By William Hryb

Who said you can’t be an elite world surfer and a seasoned ship master.  Well, this is exactly what Capt. Tamas Lorincz of MV Industrial Swift carries as his moniker. Born in landlocked Hungary in 1978, the gangly six foot seven inch giant is a man who not only takes chances with dangerous surfs, he commands a state of the art multi-purpose bulk carrier.

Arriving late in the evening, from Duluth, Minnesota on Friday July 26th, the Hungarian captain, along with his pilot by his side, maneuvered the bright blue hulled 12,328-tonne vessel safely into her lay-by berth, Keefer Terminal, located in the middle of the port. Even though the crew had to quickly prepare the vessel for grain loading, they welcomed the opportunity to be close by to the hustle and bustle of Thunder Bay.

Owned by Constantia Holding Limited, managed by Juengerhans Heavy-lift Fleet Services in Germany, and chartered by Bbc Chartering / Germany, the 147 meter vessel was built and launched from Chinese ship-builder Huanghai Shipbuilding Co. Ltd in 2017. The general cargo / heavy lift vessel is versatile with moveable bulkheads that can allow the ship to load grain cargoes, as well as break-bulk shipments.

Over the course of the last several years, multi-purpose vessels like Industrial Swift have increasingly frequented the St. Lawrence Seaway system to load ‘niche’ grain cargoes in the 8,000 to 12,000-tonne range. The port of Thunder Bay has seen a 30 per cent increase in this type of cargo that can be loaded in a matter of hours.

Although it took considerable effort to position and seal the moveable bulkheads for grain loading, Capt. Lorincz and crew performed their task and presented the first time grain loading vessel to CFIA inspectors and Transport Canada officials.  After initial inspections and some minor adjustments, certificates of fitness to load grain were granted. “I’m happy we passed all the regulations…this vessel has never loaded grain before, which made us a bit nervous” Capt. Lorincz said.

Even though Hungary doesn’t have any sea connection, Capt. Lorincz decided to follow in his step-father’s footsteps in a maritime career.  After completing his studies in Poland, nineteen year-old Lorincz first went to sea. “I started in April, 1996 and since then I’ve travelled the world” he said.  Being single has made it easier for him to search out new hobbies like surfing. The athletic master first took up the extreme sport four years ago and is forever searching for the next big wave.

Surfing was first observed by Europeans in Tahiti in 1767 and dates back to the ancient Polynesian cultures that existed long ago. According to myths, the leader of the tribe was the individual who could surf the best and with that came the prestige and worship of his followers. The ancient Hawaiian inhabitants observed surfing as a way of life and an integral part of their existence.

With millions of enthusiasts world-wide, the multi-billion dollar industry has caught the attention of men and women who not only want to let loose but is a serious sport for others. Capt. Lorincz sees his new avocation as part of his life-style now and is fascinated with the idea of riding the ‘big one’ and discovering the mysteries that lay below the most powerful waves on the planet. “The largest wave I’ve surfed was a ten meter high monster which I surfed for 500 meters… that was off the coast of Australia and was the thrill of my life” he said.

In the last few years, the sport of surfing has taken off like a rocket… California, Australia and Hawaii have blossomed into ‘surfer heavens’ with thousands of enthusiasts visiting these regions regularly. “One of the most thrilling and exhilarating experiences is riding a big wave and searching for the next one”, Capt. Lorincz explained.

MV Industrial Swift completed cargo operations on a sunny afternoon on July 30th and sailed with her 8,775 MT of Canadian Amber Durum wheat for Morocco.  After discharging his cargo, Capt. Lorincz plans to vacation in the Philippines and head down to Australia for some fun in the sun and most importantly, the thrill and rapture of catching the big wave.