A HAPPY SHIP - My life on Höegh Trooper Week 2

DATE 14.12.2023

Tamatave, Madagascar, was our first port of call. While strolling the dusty streets of this former French colony, I felt like a prisoner on the run. The crew didn’t have sufficient time to go ashore, but they spent their time in port wisely, bartering scrap metal and worn shoes for fruits and fresh fish with the locals.

A few days later we reached La Réunion. After weeks on the sea, traveling southeastwards, I was suddenly back in the European Union. Since the port was small, the operations went slowly, and I got a record long 48 hours parole at this paradise-like French holiday destination. I spent it indulging in oysters and crêpes.

Shore leaves are the perks of the life of a seafarer, but sadly, all good things come to an end. Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius, was our last port of call for quite some time, and we were only allowed a few hours on the island. The crew was not particularly impressed with the city and its busy markets. It’s just like the Philippines, they concluded.

The ship is now emptied of its valuable cargo, and we are sailing towards Japan at full speed. The journey ahead is a long one, but the crew is busier than ever and is working overtime twice a week. Höegh Trooper is an old, cranky lady and there are endless amounts of maintenance to be done.

The fitters, for instance, are busy removing rust on the upper deck and fixing a crack on deck 2. The electrician cadet is replacing all the old-fashioned bulbs with longer lasting led bulbs. At the speed of around 15 pairs per day, he will be occupied for some time, and so will the bosun and his assistants, who are in charge of securing and tidying up the lashing straps, preparing for the new cargo that awaits in Japan.

I don’t particularly like to order the crew to work overtime, because I want to have a happy ship and a good life-work balance, but we also have certain requirements to meet, explains Ken, the chief officer.

Despite the extra workload, the crew somehow always finds the energy for another basketball match, weather permitting, or a round of karaoke, poker, or table tennis. The Christmas Committee is spending every available minute preparing for the celebration ahead.

It may be an old ship, but it’s a happy one.

Over the course of 50 days, the renowned anthropologist and writer Erika Fatland, known for her insightful depictions in the critically acclaimed books "Sovietistan" (2014) and "The Border - A Journey Around Russia" (2017), will travel with two of our vessels Höegh Jeddah and Höegh Trooper.

The voyage will take her along the coast of Africa and across the Indian Ocean, all the way to Korea. This journey is part of her research for her upcoming book, "The Navigator. A Journey through the Lost Empire of the Portuguese." The title is inspired by Henry the Navigator, a Portuguese prince who financed maritime expeditions down the African coast in the early 15th century.

Feeling like a prisoner on the run in La Réunion
Feeling like a prisoner on the run in La Réunion
Kevin, the electrician cadet, will not get out of work for the foreseeable future.
Kevin, the electrician cadet, will not get out of work for the foreseeable future.
Rey is replacing eroded hand reels.
Rey is replacing eroded hand reels.
A happy ship is a safe ship, says Ken, the chief officer.
A happy ship is a safe ship, says Ken, the chief officer.
 Von and Allen are fixing a crack in the pillar.
Von and Allen are fixing a crack in the pillar.
Rogelio and Andrew are tidying up thousands of lashings.
Rogelio and Andrew are tidying up thousands of lashings.
Joefy, Jhon and John, the youngest crew members, are responsible for the Christmas decorations. They take their task seriously.
Joefy, Jhon and John, the youngest crew members, are responsible for the Christmas decorations. They take their task seriously.

20 December 2023

Höegh Autoliners and VARO partner to accelerate Sustainable Shipping

(Oslo / Zug, 20 December 2023) VARO Energy and Höegh Autoliners, a leading global provider of ocean transportation solutions, today announced a strategic partnership aimed at advancing the decarbonisation of maritime sectors. This collaboration focuses on supplying 100% advanced biofuels for deep-sea transportation from Europe, underpinning both companies’ voluntary commitments to superior sustainability standards. This initiative showcases Höegh Autoliners as a frontrunner in the industry, paving the way for greener and more environmentally responsible shipping.

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Seafarers sure know how to throw a party! From very early in the morning on December 24 everyone was busy preparing sumptuos amounts of food and decorating the messroom. There was glitter, there were balloons, and there was even a photo booth, adorned with the logo of Höegh Trooper, so that everyone could have a postcard-like photo to send to family and friends. The ambience was merry and filled with laughter, even if the Christmas season without doubt is the hardest time of the year for the crew to be away from their loved ones.

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