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Kamilla Steenvinkel. Photo: Hanna Thevik

Kamilla makes sure nothing goes to waste

2 months ago
Written by Dina Storvik
Sustainability > Kamilla makes sure nothing goes to waste

Kamilla makes sure nothing goes to waste

2 months agoSustainability
Written by Dina Storvik
Kamilla Steenvinkel. Photo: Hanna Thevik

Kamilla Steenvinkel is coxswain and sustainability officer on board Statsraad Lehmkuhl. - I realize that sustainability is about much more than the climate and environment.

- Hey hey, come right in, says the Danish, gentle voice of Kamilla Tine Steenvinkel.

The 33-year-old is a coxswain on Statsraad Lehmkuhl, and spends much of her time in the chart room, a low deck house on the half-deck aft of the ship. Here she has a good view of the sea.

Planning the route

A prominent large screen displays an electronic map telling her where the ship is and what course it is steering, and small symbols show her what other ships are nearby. Under a glass plate are paper maps for the entire leg, the ship can lose power or contact with the satellites that give the position.

Kamilla Steenvinkel in the chart room. Photo: Hanna Thevik
Kamilla Steenvinkel in the chart room. Photo: Hanna Thevik

As coxswain, Steenvinkel is responsible for planning the route to the next port, and making changes along the way. She has worked on board Statsraad Lehmkuhl for one year.

- Lehmkuhl is extra nice, because there are new crew coming on board all the time, she says.

There is a knock on the door to the chart room.

- I report no fire on the ship.

She lifts her blond curly head and meets the gaze of the cheerful fireguard in the doorway.

- Good, she says with her thumb in the air.

More people keep dropping by to update her on how everything is going around the ship. Maintenance using welding and grinding, adjustment of sails, climbs up in the the rig. As the helmsman, you have to be in control of everything that happens at all times.

People come by all the time. Photo: Hanna Thevik
People come by all the time. Photo: Hanna Thevik

Sustainability Officer

In addition to the tasks that helmsmen usually have, Steenvinkel is sustainability officer on board.

She makes sure that the crew don't waste resources. That nothing that can be repaired is thrown away, that no usable food scraps go to waste, that the rubbish is sorted correctly, and that everything on the ship is maintained so that it lasts longer. And some clever tricks, like how a broken fender can be used as a rat stopper, and how to make tool bags from old canvas.

Making tool bags from old sails. Photo: Dina Storvik
Making tool bags from old sails. Photo: Dina Storvik

- I have realized that sustainability is about much more than just the climate and the environment, she says and points to the screen where she is sitting and entering data.

Steenvinkel is responsible for reporting to the climate account, which is kept by the One Ocean Expedition partner PwC. Much of the information that goes into the account is recorded automatically, but it is Steenvinkel who enters how much fresh water the ship uses, how much waste is produced, where the crew's flights go to and from, and perhaps a little surprisingly, how many accidents happen on board.

- Sustainability is also about passing on our knowledge and making sure that those who come after us learn from our mistakes, says Steenvinkel.

Half as much

On the website of the One Ocean Expedition, everyone can see the climate report, which is continuously updated. Two things in particular stand out.

- At Statsraad Lehmkuhl, each person generates less than half as much rubbish as an ordinary Norwegian does on land, says Steenvinkel, and points to the columns on the website.

In Norway, each person produces an average of 1.3 kilos of rubbish every single day. On board Statsraad Lehmkuhl only 0.62 kilograms on average for all the legs.

- We buy in large volumes rather than in many small packages. This obviously saves packaging, explains Steenvinkel.

Ship carpenter Joachim Juel Vædele has invented a compressor that reduces the volume of the plastic garbage. Photo: André Marton Pedersen
Ship carpenter Joachim Juel Vædele has invented a compressor that reduces the volume of the plastic garbage. Photo: André Marton Pedersen

Water consumption is only half of that on land, around 94 liters per person per day, compared to 175 liters at home in Norway.

Not so strange, perhaps, with only three female showers. But the ship has a limited amount of fresh water, and when 150 people are to share the drops, everyone must be aware of how much they use.

- It is not possible to take hour-long showers for everyone, she says.

Maybe it's not necessary either? Steenvinkel hopes the crew take some of the habits they have acquired on board with them back to everyday life.

- It doesn't take much to reduce the amount of waste and use less water also on land.

Translated into English by Ronald Toppe

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The One Ocean Expedition is a circumnavigation by the Norwegian tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. We aim to to share knowledge about the crucial role of the ocean for a sustainable development in a global perspective.

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