Heavy weather, literally! The depressions just dont’t stop blowing over the North sea one after the other. We encounter winds seldom less than 8 beaufort. Although the North sea is known for its winter storms, it is just a bit too much to my taste. But is does produce some nice pictures as the one above.
Speaking of the weather, for the ones interested in meteorology, I would recommend the computer program zyGrib. It produces weather forecasts based on NOAA data with all kids of options to choose on how to display these weather charts.
Heavy weather, also figurative. With my few years of work experience, I notice a great difference in traffic density between now and three years ago. At the time then, traffic was so dense in the English channel for example, ships passed with dozens together through the traffic separation scheme. Nowadays some separation schemes seem obsolete. Shipping companies are out of work and many ships just don’t sail anymore. Anchorages are full with waiting vessels and some companies are so desperate, they send half laden ships around the world just to keep them busy. At any cost it seems, that can’t be profitable.
It is not only the shipping industry in heavy weather. Also refineries (where we get and deliver our cargo) start feeling the impact of the financial crisis. Petroplus has had a loss of millions of dollars last year and now credits of more than one billion dollars are frozen. The end is probably near for them. With Greece expected to go bankrupt beginning of next year, the outlook is not very promising. Fingers crossed that our company can escape all the economic misery and keep going.
Despite all, I wish you happy sailing in 2012!