07 June 2012

Men at work

During my life at sea, it was always with sheer pleasure and relief that I ended the vessel's commercial operations and, casting off, proceeded to the high sea and to the next port of call. Most of the times, while alongside, we don't have time for anything. The cargo operations are always very demanding, and require the crew's utmost attention. And if we are not in commercial operations, there's always a mobile phone ringing, an agent arriving, a report to be made, a maritime authority officer to deal with.
So, most of the times, in the Merchant Marine, the only chance we have to relax and fully dedicate ourselves to our vessel is when we are traveling between ports.
During those few days (or, sometimes, weeks), we cut the umbilical cord with land and, in total autonomy, immerse ourselves on the daily routines of the ship's operation and maintenance. Those days are the best to fully appreciate our careers at sea and the longer the voyage the better.
During those days spent in oceanic traverses, and as long as the weather permits, we dedicate ourselves to painting jobs, to grease the mechanical and hydraulic systems, to update various reports and to conduct safety and security drills, to name just a few tasks that are important for the ship's operationality.
However not all the maintenance operations, as you might easily imagine, can be performed at sea. Some tasks, by their innate nature, have to be done in port, while the vessel is stopped and alongside.
Such is the case with anchor works. Altought not very often, anchors do require some level of maintenance, since they are one of the most requested and beaten mechanical systems on board. In cruise vessels, where the looks are (almost) everything, paint and paint brushes are main tools of the daily routine.
The fact that the anchors are naturally made to withstand torture treatments doesn't refrain this cruise ship's crew members to keep theirs in spotless white.
Taking advantage of a short call in Funchal, and while the passengers are ashore, these crew members perform the routine maintenance of their vessel and prepare her for the upcoming voyage.
Picture taken with Panasonic Lumix DMC FT-3.