Our good Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics of busi­ness cred­i­bil­ity and hard work will be spread fur­ther along the mar­itime Silk Road to the rest of world.”

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - China -

Con­tainer ship cap­tain Gu Longhua, 58, has been helm­ing ever big­ger ships along the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road in re­cent years as cargo ship­ments boom on the route, part of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Gu, a mer­chant sea­man for 38 years, is now in charge of the MV Cosco Nether­lands, a 366me­ter-long con­tainer ship that can carry 13,000 twenty-foot equiv­a­lent units, the mea­sure for stan­dard con­tain­ers.

He has been a cap­tain for 20 years and started guid­ing ships from China to Europe reg­u­larly five years ago.

“In 2013, the ships I helmed from China to Europe could trans­port 5,200 TEUs,” Gu said. “But dur­ing the next two years, I cap­tained two 10,000-TEU ships to the Mediter­ranean Sea, and they were nearly fully loaded on ev­ery voy­age.

“Our com­pany has ar­ranged for five gi­ant 21,000-TEU ships, the world’s largest, to run to Europe ev­ery week.”

He said cargo ship­ments have been grow­ing be­cause the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road, which con­nects Asia and Europe, has pro­moted in­ter­na­tional trade, fi­nanc­ing and cul­tural ex­changes.

Gu, who grew up in Shang­hai, said he would never for­get the mo­ment he saw his first big ship, at age 12.

“I vis­ited my rel­a­tive’s home near the Huangpu River,” he said. “That’s when a con­tainer ship with a dis­place­ment of over 10,000 met­ric tons ap­peared. It was so big. I just never imag­ined there could be

CoscoNether­lands such a tremen­dous ship in the world.”

Gu said he was in­ter­ested in the sea, and when he was young he thought be­ing a sea­man would give him the chance to see the world. To make that hap­pen, he en­rolled in a sea­men’s col­lege in Nan­jing, cap­i­tal of Jiangsu prov­ince, and grad­u­ated in 1978.

He started off as an able sea­man and was pro­moted to cap­tain in 1998. “In the past 38 years, I’ve paid the most at­ten­tion on one thing — trans­port­ing cargo safely,” he said.

Gu said his 20 years as a cap­tain have been largely ac­ci­dent­free, but they had put him in some sit­u­a­tions he would never for­get.

In 2005, he en­coun­tered an ex­treme storm while sail­ing an empty ship across the Pa­cific to Canada. Gu said he was rel­a­tively in­ex­pe­ri­enced at the time, and more re­liant on the in­stru­men­ta­tion on the ship’s bridge and ad­vice from oth­ers.

Gu Longhua,

PHO­TOS BY JIANG CHENGLONG / CHINA DAILY

Cap­tain Gu Longhua (right) works with a Sin­ga­porean pi­lot (cen­ter) while steer­ing his con­tainer ship into the port of Sin­ga­pore.

The MV CoscoNether­lands an­chors in the port of Ningbo, Zhe­jiang prov­ince.

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