minor repairs, and established the requirements for food and internet connection. Their keen eyes and comprehensive checklists ensured that the voyage was well-prepared.
A few days later, we set sail. The journey along the Waal and the Rhine went smoothly, largely due to the careful maintenance of the “Willem-Lourens”. However, when the convoy was preparing to navigate the Main River, a new challenge arose. The barges needed ballasting and a ‘head barge’ had to be collected due to the convoy’s length. This scenario meant hiring a bow thruster from IZB-Cargo in Würzburg. We also had to fetch the ‘head barge’ from Lengfurt and return for ballasting.
Upon reaching Regensburg, another issue arose. The two remaining barges had been diverted to Mainz-Kostheim. Consequently, we had to return with the ‘loose boat’ to fetch them, adding to the journey’s length. Yet, these were the challenges we were accustomed to and prepared for.
Finally, with all the barges assembled, the convoy continued along the Danube. The client decided to carry cargo, and the four barges were filled with rolls of steel in Linz, Austria, for delivery in Constanta, Romania. This next phase of the journey, with the loaded barges, made for an impressive sight.
After two days of waiting in Constanta for unloading, the convoy finally sailed to its final destination, Izmajil. We are proud to have successfully completed this voyage and continue to wish the “Willem-Lourens” a safe journey. At Flexbox Crewing, we rise to meet the challenges of each new adventure, always ready to navigate any vessel to its destination.
Are you interested to have Flexbox Crewing manage your barge transport or when you are interested on working onboard during such a delivery, get in touch with us!