Sunday, 30 April 2017

Suez

After having departed Dubai in good order for European summer we had finally arrived Suez, the ditch of decay and depravity in form of bureaucrats descending on you like the proverbial plague in search of bribes and presents. I have had a few unpleasant transits where the rot was so bad I have no words for it.

Some of the old wrecks trafficking these waters

This time I was using as Agents Meesa Egypt and having used them once before I trusted them to come through well again. True enough shortly after letting go at the outer anchorage the officials started coming and it was cigarettes galore left and right, the worst were the health officials that demanded 8 cartons of cigarettes and to sign a paper that no presents or bribes had been given (sic!) on their visit.

Anchoring at outer anchorage

After the first round we we shifted to the inner anchorage & our Agents were allowed to board as per the rules and we started stamping all papers for the various instances. I have always wondered where these papers end up and who ever reads them? I remember in India it was the same and the forms where copies of copies that were next to illegible, it only mattered that the file had the right header and that at the end there was a ships stamp and Captains signature on it. Once this was cleared we disembarked our security detail and then were left in peace. Shortly thereafter we were hailed on the VHF and assigned a number on the next convoy. It was going to be a non-stop transit.

Bulker

Our transit started on time in the wee-hours and the electricians and linesmen came first and settled in. There was some deliberations of the area they were allowed to use but our Agent soon put an end to it. Of course the customary shop was setup on our aft deck and crew had a look at the trinkets that was on offer to horrendous starting prices. We offered them food and drink as the trip progressed.

Gas carrier

Pilot came last and soon enough we were on the way. The tenderboats were of course hollering for cigarettes & coke and our boys threw them some packets and cans in order not to aggravate them to damage our paint work.

Tanker

Well on the way we soon enough reached Great Bitter Lake and it didn't take long when we changed pilots midway and we were almost through. Some miles before entering the Mediterranean the Agents took his leave and few minutes after the pilots gave his last instructions out and made his way to the pilot ladder.

Happy guys going home

I must commend both pilots I had did not even ask for a present so I volunteered a carton of cigarettes for their admirable behavior. I think even one of them declined the carton altogether.

Maybe there is hope after all for the Canal personnel & authorities to be cleaning up their act?

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