Easymax, six months in operation

The first operational experiences in retrospection

In April 2017, Wagenborg introduced its latest vessel ‘EasyMax’ under the slogan ‘Easy to operate, Maximum performance’. Now, six months later, the m.s. Egbert Wagenborg is the first EasyMax vessel to have made several voyages meaning the first operational experiences are a fact. Time for a critical look. To what extend does this latest vessel type meet the expectations? We discussed their experiences with the people who spend their days working with or on board of the Egbert Wagenborg; captain Erik Magel, Chief Engineer Peter Lensen, Chief Officer Bart de Hay, superintendent Mike Settels and charterer Annemarie van der Werff. 

“To get straight to the point: in regard to loading and unloading, the Easymax truly is ‘easy to operate, maximum performance.”
“The naval architecture of the vessel is reasonably revolutionary.”

Erik Magel, captain

To get straight to the point: in regard to loading and unloading, the Easymax truly is ‘easy to operate, maximum performance’. The hatch covers only need to be slightly opened in order to load and unload various bulk cargoes with ease. In addition we have already shipped the Egbert Wagenborg while loaded to maximum capacity, carrying different types of bulk cargo. On paper, the vessel has a loading capacity of 13.800 MT; however in practice we were able to load 13.900 MT apatite. How was this possible? Since the vessel uses minimal fuel, we only have to carry minimal fuel on board. When shipping a bulk cargo such as apatite, where you load according to the freeboard mark, this allows you to carry extra cargo. Naturally we have to take the minimal allowable under keel clearance into account. Furthermore, the handling of the Egbert Wagenborg is truly excellent! If I compare this to similar vessels, the Easymax holds a much better position in the water. It cuts through the water less harshly when in head seas. I must note here that we have not yet been through a storm where there was a prolonged swell, so we have to wait and see.

Peter Lensen, Chief engineer

The on-board comfort is good. The handling, noise levels and the available provisions on board absolutely contribute to a pleasant working environment. We only sail with a small team, hence provisions such as a mess room and dayroom are a bit smaller. In addition, the current generation spends less time on common activities after work. To accommodate this our TV and internet connections are generally good, depending on our sailing area; this is definitely an improvement, especially in comparison to previous years. Furthermore, the naval architecture of the vessel is reasonably revolutionary. In the mechanical engineering department there is still room for optimisation. If the approach truly would be “Easy”, I would suggest enabling the handling of essential parts in the operation on board in more areas. Especially if the intention is to manage the technical aspects of the vessel with only a minimal team. Solid ‘remote support’ from shore is essential in this, and here too is still a great deal to achieve. Unlike an office, where operation hours and days are limited per week, a vessel is continually in operation. On top of that, the person providing remote support needs to possess a lot more knowledge than the team on board. It is a very interesting development and I am curious to see how it will unfold.

“I must say that this vessel truly is built for easy operation.”
“This eco-character not only saves in fuel expenses, but also saves us time due to less bunkering stops.”
“Supporting the Egbert Wagenborg technically is a unique experience.”

Bart de Hay, Chief officer

The on-board information system is great! It’s pleasant to wake up in your cabin in the morning and to be able to see on your own TV the current location of the Egbert Wagenborg, including other nearby vessels. Also, I can use the camera’s on board do check the deck and the engine room. I have no complaints regarding the comfort on board. With the internet on board I am constantly in perfect connection with the home front. Furthermore, the noise levels on board are exceptionally low, especially in the accommodations on the upper decks. The lower decks are a bit more noisy with ballasting or chafing anchor chains. I must say that this vessel truly is built for easy operation. Washing down the hold is easy. The DIBOsystem, power tools and tool air can be connected to every available point. I am also very enthusiastic about the staircase in the area between the two holds instead of the traditional stepladders. During my time on board I only got to handle wood pellets, so for the future I’m hoping for more diverse
cargo types.

Annemarie van der Werff, Charterer

The Egbert Wagenborg is a worthy addition to our existing fleet. It is an efficient ecovessel with a spacious cargo capacity, high adaptability and multi-employability. Furthermore the holds are very easy to wash down in case of a continuation journey. The
first trip of the Egbert Wagenborg, for example, was to Kokkola with limestone: a very dusty load. For the continuation journey we had listed wood pulp, which requires the holds to be super clean. With the built-in DIBO-system the crew was finished in no-time. Moreover the expectations in regard to fuel consumption are amply met to date. This eco-character not only saves in fuel expenses, but also saves us time due to less bunkering stops. Fortunately we are producing good results in Europe with our
current bulk- and pulp cargoes. In these times we really have to make do with the product and not the market. Points for improvement? We would love to see
a combination between the Egbert Wagenborg, the R- and the F-type. In other words: the maximum cargo capacity of the R-type (23.000 DTW), combined with the optimal draught of the F-type (approx. 8.00 metres) and the minimal fuel consumption of the Egbert Wagenborg.

Mike Settels, Superintendent

As Superintendent FMD/PND I am responsible for
both the warranty in the first year and the vessel’s
technical support. For both these areas Remote Support is an added value. Even though you cannot solve every problem remotely, it does provide insight. At the same time you have an immediate status summary of various systems. Because of this, the figurative distance between shore and vessel has decreased since now you can check the vessel’s circumstances from shore. Earlier all you had was a name of a port and the cargo, now you have the complete picture. All of this makes supporting the Egbert Wagenborg technically a unique experience.