Transport Experience with Seven Star - Maldives to Turkey
Posted 7 May 2012
This is my report about the transport by Sevenstar of my sailing boat between Male (Maldives Islands) and Marmaris (Turkey).
The unloading in Marmaris has been quick and easy despite a wind of 20 knots, but awful in Male.
First, we had to wait two weeks around Male because the ETA changed alot of times, and we wouldn’t take risks in case of any kind of possible trouble.
Finally, the vessel arrived on the 6th of April, and we got an appointment to be lifted the 7th of April at 9.30 am. When we arrived at the right time, nobody welcomed us. So we called the vessel on the VHF, and the answer was “….wait….”.
We hung around all the morning and more and finally we called the lockmaster. The answer was not precise, and at 3.30 pm, we called him again, “Come back tomorrow morning, at 8.00 am." – "But sir, we have a plane tomorrow morning, please do something before tomorrow morning….” You can imagine me.
Finally, the operations began at 10.00 am, and finished at 2.00 pm. Good technicians, but very bad to communicate with. Mainly, it depends on the lockmaster (not the same in Male as in Marmaris), and you have to keep in mind that they carry not only boats but other kind of freight as well.
Response from Sevenstar
Thank you for asking us to comment on SY Meroe's report of their yacht transport with us, this is correct and true. I will explain a bit about the circumstances, which were very hard with some swell and tide running. This gives a very small loading window to lift the yachts out of the water.
If we miss something or a lift is more difficult, it costs not two hours but an entire tide window. This puts a lot of pressure on the loadmasters and crew of the vessel to make all the slots and indeed often ends up with little/too limited communication to the yacht owners.
I apologise for this but sometimes we cannot give the attention we want to give and the client wants to have....
All minor damages to the yachts that occurred over the last two shipments have been paid out in full and repaired in good order. Besides the delay in loading of the HR Facility (got stuck in Indonesia loading weather sensitive base cargo (no yachts) for over 10 days) everything went very well.
Once again thanks for asking our feedback.
Jan Maarten Boissevain
(for and on behalf of the Ocean Carrier) Sevenstar Yacht Transport BV
Posted 3 May 2011
We recently transported our yacht, BeBe, with SevenStar Yacht Transport. Our search for a transport solution started shortly after we arrived in Cochin, India. Once in Cochin, we began to update our "Piracy Chart" with the last 90 days of activity. It was very apparent that we were not going to sail the Indian Ocean because after updating our chart, we counted 13 times more pirate attacks than the same period the previous year.
We first called SevenStar's competitor who politely told me that they were no longer servicing the Indian Ocean route. We then contacted Mike Heffer (email@example.com), agent for SevenStar. Mike told me that they did not have anything scheduled that would accommodate BeBe from the Indian Ocean to Turkey. He said that if we could find enough interested yachts, that he would try to find a vessel.
Within a few days we found 2 in Cochin and 1 in the Maldives. He told us that he would have the Maldives vessel go to Cochin and that there was enough room to load 4 vessels on a ship that originated in Asia and would unload in Marmaris, Turkey. Several weeks passed and 12 more yachts expressed interest, with the majority lying in the Maldives and 2 in Sri Lanka. At this point, the original transport ship would not work, nor the departure of Cochin. We understood, of course; and 4 yachts sailed from Cochin to Male, Maldives (1 more had joined us in Cochin).
We were loaded 30 days after our arrival in Male and about 10-15 days after the original ETA for the transport ship, BBC EVEREST, in Male, Maldives. BBC EVEREST was on her maiden voyage after having been built in a shipyard in China. There had been about a 2-week delay in the shipyard completing and releasing BBC EVEREST.
SevenStar had never loaded in Male before, and BBC had never handled cargo in Male. The SevenStar loadmasters and riggers arrived a few days before BBC EVEREST. They attempted to obtain a dock to secure the transport ship as we loaded and were told that there were none available. When BBC EVEREST arrived, SevenStar did their best to load the yachts; but had challenges. There was a swell in the commercial ship anchorage and many fast ferries traveling through the anchorage. This caused the yachts to swing while being lifted with the ship's crane which was rigged with straps, similar to a travel lift straps. SevenStar asked the authorities in Male permission to load at night when most of the fast ferries would be in port. The transport ship had plenty of loading lights and the capability to load at night. The Male officials told SevenStar that night loading was only allowed while secured at a dock. SevenStar offered to pay whatever Male was asking for a dock, but was again told none was available and that they could not load at night. Eventually, and we assume at great expense, BBC EVEREST was allowed to tie to a wharf at "garbage island' which is where the garbage that is not thrown into the sea by the Male citizens is burned in open pits...BTW, Male charter boats toss their garbage into the sea and most Male citizens think nothing of tossing garbage and plastic refuse into the sea!
The loading proceeded with few challenges once the ship was secured to the dock. As far as we know, the only vessel that appeared to sustain any damage during the entire loading was our yacht, BeBe, which was loaded while BBC EVEREST was at anchor. We had requested that the loadmaster use the lifting points on the deck of BeBe rather than the straps beneath the hull. Under the conditions, we all agreed this was safer; and it was. However, in the process of attaching the heavy steel cables to BeBe while she was tied alongside BBC EVEREST, several fast ferries caused BeBe to roll. The cables were not yet secure and they touched the gelcoat in several places. Turns out it looked worse than it was. After we removed the grease on the gelcoat left by the cables, all was fine. The cables did damage 1 white plastic cover on a mizzen shroud...less than $20.
BBC EVEREST made very good time to Marmaris, Turkey, arriving 5 days before its original ETA. We had some agent challenges in Marmaris with a gold-digging agent which we quickly dispatched in favor of Soner Yaman, Marmaris Marine (firstname.lastname@example.org). Soner did a wonderful job saving each yacht owner about $1,200 over the gold-digger.
The unloading was very professional and even though we again elected to use our deck-level lifting points with BBC EVEREST's large steel cable, the cable did not touch BeBe's gelcoat this time. We heard that another yacht sustained some damage during transit...we have no details or any direct knowledge of this damage. But, of course, that is why SevenStar includes at no additional charge insurance, which covers damage or loss in transit.
We would recommend SevenStar and BBC EVEREST to anyone wishing a very good experience transporting their yacht.
Bill & Judy ROUSE
s/v BeBe, Currently Marmaris, Turkey