Around 40 people attended the reception, including Chief Operations Officer Morten H. Engelstoft and Head of Ship Management Palle Laursen, as well as numerous friends and colleagues from a long and varied career in the company.
On land and sea
Hans Christian joined A.P. Moller – Maersk in 1962 as an apprentice, 16 years old. He has held many different positions, at sea as well as on land. He had several stints at the Centre office, including 12 years in the reefer team from 1988-2000.
But it is at sea that Hans Christian is really at home; this is where he began his career, and where he will end it at the end of 2012. In 1993 he was appointed captain for the first time, on the Arthur Maersk, and since then he has been at the helm of three other vessels: the Nikoline Maersk, Cecilie Maersk and Nexø Maersk.
He admits to having a special relationship to the Nexø Maersk, a Nele Maersk class vessel with a TEU (Twenty Equivalent Unit) capacity of 2,320. Hans Christian took delivery of her straight from the shipyard in 2001, and has been her captain ever since. It has been deployed mainly between Oceania and the US East Coast, but recently also in the Middle East and East Africa.
A ship is a ship
Maersk Line has changed significantly since 1962. Søren Skou reflected that back then, the company’s founder, A.P. Moller, was still the chairman, and the total fleet amounted to 84 vessels.
And Hans Christian says that compared to 1962, captains have more tasks, and more fixed procedures. On the other hand, he implores, a “ship is a ship.”
“We still need to sail from A to B and do it safely,” he says. And although the vessel size has increased substantially, so have channels and ports. “It doesn’t make that big a difference. A ship is a ship, and they manoeuver just as well.”
Hans Christian was accompanied at the ceremony by his wife, and he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and grandchildren upon retirement at the end of the year.
He will be in audience with the Queen on a later date to acknowledge the reward. Hans Christian is only the second captain in Maersk Line to receive this award; the first was Klaus Albrechtsen in 2009.