The Aleksey Chirikov. The Vitus Bering. The VasiliyGolovnin. The Russian fishing giant Norebo has a fleet named after the great legends of Russia's illustrious seafaring history. By honouring those like the famed navigator Aleksey Chirikov, the company is not only paying homage to his achievements but is also guaranteeing a level of continuity with the past, while demonstrating its pride in the nation's nautical traditions.
Although technology has undoubtedly moved on from the days of marine propulsion, indeed Norebo'scurrent vessels are feats of engineering, the company's crews can still take encouragement from these towering historical figures, who inspire them to push the boundaries of what is possible in the industry. What's more, sailors and fishermen alike are a superstitious breed, and the name of a ship is believed to determine how she sails. The success of Norebo since its origins in 1997, and the achievements of its chosen legends, is evidence that this may just be true.
Consider Alexey Chirikov (1703-1748), a graduate of Russia's prestigious naval academy. He played a key role in the 'Great Northern Expedition' of 1741, the first Russian discovery of North America(depicted below), taking command of St. Paul, the partner vessel to the Danish cartographer Vitus Bering's St. Peter. Separated from the Dane on the outward journey, Chirikovlocated and landed on the Alaskan coast before promptly sending out a search mission to find the crew of St. Peter. When it did not return, he sent out a second party, but they too were lost in the mists of Cape Addington. After waiting as long as his supplies would allow, Chirikov returned to Russia.
Any sailor will tell you that the key to a successful crew is a sense of camaraderie and undying loyalty and Chirikov epitomised this. Such was his sense of duty to Bering that the following spring, he returned to the seas at the head of a rescue expedition. Alas, having scoured the Northern Pacific for months with no success, a series of brutal storms forced him to turn back. Chirikov wasn't to know that Bering had fallen ill on the journey home and had been shipwrecked on the Commander Islands, where he died amongst his crew. A few of the survivors from St. Peter eventually managed to make it back to Kamchatka, sailing a tiny, wave-battered vessel and informed Chirikov of their Captain's death.
In memory of the great Bering, for the rest of his life, Chirikov committed himself to draw an accurate map of the Pacific Ocean, ensuring the safety of Russian seamen for years to come. From its homeport in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, today'sAleksey Chirikov, a powerful vessel with a carrying capacity of over 1136 deadweight tonnes, follows the same Alaskan routes as its namesake and does so with the same sense of endeavour. In recognition of Chirikov's achievements, in 1991, the Soviet Union issued a series of commemorative stamps to celebrate the 250thanniversary of his landing on the Alaskan coast.
Also honouring Chirikov, Norebo have shown their intent to take inspiration from history and cherish the memories of days gone by. In a nice bit of symmetry, another of their ships, the VasiliyGolovnin is named after the legendary Vice-Admiral of the Russian Navy, who would have heard and been in awe of the tales of Chirikov's heroism. In 1807, already known as an exemplary sailor, Golovnin (1776-1831)set out on a 'round the world' expedition as the Captain of the Diana. Confined to port on the Cape of Good Hope by the British that year, Golovnin and his crew, displeased at such a lengthy delay, managed to escape the harbour and outpace the British Navy in hot pursuit.
Like Norebo's renown in the industry today, reports of Golovnin's daring spread across Europe and his stardom reached a new level in 1818 when he successfully circumnavigated the globe in just two years and ten days(depicted below). Upon retiring, he became the Russian Navy's 'Quartermaster of the Fleet', managing the nation's shipbuilding with great skill and nurturing the next generation of Russian seamen, just like Chirikov had done before him, and just like Norebostill does today.
If a ship's name really does determine how she sails, then Norebo's crews are truly in good hands. By delving into Russia's rich nautical history, the company is not merely offering a respectful nod to its past but learning from the successes of its ancestors to ensure its continued leadership of today's industry. Like Chirikov, Norebo has the bravery to tirelessly pursue its goals. Like Golovnin, it has proven time and time again to have a truly global reach. If the past was bright, then its future is brighter still.