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At breakfast, Pierre and I chat with the engineer. The crew worked all night. They replaced the oil and checked the pipes. The water caused minor damage to the machine. It still has to be repaired. In two or three hours, we will be departing.
I ask him what if this had happened somewhere on the Atlantic Ocean. He answers that the ship would be allowed to drift and be repaired. The crew can do it without the infrastructure of a port, but it’s easier to do it in a harbour.
It’s a Chinese ship. Although the Chinese have mastered high-quality engineering and can fly to the far side of the moon, childhood memories of toys “Made in Hong Kong” come to mind – the toys were broken after a few minutes. In the short time onboard I heard the sentence “It’s made in China” a few times, whenever something was out of order. For example, yesterday. The upholstery of my chair fell out. Robert said: “It’s made in China” and wanted to replace my chair with another one. When he lifted the other chair, he had only the back in his hands. We laughed and shouted, “It’s made in China”.
I do not know whether our engine problem has anything to do with the fact that this is a Chinese ship. Perhaps “It’s made in China” is used as an excuse in this regard. However, I wouldn’t be surprised.
At breakfast, Pierre tells me about his time in South Africa. In 1972 he went with 250 dollars to Johannesburg and first worked in the gold mines in elevator logistics. He had been in the country until 1976.
Pierre is a winemaker by profession. He had a vineyard near Geneva in Switzerland, which he sold last October except for 12 hectares. Now he is retired.
At lunch, the captain and engineer say that we will leave at 15:00. However, 15:00 comes and goes. Except for a few starts and stops of the engine, nothing happens. Later the engineer tells us that a lot happened last night. The crew drained all contaminated oil. Then men had to crawl into the machine – really into it – to clean everything there. They had also found the spot where water had contaminated the oil. A part had failed, so it was defective material. “It’s made in China!”
At dinner, Pierre and I ask the Chief Officer if we’re leaving tomorrow. No, not tomorrow. Today? “Monday”. Monday? The day after tomorrow? I want to make a joke that they probably want to exchange the whole engine, but his worried expression gives me the impression that this is ted precisely what could happen. No, not the entire machine – it’s too big. However, probably the engineers have to replace substantial parts of it.
Well, I am calm. I’m in a warm and dry place and can muddle around on my computer or read. Even Pierre, who won’t make it to Durban in time, is relaxed. During his three voyages with ships, he had experienced this many times before. It is quite common for such delays to occur. Moreover, if you want to travel to Africa and in Africa, delays are inevitable.
Would you like to see an overview of all articles about my journey on the cargo ship Bright Sky? Click here for a table of contents.