in First Saltie of yearSalt Water Ships
Visiting the Kom
The Kom arrived on April 13, 2015, the first salt water ship of the season. It was her 5th trip to the Twin Ports; she first visited us on May 26, 1998, just a year after she was built in Varna, Bulgaria. She is owned by Navigation Maritime Bulgare in Varna. Captain Mariyan Yotov lives in Varna and all of the crew live in Bulgaria, some in Varna also. (Click on any image to see a larger version) My associate, Holly Jorgenson, joined me. She took this picture as we started our visit going carefully up the gangway. After that, it was only 5 more levels until we reached the pilot house. While we were up in the pilot house, the stevedores at CHS 1 were on the deck loading wheat into the cargo holds.There are two important people on any ship; the captain and the cook. Here Holly chats with the cook; it almost looks like she is praying for food.
Holly found Captain Yotov’s Facebook page so you too can share some of his travels around the world. Everybody, and everything has a face book page. I was looking around the web for Kom Peak and found their Facebook page. They just sent me an email titled, Kom Peak confirmed your Facebook friend request. Now I am friends with a mountain!Several years ago, I created a web page for the Kom, and I included a Google Earth map to make sure we all knew where Bulgaria was. Captain Yotov likes maps too so he took us down a floor to give us a short tour around his world. First, he showed us home: Varna, his port city on the Black Sea.
Then to Spain, and the port of LaCoruña, at the northwest tip of Spain, where they began their trip to Duluth.
When they depart the Twin Ports, they will be taking their cargo of wheat to a port in Italy where it will be used to make pasta. Then all officers and crew will be taking the short flight home to Varna; to be replaced by another all Bulgarian crew. I emphasize this since we don’t see this much anymore; Greek owned, operated and crewed ships (with a great Greek cook I might add) were here often and Polish ships the same. For a while the Dutch ships with all Dutch crews were here from the Netherlands. In fact, the captains on some of the Dutch ships have also been part owners of the ship they were on. That was nice; it was almost like visiting the country. Today, costs are cut and many companies have left the shipping business; crews are now often found from other countries with lower pay scales. So we welcome the Kom, a small part of Bulgaria, to Duluth Superior, still holding their country’s maritime heritage and helping us with ours.
The Captain is often asked, as he was here, where the name Kom came from. It is named for Kom Peak in the Balkan Mountains in western Bulgaria, not far from the Serbian border. Above we see the view from the top of Kom Peak. The peak is 6,614 feet high and is a popular site for hikers. The country has many interesting neighbors; Romania to the north; Serbia and Macedonia to the west; Greece to the south and Turkey to the southeast. And of course, a long coastal connection to the beautiful Black Sea. Above, the view from the top of Kom’s Peak. Below, the city of Varna.
On the way to sunny, almost warm Duluth, the Kom was caught up in the big ice jam at Whitefish Point in the eastern part of Lake Superior, just this side of the Soo Locks. Captain Yotov took us out to show us the bow of his ship which made countless surges into the ice; the white lines are the marks the ice left on her bow to show us they were there.
Below, the Kom comes in for more grain on November 27, 2014.