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Achieving gas detection efficiency: A visit to Solvang and Clipper Hebe

In maritime operations, you want to limit supportive chores to a bare minimum. We spoke to our long-time customer Solvang to hear how they approach their gas detection duty.

Solvang ASA is a shipping company operating 24 gas vessels with LPG and petrochemical gases, with operations dating back as long as 1936. Due to their precious cargo and careful operations, they need a solid gas detection solution to ensure safety and compliance with regulations. To meet requirements, Solvang chose Bruusgaard as their partner. 

One of their trusted LPG tankers, the Clipper Hebe, regularly calls at the Norwegian port of Rafnes. On their last visit, we chatted with Maritime Superintendent at Solvang, Captain Asle Vågane, on board the vessel. 

A captain and his ship

Gas discharging from Clipper Hebe is underway as we board to greet Cpt. Vågane in the officers’ quarters. We witness a heartful homecoming for the seasoned sailor and former captain of the ship we visit. He proudly welcomes us aboard the vessel he took to sea over fifteen years ago.

It is a foggy morning with a light downpour in Rafnes. Cpt. Vågane cannot help but smile as he reminisces about his sailing days in weather far harsher than this. Today, however, his duties as a Maritime Superintendent keep him shoreside most of the time. His responsibilities lie in overseeing that operations flow efficiently from Solvang’s headquarters.

He lights up as we touch on the subject of onboard detection, and it does not take long before he starts describing the value of having an experienced detection partner at his side:

– Bruusgaard is always updated on our stock on board, following up with vessels on a regular basis so that they have the spare parts, tubes, and sensors they need, he says.

Ripple effects of a gas detection solution partnership

For Solvang and Cpt. Vågane, the ripple effects of having a partner responsible for detection equipment are visible throughout their supply chain and onboard activities. Constantly updated on their stock and deliveries, their ability to plan accordingly has become a breeze. Add that they also save significant time and money on administrative tasks and logistics, and it is safe to say that Solvang is experiencing value from our collaboration.

– This solution is quite valuable because it makes tracking our equipment easier. It saves a lot of time and costs, Cpt. Vågane confirms.

Time and cost savings are essential perks of a collaboration with Bruusgaard. Our philosophy is to supply our customers with what they need when needed. Nothing more, nothing less. As an administrative partner, we aim to let our customers focus on their core operations rather than unnecessary paperwork. Solvang is a prime example of that.

The importance of entering enclosed spaces safely

Clipper Hebe is a solid piece of complex machinery with more than 25 enclosed spaces requiring careful inspection before entry. It is evident that Cpt. Vågane has first-hand experience from operations himself and respect for the crew, as he emphasizes the cruciality of their welfare and safety. He and his colleagues at Solvang leave nothing to chance when accessing enclosed spaces such as cofferdams, cargo holds, or tanks.

Accessible, easy-to-use gas detectors supplied by Bruusgaard are essential for safety during these operations. But there needs to be more than quality instruments to ensure success. The support program provided by Bruusgaard also demonstrates its value in day-to-day operations, Cpt. Vågane adds.

– Bruusgaard has been of a lot of help because they are experts in their field. They supply us with digital training, which is helpful for the crew. Everybody on board gets training on calibrating and using the instruments daily. This enables the crew to get well familiarized with the equipment and saves us a lot of time preparing an enclosed entry, Cpt. Vågane explains.

As Cpt. Vågane praises the safety training and protocols provided by Bruusgaard, Clipper Hebe’s Chief Officer appears and asks us if we are ready for a demonstration of a routine gas inspection of an enclosed space.

Simplicity keeps operations running smoothly

We walk with the Chief Officer to the operations room, and he proudly points at the area designated for gas detection equipment. The detectors, calibration gases, and manuals are lined up with perfection as he begins explaining the process of preparing for an enclosed entry.

After a few minutes of preparations, he is ready to put the equipment to use. He carefully calibrates the gas detector with the correct gas, noting the values on his record sheet. When he has fixed the detector to his breast pocket, he takes us across the deck to a humid and narrow hallway, where he meets up with another crew member.

The professionalism is visible from afar as the two sailors go through the detection drill. They inspect the enclosed space from the outside and within according to the safety instructions. The demonstration lasts only a few minutes, and the room gets the stamp of approval.

According to the Chief Officer, the main advantage of their gas detection solution is that everyone knows what to do and always has what they need to do it.

“Bruusgaard keeps us updated”

Back at his old officer’s quarters, Cpt. Vågane is sipping coffee, awaiting our return from the live demonstration. He seems thankful for the reception Clipper Hebe’s crew has given their one-time captain and confidently observes the smooth discharge of liquid gas.

According to the seasoned sailor, confidence is also one of the perks of having a partner like Bruusgaard. Solvang’s advantage of having experts available in the detection field is essential to them staying on top of safety and compliance, according to Cpt. Vågane. He emphasizes the proactiveness his detection partner expresses to him and his colleagues.

– Bruusgaard has been of a lot of help because they are experts in their field. They are easily accessible and keep us updated on new solutions via newsletters, phone calls, or visits to the office, he explains.

If Cpt. Vågane has questions about regulations, equipment, or anything related to onboard detection; he never hesitates to contact Bruusgard. He is eager to highlight the excellent dialogue he keeps with Bruusgaard regularly:

– Bruusgaard has always given us good support.

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