Friday, April 1, 2011

Perseus, the hero from Galati :)

After reading the title, are you still wondering what am I speaking about? Still uncertain about what I'm referring to? Then, by all means, please read on !

         I speak, of course, of a ship, currently docked in Galati, not far from the Palace of Navigation. What makes this one so special then? Well, this ship has a purpose, and a rich history.

Perseus in Romania

         "Perseus" was built during 1984-1989 at Braila Shipyard. It was the second ship of this type built there, the first one being "Hercules", a ship still in service today in the harbour of Constanta. 

          Initially named "Albatros 1", the ship was officially delivered to its new owner, AFDJ Galati, in october 1990.
Navigation lights controls 

         It's first mission was to serve as ice-breaker, on the Danube, along with its elder brother, "Hercules", a mission successfully handled year after year.

        Almost every winter, the biting cold followed by positive temperatures will create ice layers which will trap the river's water under them. This is a serious threat. If not properly taken care of, the water can sweep whole forests or villages on the shores of the Danube.

"Hercules" bridge overview
           This is when "Perseus" goes into action. Being able to get underway in less than 5 minutes, this massive ship can crack ice up to 10m thick under it's keel. "This ship is like a fire-truck", says one of the crewmembers, kept ready and warm at all times.

This ship has seen action worthy of a movie. I am of course, referring to the Egypt incident.

Helm of "Hercules"
         Being build as an unlimited navigation class, the ship was rented in 1998 to a foreign agent, who, at the end of the contract, left the ship abandoned in the port of Abu Dhabi. In june 2000, the tug reached Alexandria, where it was abusively detained by the harbour authorities, with the intention of taking over the ship, by the account of Dorian Dumitru, the head of the investigation service of AFDJ Galati.

          The 14 member crew endured 3 months of captivity, being put under armed guard. Unable to endure the extremely harsh conditions (e.g.constant temperatures of 63 degrees C. on deck, higher in some parts of the ship) the crew decided to escape Egypt.
"Hercules" telegraphs

           On the 10th of September, around 8.00 PM, taking advantage of a short lack in security (due to a local egyptian celebration), they managed to cut all the mooring lines, and with the engines at full throttle, the ship left Alexandria harbour. They were followed and shots were fired towards them, without causing significant damage.

           In 90 minutes the ship managed to reach international waters, but soon after, because it was hard forced, one of the 2 main engines collapsed, taking fire. The crew managed to put it out, and spent the next 12 hours adrift, salvaging parts from the damaged engine, and repairing the one that was still working.
          The ship resumed it's course towards home, and after surviving two big storms, one in the Mediterranean, the other in the Black Sea, it finally docked in Galati, on the 18th of September.
View towards the stern - "Hercules"

At the arrival, the crewmembers were welcomed as heroes, and it's thanks to them that today "Perseus" is still at it's berth, ready to fight fire, handle pollution, break ice or save stranded sailors. 

          During the time I was studying at the Naval Academy in Constanta I had the opportunity to visit the elder brother of "Perseus" - named "Hercules". All pictures shown in this post except the panoramic one are taken on board the "Hercules".
"Perseus moored in Galati. Picture taken on 13.04.2011. Click on the picture for a very detailed view"

Here are some technical facts about "Perseus":

Maximul lenght: 108.2 m                                 Ship's class: Multi - purpose dry cargo ship
Breadth 18.2 m                           Summer draught: 6.7 m
Height: 7.9 m               Deadweight: 3795 t
Anchors weight 2 tonnes each (HALL type) !
Critical speed: 14.8 Knots (that's 27.4 km/h)
Endurance at sea: at 13 knts - 5000 Nm (9260 km)
Consumption: 18.5 t/day diesel fuel and 360 litres of oil for main and auxiliary engines...meaning 1.812 euro per hour during missions :D

Useful links:  
     - an article and video interview about Hercules right here. (language is romanian :)
     - my panorama about the Navigation Palace, which is here !
     - my post about Tudor Vladimirescu, the last functional steam paddle driven ship in Europe, click here.

Have you seen this ship recently? Any thoughts? I would really like to read them :)

1 comment:

Gabitza said...

Super panorama, interesanta si captivanta descriere.:) Asa am mai aflat multe lucruri interesante despre faimosul nostru Perseus :)
Sa fii pe faza si cand reapare corabia lu' Stefan. Chiar m-ar interesa mai multe si despre ea :P:P:P Stiu ca as putea sa caut eu, dar imi plac mai mult povestile tale! Sa ai multa inspiratie si pe viitor!
Felicitari inca o data! :)

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