Captain plays role in Silk Road success story
Ships carrying containers on key BRI route are getting bigger
“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.”
OnlineSee more by scanning the code