|I took this picture through the fence while I was waiting. You can just see the ship over the stacks of containers.|
The driver was very nice and as we were driving to the ship I asked him several questions. He told me the City of Seattle owns the land the port is on. The Seattle Port Authority Hired SSA http://www.ssamarine.com/services/index.html to manage the Terminal Management which includes the Stevedore work which are the labor union organized longshoreman who load and off load the ships. He works for SSA as well. I asked him if the Port of Tacoma could handle the larger container ships. He said they could not since they do not have a terminal with deep enough water and they do not have the larger white cranes that are needed to offload containers from the ships. He dropped me off at the gangway to the ship and told me I would have to present my ID as I boarded the ship and to just tell the guy that I was with the group who just boarded ahead of me. The crew in the picture was at the top of the gangplank and asked for my ID. I handed him my Texas DL and he wrote the info in the logbook. He then handed me a clip on badge and my ID back. I asked him where I do go now?. I am not sure if he understood my request but finally he pointed towards the direction of a long hallway so I took the short stairs leading over the yellow and black strips.
|Looking aft along the Starboard side B deck which is the ships main container deck level|
|Looking forward on the Starboard side B Deck|
|Looking forward from the port bridge wing.|
|Looking down from the bridge wing.|
|Taken from the end of the bridge wing to the wheel house.|
|A couple of spot lights and a ships compass on the bridge wing.|
|If you can't find your way with this you are LOST!|
|Lots of electronics and a mast on the top of the wheel house.|
|This navigation area is separated from the main area of the Wheel House. Not sure why they need a curtain along the length of this area unless they need to keep it darker in there for some reason?|
|All of the electronics have a repeater. The same instruments on the port side of the instrument panel are also on the starboard side of the instrument panel.|
|The steering station is located just behind the center engine controls on the instrument panel.|
|The guy that sits here in the center controls the throttle to everything.|
|AIS or Automated Identification System|
|Ship heading speed and rudder angle and lots of other ship related data.|
|The Port side panel has a camera/monitor on the bow. The bow is not visible from the bridge due to the height of the containers.|
|Captain Velibor Krpan was a very gracious host and took pictures with all that requested.|
|Over to the Starboard bridge wing.|
|Lot of great views.|
|All sides of the Port are visible from this height.|
|Mount Rainier came out for the Benjamin Franklin|
|A crane Operator is just over head.|
|It takes about 60 seconds for the crane operator to lift a container off the ship and deposit it on a waiting truck below.|
|Pretty amazing how fast they work.|
A couple of barges rafted up on a mooring. the Container barge is the smallest of the container shipping fleets. These barges move smaller numbers of containers all over the Pacific Northwest including up to Alaska.
|The Coast Guard docks right in the thick of it.|
|As you can see the Bridge is located near midships rather than on the aft end like most of the container ships.|
|This is the commons area for the passenger rooms.|
|A little art for the passengers.|
|They have five passenger rooms like this one, It has a large living area and|
|A queen size berth and|
a large bathroom and shower with lots of storage. These passenger berths go for about $150 per night. Way bigger than any cruise ship passenger rooms! Only a little over two months old, it still had that new ship smell.
The five passenger cabins are on this deck + the commons area. We did not see any of the crew cabins so I asked our guide if the crew had to share quarters. He said no, all 29 crew had there own cabin.
|10 Deck Levels.|
|Lots of stairs to go up and down. Now we are on the A Deck Level headed for the engine room.|
|This companion way runs the length of the ship, Over 400 yards total looking forward|
|We take a left turn here toward the engine room and there are two big green pumps whirring along pumping fresh or seawater.|
|Those shelves on the left have a lot of pipe, angel iron and flat iron to use for any required repairs.It is really warn in here.|
One Huge engine! Burns Number 1 Diesel Oil which is a thick sludge that has to be super heated prior to being used by the engine. It is really noisy in here and the engine is not even running.
This is looking down at the engine deck level which you can see is actually suspended by shock absorbing construction to reduce any vibration created by the huge engine.
|The ceiling is covered in a reflective heat resistant and sound absorbing material.|
|Lots of spare parts like these giant bearings. One of the crew said they carry at least two of every spare on board.|
|The huge exhaust muffler leading up the smoke stack.|
|Spare Cylinder heads.|
|view from the aft end.|
|Time to go, so this time I leave with the group.|
|This very long companion way is supported by several pairs of steel cables but is bounces up and down with every step.|
|I asked the purpose of the net and they said just in case someone falls.|
|The Benjamin Franklin Departs the Port of Seattle the next morning bound for China|
The maiden voyage of the Benjamin Franklin was a public relations tour and a test for the Captain, crew, harbor pilots, tugs and the ports to see if the West Coast and all involved could measure up to the needs such a huge ship demands. There are a lot of emerging changes in the shipping industry as the new channel in the Panama Canal nears completion April 2016. West Coast Ports have to stay competitive since most of the ships they service now will easily fit through the new canal. The Gulf of Mexico Coast and the East Coast have been doing their own expansion projects to lure all the new business that is about to come their way. Something like 170 of these new monster ships to be built, that will not fit in through the canal, will in the foreseeable future be the bread and butter of those ports that can accommodate them. It is obvious that Seattle is working hard to be in the mix.
I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to join the Seattle Welcoming Committee, meet the Captain, and tour the largest container ship to enter US waters.