Godfrey Johnson’s Transatlantic Crossing Aboard Stolt Innovation

Monday, 25 February, 2013

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman, 25 February 2013

Surveyor Trainee at the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI) Vassel Godfrey Johnson III, recently returned to his post at the MACI UK office after spending a month at sea.

On 1 November 2012, Godfrey joined the crew aboard the Stolt Innovation, a 100 metre, 48 tank chemical tanker, heading from Houston en route to Europe carrying a medley of alcohols, acids, sulphides and other chemical derivatives.

Twenty-two year old Godfrey was inspired by his month aboard the tanker, calling it “an eye-opening experience”.  He recounted his exposure to various areas of the ship’s operations, including bridge watch-keeping and operation during standby, chart corrections, passage planning, maintenance, engine room watch-keeping, engine and deck operations during standby, and cargo operations including tank cleaning.  “Most importantly,” he said, “was witnessing the day-to-day operation of a ship and what was required to keep it running. Learning about the interdependency of the systems on board and what redundancies are built in was also interesting, from controlling the temperature and atmosphere of the tank and cargo in it, to the fuel quality going into the main generators and all the navigational equipment in between.”

Recalling his trip, he described his biggest surprise as the cleanliness of the cargo tanks.  “I had a preconception that it was going to be a large, dirty cavern, spotted with corrosion, peeling paint and cargo residue from 16 years of holding harsh chemicals. The tank however was in pristine condition, at 15 meters (49ft) deep it was a cavern but not a spot of corrosion could be found. All of the surfaces, equipment and pipes inside were not painted, but finished as a brushed shiny stainless steel that reflected what little light came in the access hatch lighting up the whole tank. The level of cleanliness inside required that shoe covers be worn to prevent contaminants being brought in from the outside deck as if it were a crime scene.”

Godfrey was awarded the David Anderson Memorial Maritime Scholarship in 2008 and was originally accepted into the Bachelor of Engineering Honours Programme in Naval Architecture at Newcastle University after graduating Cayman Prep and High School in 2008. Godfrey changed programmes in his second year to the Bachelor of Engineering Honours Programme in Small Craft Technology.  He graduated on 29 June 2012 with a Master of Engineering Honours Degree in Small Craft Technology and took a full time placement with MACI’s UK office as Surveyor Trainee. In addition to his shipboard experience, Godfrey has been actively continuing his education, gaining formal training at Warsash Maritime Academy, including:  personal safety and social responsibility, fire prevention and firefighting, personal survival techniques, elementary first aid and the MCA Seafarer Medical Certificate.

Godfrey’s passion for ships is evident. “The care and detail to which these ships are built and operated to, is in itself noteworthy,” he said. “The crew is well-trained, efficient and very knowledgeable. It was an invaluable opportunity, from which I gained a new outlook on the operation of ships.”

The Cayman Islands Shipping Registry (a division of MACI) is celebrating 110 years of history in 2013 and will be featuring stories of its past, the inspiring Caymanians of present and their visions for the future over the coming months. 

The Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands is responsible for: pleasure yacht and commercial shipping vessel registration; provision of surveys and certification to Cayman-registered vessels globally and to ‘new builds’, irrespective of flag; provision of construction supervision of new builds; ensuring crew compliance on Cayman-registered vessels; implementing marine pollution prevention; maritime safety and security; and development of national maritime policy formation.

Editor’s Notes:

The Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI) is a statutory corporation formed as a separate legal entity under the Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands Law (2005) which came into effect on July 1, 2005. The Authority is wholly-owned by the Government of the Cayman Islands but governed by a Board of Directors appointed by the Governor of the Cayman Islands.

In general, MACI functions as the maritime administration of the Cayman Islands and as such discharges, on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government, the range of responsibilities and services normally associated with such a maritime administration.


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