Posted by: Craig | May 6, 2008

Leaving Southampton to cross the Atlantic

Entry from Ellinor, 2nd officer, MV Fidelio (Wed 30th April 1800 UTC)

Yesterday after Craig left and before departure Southampton, we had a stowaway search. It is mandatory to search the entire ship for stowaways before departing when the next port of call is in Canada or the US. So the entire crew assembled to search every corner of the ship.

I was the team leader for the group of two men searching deck 1-7. When you think of it, it’s hard to understand how such search could prevent people from taking a free ride on such a big ship like this. Each deck is up to 6000 m2 and all together we have 13 decks, all full of cars and lorries to hide in. It means that my team had to search up to 42000 m2 cramped with cargo plus an additional number of void spaces, ventilation ducts, staircases and about a million other places where someone could hide. Considering, this should be done in a short time when the crew is busy with so many other things preparing for the sea voyage, it’s difficult to understand how effective we could be. But yes, I know it has to be done anyway, the fines for the company will be enormous if we find a stowaway while out at sea and have to take him ashore in either Canada or the US.

 

Well anyway, we finally left Southampton yesterday at 1830 after some delay caused by slow cargo operation. At 2030 we dropped the pilot at Nab Tower and now we are heading out in the North Atlantic. We are sailing at a westerly course on a Great Circle (following the curve of the earth) that will take us down to 40N 050W before we alter to NW up to Halifax, Canada. The shortest way would actually have been to head more NW right away following the Great Circle to Cape Race on the southern tip of Newfoundland. We did, however, decide to take this southern route yesterday when we received information about the status of the icebergs in the area. Apparently there are an unusual number of  icebergs that have drifted south for this time of year, it’s a little early yet.

One might think that the greatest chance of hitting an iceberg will be in the winter time but that is actually wrong, the most dangerous time is in the summer. That is when water temperature raises and heat up the glaciers, this will cause big pieces of ice to break loose and float out at sea where they will follow the current until the water and air gets too warm and it will melt away. But it’s a little early for that yet as I said. What we see is maybe another effect of the global heating?

 

We had a bit of a rough start of the sea voyage with force 6 this morning but the wind has slacked now even though there is still some pitching of the ship. But we expect this to calm down too soon and the rest of the voyage should be calm with nice weather. But we will see………… Outside there are still some sea birds and fishing boats but within a day or so they should all be gone and we will be alone. I must admit that it feels great to be back at sea!

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