Working Down Under - Just a leap across the ditch

Tasmanian Achiever. In January 2007 I first joined this ship as a trainee Deck Officer the purpose was to gain experience working on a RoRo cargo ship in different waters other than New Zealand. Two years down the track in January 2009 I received a phone call from Toll Shipping in Australia. The next thing I know I am on a plane to Melbourne the next day to work one roster for another officer who was on medical leave. I joined the Tasmanian Achiever this time as a 3rd Officer and to be honest not much had changed on board over the last two years, I mean even most of the crew were still the same. The only real big difference was the bridge gear but I had used that on my last two ships. I sat my AMSA oral exam for my certificate of recognition to work on an Australian registered ship in Australian waters.
The ship runs was between Melbourne and Burnie in Tasmania. We load the ship during the day and sail in the late afternoon to reach the next port in the early hours of the morning. The ship transports containers, trucks and trailer units, cars, tanks and up to 12 passengers. She also carried livestock trucks carrying cattle and sheep. I liked loading them on the weather deck because I had to go and check the condition of the livestock before we let it be loaded onto the ship. I grew up on a farm which had quite a lot of sheep and cows so it kind of felt like I was back home for a while.

Sunday nights the ship lays up in Burnie for the night so this was our favourite day on board, our day of rest after discharging the Melbourne cargo. Some crew would go ashore to church in the morning and the rest would go for shore leave. After lunch a group of crew would go ashore for a good decent coffee from Bango’s cafe. This was followed up by fishing with the deck guys in the afternoons off the end of the wharf in the hot sun. The evening was a time to relax and socialise with the crew over a nice cooked BBQ by an engineer on the back deck in the sunset. The finale of the evening was the movie night in the Chief engineer’s cabin which included fresh plunger coffee.

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