Hello, good to be writing for you once again. Today, I will tell you about my first time going aboard a container ship. Many may not know this, but about 80 to 90% of finished goods and raw materials are brought in the Seychelles by sea. So I thought it would be a great idea to try my best to describe how it is on one of those ships.
So on Friday morning, walking past the security point at the New Port of Victoria, the first thing that caught my eye was three big cranes lifting huge containers from a massive ship docked in port. The first thing that came to mind was “I want to get on board this thing”. Once in the office Nathanielle and I were already talking about that ship with Captain Valmont. We even went outside all excited and started to take pictures of it. We were in awe by being so close to that ship. I felt so lucky to be just a few feet away from it as only a handful of people get the chance to be up close to it. Little did we know, we’d get a tour of the vessel in the afternoon. On our way back to the office we couldn’t believe that such a heavy thing has the ability to float. This is possible through the ballast system, which we learned of on our first day at the SMSA.
Back in the office, we started hinting to “chu chu” (Brigitte) that we’d like to go on that massive ship. So she started to make the necessary arrangements by talking to one of her friends from the Seychelles Port’s Authority (SPA).
After lunch, the formalities were sorted out so we could go on the 8 year old Jakarta Tower (an odd name for the ship). Richard was appointed as our chaperone for our visit on the vessel. He came to get us well prepared with three shiny yellow vests and hard hats (for safety) and we were ready to go. We met Vincent from SPA with two more of our fellow interns by the ship and we started to make our journey up a wobbly ladder. Once aboard we were greeted by the Second Officer in command (a Romanian), of whom is also the medical officer on board.
The tour began in the bridge of the vessel (like the cockpit of a plane but much bigger) after climbing what seemed to be two dozen flights of stairs we were all out of breadth. Regardless it was amazing; we learned that the vessel comes to port every 20 days. From up there we could see the workers stacking up containers and bolting them safely. Sadly we did not get the chance to meet the captain. We got to discover new mariner’s terms such as starboard, port, galley is the kitchen, mess the dining area and cabins the sleeping quarters. The ship is more or less fully equipped with everything from a common room, a small hospital, life jackets, fire extinguishers, a free fall boat that can accommodate up to 38 individuals and many more. The officer demonstrated and explained how most of the equipments works, especially the GPS system and how they can call for help if ever they are in distress. By then two hours had gone by so fast and it was time to go home.