Swedish surgeon crossed the Atlantic with the Stena Impeccable
Roger Olofsson Bagge, father of three and surgeon at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, had his life-long dream fulfilled when his wife surprised him with a trip on Stena Bulk's tanker ship, the Stena Impeccable.
Roger was born and raised in northern Sweden without any real connection to the sea. It was only when he was 19 years old moved to Gothenburg to begin his university studies that he came into contact with sailing through a friend who had a small sailboat. Since then, the fascination for the sea has only increased.
“20 years have passed, I have a wonderful wife and three children and my daily work is to meet cancer patients, perform surgeries, and be responsible for the department. In the past I used to, inspired by Tintin and Captain Haddock, dream of adventures around the world, but unfortunately I have spent my time at work and very little on adventure. I guess I’ve just gotten a little boring. When I turned 40, my wife had a fantastic idea. She contacted a number of shipping companies with the following question: ‘Would it be possible for my husband to get to cross the Atlantic? He needs something new, he needs a break from the Internet, and all the mail, but most of all, he needs an adventure. ‘Stena Bulk was the only company that responded, and my wife and Vice President Johan Jäwert began arranging the trip without my knowledge. Guess how surprised I was when she told me my 40th birthday present was a trip across the Atlantic on an oil tanker!”
Saturday, October 27 at 2:00 am, Roger boarded the service boat in Gothenburg, and 30 minutes later arrived at the Stena Impeccable.
“As I climbed up the ladder, I felt like Tintin and Indiana Jones at the same time! The second officer welcomed me and by 06:00 we had fueled up and set our course for Puerto Rico. We crossed the North Sea, crossed the English Channel, snuck past Biscay and began to slowly cross the Atlantic. Being on such a huge ship with such big machines in the midst of the proper ocean nearly took my breath away. I tried to learn as much as possible about everything on board, but I also tried to keep out of the way so I wouldn’t be a bother. Pretty soon, I picked up the routines, woke up at 7am, exercised in the gym (which I don’t even do at home), showered and went up to the deck, where with the help of many cups of coffee, tried to learn the very basics of navigation and how everything works onboard. I took every chance I got to participate in the duties of the crew with everything from lubricating the winches on deck, studying Learning Engagement Tool Programme to reading books about mooring.”
HOW IS LIFE ONBOARD AN OIL TANKER?
“The rhythm onboard is different from the rhythm onland. One can best
describe it as slower but longer. Captain Seutkins described the difference between waves and swells, and when I think back it is probably precisely the difference between these that is a metaphor for life onboard. Onland, life is more like waves. Shorter,
faster and more aggressive. Onboard the Stena Impeccable is more like a swell. Slower, longer and soothing. Added to this rhythm was daily routines of work, rest and exercises. I was impressed by the people who worked on board. How mentally strong they are to be able to work in such a limited space for nine months. The crew was incredibly positive and I’ll try to take some of that with me.”
WAS THERE SOMETHING ELSE ONBOARD MADE AN IMPRESSION?
“I was incredibly impressed with thoughtfulness around safety and the environment. Every possible scenario had been worked through, analysed and described. One example was when the crew smeared winches. Oil that ended up around the edges was gathered and taken care of so it would not end up in the sea. I didn’t think one would actually care about such small things out in the middle of the Atlantic, but it was obvious that safety and environment come first. Then I was of course incredibly impressed by the ship itself. An enormous and complicated machine that requires a professional crew that can handle every little detail.”
IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL YOU WANT TO CONVEY TO THE CREW OF THE STENA IMPECCABLE?
“I am incredibly touched by your dedication, your attention to detail and your perseverance. I follow you on the internet and see that your journey has continued to exotic places. To sail across the seven seas as you do, for the rest of us is just a dream. I got to experience something you only do once in your life and I will never forget it. I hope I get to meet some of you again!”
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