CMA CGM Marco Polo: Master and Chief Engineer On What It’s Like to Command the World’s Largest Containership

Mike Schuler
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November 16, 2012

CMA CGM Marco Polo in Hong Kong

At 396 meters and the capacity to hold an astonishing 16,020 TEUs, the CMA CGM Marco Polo is now officially the world’s largest containership. The vessel was delivered to the CMA CGM fleet earlier this month and, on November 13, made her maiden call at Hongkong International Terminals.

Captain Velibor Krpan is Master of the Marco Polo. As a budding young cadet working with Croatia Lines, little did he know what his career had in store for him:

“I started at the age of 22 as a cadet on Croatia Lines’ vessels, a company based in Rijeka. In 1999, I worked for a German owner and then joined the CMA CGM Group in 2002 on the 350 teu CMA CGM ORAN. At the time I never dreamt that one day I would become Captain of the world’s largest containership!”

Captain Krpan discusses what it is like to command the world’s largest containership:

“There’s really not much difference with the previous vessel I commanded, the CMA CGM CORTE REAL (13,800 TEUs), despite the extra 31 metres in length. Longer and wider than any other vessel in the fleet, it does however require much closer attention during berthing and unberthing procedures. Regards navigation, fundamentally it is no different but you have to adapt quickly to the new technologies on board.”

Ante Pezelj, 43, is Chief Engineer on the Marco Polo and in charge of making sure the nearly 110,000hp engine is running smoothly:

“It is a great honour to be working on the biggest and most powerful engine ever built. The mechanics on the Group’s vessels is of a very high level! Electronically controlled to optimise fuel consumption and load power, it is specially designed for slow-steaming. The reduction in fuel consumption is significant (-3% on average). The engine is also fitted with a system to optimise the combustion and engine settings at low load. To master all these technologies, I had to do some specific training courses before embarking: a course on Wartsila electronic engines, a high voltage course, as the electrical switchboard is 6,600V, and another on Resources Management (managing technical and human resources).”

For up-to-date news and information about the CMA CGM Marco Polo, check out the ship’s official blog!


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