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Captains' Log: Welcome to Galati

Captain Laughlin participates in ‘test readiness reviews’ and meets the ship for the first time.

13 November 2019

The Chief Engineer, John Wicks, and I departed Australia for the Netherlands in mid-September to participate, as part of the Serco team, in Test Readiness Reviews (TRR), with the Australian Antarctic Division and Damen. 

The reviews were conducted at the Damen Schelde shipyard in Vlissingen, a quaint seaside town on the south coast. The TRR aims to confirm the ship is at a completion stage that allows testing to proceed. This includes discussions and planning for the upcoming Sea Acceptance Trials (SATs) followed by Special Sea Trial’s (SSTs) which will be conducted in the Arctic. I’ll explain the testing and validation program closer to departure for sea. 

On September 30, the ‘Galati Four’ (see previous blog) and the new Construction and Commissioning Manager, Kay Myers, arrived in Bucharest, Romania. 

Kay completed her Naval Architecture degree at the Australian Maritime College in 2005. Since then she has worked within Australia and abroad on a number of internationally renowned projects.

Our arrival was followed by a four hour drive north-east to Galati where the ship is located at the Daman shipyard on the banks of the picturesque Danube River. 

The Damen shipyard was established in 1893 and has been operating for over 125 years. In that time it has built more than 1300 ships. The shipyard covers 55 hectares and has a workforce of over 2500 people and up to 1500 contractors.  

For Romanians, shipbuilding is time honoured industry. The yard is located near one of the largest steel works in the country and all the steel for the Nuyina was commissioned from local steel works. On a daily basis there are between 500 and 600 people working on the Nuyina, and even then the ship doesn’t seem over-populated. 

It’s a 10-minute walk to the vessel where she lays alongside the wharf. Some days it’s quite a chilly walk. On average we are covering 8000 to 12000 steps per day - up to eight kilometres!. This includes 20-35 flights of stairs per day. 

Our first couple of weeks on site were a bit of a whirlwind introduction to the ship building yard and the ship itself. It’ s taken a bit of time to familiarise ourselves with the vessel. 

For me, it has been a pleasure to go from poring over 2D drawings and the 3D model to actually seeing the ship for real. Photos just don’t do her justice and for those that will have to wait to see the vessel, it will be worth the wait.  

The ship is currently undergoing Harbour Acceptance Trial’s (HATs) to ready itself for the next stage of proceeding to sea for SATs.