Saturday, April 18, 2009

Danish Butter Cookies

No, you didn’t get the wrong blog. 
It is a known fact that next to the most important equipment on a ship’s bridge (the coffee machine) there will always be a tin of cookies to help the watchkeepers go through the 4 hours watch with their stomachs comforted. Not always known is that these tins of delicious “danish butter cookies” can also give a help navigating the ship… 
Back in 1996 we were approaching Hormuz Strait, outbound from the Persian Gulf, having loaded a full cargo of crude oil at the Iranian Kharg Island terminal. The traffic separation scheme north of Musandam Peninsula demands a large alteration of course, which can be tricky for a 22 meter draft, 342 meters long vessel with heavy traffic nearby. For this reason, the Captain was also on the bridge with the 2nd Officer (me).  At some distance on our starboard bow there was a salvage tug approximately with the same heading and speed. She was delaying the course change and soon we would need to start going to starboard and had no acceptable room. Before deciding to slow our speed to increase the distance we tried to call her on the VHF asking if she would alter course before us or proceed with that course. After calling the tugboat a few times by her name, with no answer whatsoever and approaching the defined position to alter course, I headed for the phone to call the engineers in order to let them know that I would soon be decreasing the engine revolutions so as to alter course. Before I could pick up the handset, the Captain phlegmatically told me to wait a moment. He approached the “danish butter cookies” tin, removed the lid and went outside on the bridge wing. Using the sun and the polished interior of the lid as a mirror, he began to flash the bridge of the tug. Almost immediately a voice sounded on the VHF, with the tugboat watchkeeper apologizing after realizing that there was a huge vessel approaching on her port quarter. She instantly altered course to starboard and allowed us also to alter with no speed decrease. 
So, next time you join a ship, check if the “danish butter cookies” are a part of the standard navigational equipment…

9 comments:

antonio sáez said...

Muy buena anécdota. I must say that those cookies are tasty.

Jose Saraiva said...

I there on the bridge of my vessel one or more "butter cookies tin" make part of the compulsory bridge "gear", apart from the tasty cookies as you can prove the lid are very usufull tool in some stressing situations.
All the best
Jose Saraiva.

KennebecCaptain said...

Great post, and yes we have DBC (Danish Butter Cookies)aboard at all times.

lend 92 said...

It is good story and made some memories come. One sailor said that if he will find some danish cookies when he arrived onboard to new ship, then he is sure that vessel has bad cook. Whatever it means.

http://www.mereblog.com/?p=1995

Dan said...

Great post! Probably every seaman in the world has tasted these cookies, including me :). No more cookies.

Dan
http://www.mereblog.com

Dieselduck said...

Neat story, love the site, keep up the good work.

Malheiro do Vale said...

Thanks Martin!

Tim said...

Good one, never heard that use for the lid of a tin of Danish Cookies. Very clever piece of basic navigation.

carlos@inport.com.br said...

tambem tive a sorte de conhecer , ao Desembaraçar um lote de brindes deste tipo... deliciosos , os originais, Danish... abçs..