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Bee Rescue at Sea - Stopped operation

Hi all,

I have actually a funny story to tell so unusual that I think this brings some smile on some faces.

During a sea cable Installation 2-3 Km off the coast near Eemshaven Netherland I had to stop the machinery for 16 hrs (lucky I was the Installation Manager) as we had some visitors.

A Queen and her army made it herself comfortable directly between the cable highway and cable.
The client freaked out because of the time and money loss (only the barge costs already 90000 EUR per day) and returned out of the galley with a Insect spray can.
As responsible person on board I called an “all stop” and warned him, that bees are by law under protection and he cannot kill them without taking the consequences of my report if he does so.
A hefty argument started and I gave order to my crew to block him entering the cable carousel for safety reasons and took the Health and Safety manager to my side who confirmed the all stop as nobody could say who of the crew might be allergic of bee stings.
(I know they are not organized when swarming as my grandpa was beekeeper and we caught a lot in our time as he was still alive without any of us both got stung).
So these little fellows gave my crew a welcome break from the rough offshore job.
As i told the HSE manager I have experiences years back and will wait till night to remove them he agreed to keep the loss for the client at a minimum.
That gave us enough time to tape some Styrodur plates together and build a emergency beehive.
I the night I solved the “problem”, brushed the lads into the hive.
Because we laid the cable from the coast away further at sea I stored the hive on deck the hole facing east and the kitchen chef had to make sugar water which was taken thankfully from my new crew of 1000’s… The bees stayed 90 days and back in port our steward took them home and is now a proud beekeeper.
Lost time Incident 68.000 EUR for the client and a shoulder petting from the barge owner for the extra income.
My reaction was the right move but the client wasn’t pleased at all. I have never worked for him again but the barge owner hired me multiple times again.

Through the cable tank you can see the coast as the “flying sailors” assembled at the cable, we were already a good distance at sea.

and they became quite a bunch.

The most common consumable to fix things on a ship is Duct Tape, with that stuff and Styrodur Plates we built the hive but never expected that the bees will stay the whole project…

I hope you can laugh about this story as I still can, I know one person who can’t and I guess he developed an antipathy against bees :joy::rofl:


Well done Wilred, that’s a great story.

EUR 68,000 for a hive… a record? :clap::clap::clap:

The ship’s chandlers are always adding a little fee when you order stuff over them and that were best quality wall insulation plates 50mm. :joy: