Cap­tain plays role in Silk Road suc­cess story

Ships car­ry­ing con­tain­ers on key BRI route are get­ting big­ger

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China - By JIANG CHENGLONG jiangchen­g­long@ chi­

“How­ever, the storm was way be­yond any­one’s imag­i­na­tion,” he said. “The sea was quite calm at first but vi­o­lent winds and roar­ing waves sud­denly ap­peared. I could see noth­ing through the win­dow.”

The ship swayed dra­mat­i­cally, from the bow to the stern, and its screw pro­pel­ler jut­ted above the sea’s sur­face. Gu was wor­ried such se­vere shak­ing would cause se­ri­ous dam­age to the ship’s en­gine and de­cided to change course down­wind.

But chang­ing course was also dan­ger­ous be­cause the ship would be side on to the wind while turn­ing. “I did noth­ing then but held the handrail tightly and saw the bow dash into the wa­ter, talk­ing to my­self — ‘It’s all fin­ished’,” Gu re­called.

The ves­sel suc­cess­fully com­pleted the ma­neu­ver, but Gu said it had flirted with dis­as­ter.

Sea­men usu­ally spend seven to nine months at sea and then re­turn to China for a va­ca­tion that can last three to five months. That means the time they can spend with their fam­i­lies is lim­ited.

Gu said he felt guilty for ne­glect­ing his par­ents and wife. “Years ago, my fa­ther was di­ag­nosed with can­cer and need a great deal of care. But in the fol­low­ing months I re­turned to work on the ship,” he said. “I had no choice be­cause that’s my job, after all, and I need to make money.

“But I was won­der­ing if my dad would go dur­ing my time at sea. Although he passed away a year later, when I was at home, I still felt ashamed.

“My wife has some­times com­plained that I don’t stay home for long, but she un­der­stands me. Be­ing a sea­man’s wife re­quires a strong will and in­de­pen­dence to take good care of the home.”

How­ever, Gu said he had never re­gret­ted be­ing a sea­man, as the job has given him a strong sense of achieve­ment.

“Ev­ery time I safely de­liver all the cargo on the ship means I don’t fall short of oth­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said.

Gu said Chi­nese sea­men are warmly wel­comed in other coun­tries be­cause of the rapid devel­op­ment of China and the mar­itime Silk Road.

“Our good Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics of busi­ness cred­i­bil­ity and hard work will be spread fur­ther along the mar­itime Silk Road to the rest of world,” he said. “And I truly be­lieve China and all other coun­tries can co­op­er­ate and share a vic­tory along the mar­itime Silk Road.”

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