Viking Amorella has arrived in the Port of Turku. Diver Joonas Kinnunen jumps from the quay into the water at the same time as the first passengers appear on the embarkation bridge above, heading to the shore. Joonas has with him a large hydraulic brush.
“I brush the seaweed and shells off the bottom of the vessel. Extra vegetation has a surprisingly big effect on the ship’s energy efficiency, and less fuel is consumed after the cleaning”, he explains.
Joonas and his partner Simon Randström are working near the bow of the ship this morning; Simon is on the quay looking after Joonas’ safety. At the stern another diver team from DG-Diving Group is doing the same work. They have less than an hour before Amorella departs again.
“With this group we can brush a big ship clean in 5–7 days. Next week we’ll be working on another ship of another shipping company.”
The hydraulic brush that Joonas uses weighs around ten kilos, but the water of course helps to carry the device. DG-Diving Group also has a motorised brushing machine, but using it requires good visibility which is usually not available at the mouth of the River Aura.
“In theory you could easily keep brushing for a couple of hours at a time. But a first-timer who does not know what he’s doing and stretches his muscles too much will develop serious muscle tension in just half an hour.”
“It’s in general a little harder to work near the surface compared to deeper where the wave motion does not affect so much.”
In addition to cleaning of ship bottoms, the divers of DG-Diving Group perform various inspection and maintenance work for shipping companies and the Port. Watertight equipment allows even underwater welding.
A diver’s work is both physically and mentally demanding:
“Well, on the physical side it’s enough that you’re fairly fit. But it does require a special kind of character to be prepared to go e.g. in the winter into cold water with a visibility of just a few centimetres.”
Simon describes his partner as a very calm person:
“Joonas doesn’t fuss or hassle. It’s best to take it easy in this line of work, because everything must go as planned and precisely”, says Simon who seems like a very calm person himself.
Joonas has completed the two-part qualification of a professional diver at Luksia, Western Uusimaa Municipal Training and Education Consortium in Lohja. He has been working as a diver for four years and prefers demanding maintenance work.
“It’s always great when you can use your expertise and help the customers.”
It turns out that Joonas counterbalances his demanding work by training dogs. He has two eager pupils at home: Belgian Shepherd Ipa and Labrador Retriever Taika.
“Taika in particular likes to swim very much, but it can’t dive”, Joonas chuckles.
Text: Matti Välimäki
Photos: Ilari Välimäki