It is with sadness in a way that I am writing this editorial to you from the great city of Durban. Not because I am unhappy really but more because I am sad to leave the “home/owners cabin” I have had onboard MACS Maritime Carrier Shipping GmbH & Co (www.macship.com).
There is always a high and a low in life and I guess I am in the middle of it now. The friendship I enjoyed onboard with the Captain, Chief Officer, Chief Engineer and their colleagues was epic, and whilst it’s a working ship and everyone is professional in the execution of their duties, it was fantastic to be able to share some moments either during midnight hours or mornings talking about family, life and God forbid…politics…haha.
For sure our politicians are far away when you are in the middle of the ocean but certainly with a crew of mainly Polish (but also some from Ukraine and Georgia), it was inevitable to discuss the current war a bit. What a horror in the middle of Europe in 2023. Hard to fathom that some dictator without repercussions so far can still be around to create mayhem and heartache! Tells a bit about the current state of affairs with greed, selfishness and delusions of grandeur. Reckoning awaits I hope and perhaps the West can finally get lawyers, banks,and “consultants” to open up about their role in facilitating the money flow, corruption and illicit investments that always follows the trail of dictators and their relatives. Who needs a EUR 200 million yacht? Couldn’t 50 million do it if even that? Londongrad has a role to play here….So Sunak get to work!
After calling at Walvis Bay, the next stop was Cape Town, and what an INCREDIBLE moment it was at 2am in the morning to be on deck and see the lights of Cape Town and the contours of Table Mountain.
I used night mode on my S23ultra so it was a bit “fake” of course, but an incredible sight after being on the sea to face Cape Town—one of THE global cities that the world talks about besides Sydney, Hong Kong and New York, etc. Last time I was there by ship was in 1968. More on that later in this editorial.
South Africa is a rich country; in short, they’ve got it all. What they don’t seem to have enough of are management-capable politicians, and with power cuts up to 4-5 hours a day, there is rampant crime and inequality in the distribution of wealth. Time will show where this beautiful country will end up.
I had lots of talks with port workers, restaurant workers, and taxi drivers. There is so much love for the country but also anguish about where it is heading. For me as a “tourist”, I of course visited the tourist traps..including the waterfront which looks more like a copy/paste waterfront that you nowadays find everywhere: McDonalds, Starbucks, H&M and what not comes to mind, boring to say the least… But yes overall it was an incredible experience to visit Cape Town onboard a cargo ship, and the food and wine alone makes you wish to return with all due speed as one of my ex wife’s lawyers said when I had to pay ?.
After Cape Town, we sailed to Maputo which is a major port city in Mozambique. It is a very huge port with dozens of bulkers waiting outside to get their load, but security and safety-wise I was frankly not impressed. If we talk about the inequality of distribution of assets in South Africa, you can multiply that 10 fold when it comes to Mozambique. Compounds of well-to-do neighbourhoods but otherwise unsafe and dangerous. Even the seafarers onboard didn’t really want to go ashore for a night out. Still dangers are everywhere and who am I to talk, living in Stockholm, Sweden with 300+ shootings last year. That is certainly NOT due to poverty. That is mainly due to political correctness of the ruling cafe latte classes….and an incredible inability to take any, repeat any, hard decisions…
Finally we came to Durban and originally planned to be at anchorage for a couple of days. It turned out that a bulker finished early so we could get in. 55 years ago I was in Durban with mv Thyra Torm
You can see yours truly at age 5 and again at 60 here:
In some ways arriving into Durban is more impressive than Cape Town as it is an incredible port to arrive into. It slings its way into the breakbulk terminals where I disembarked with my mum in 1968. I spoke to the pilot onboard and showed him the picture of Thyra Torm at anchorage and me sitting on the lap of the Norwegian bosun (tragically, he died not long after). We ascertained that it was for sure Durban nearby or just at the wharf where mv Bright Sky was alongside.
An incredible moment, an incredible trip, and a fitting gift to myself for my 60th—something I shall never forget and as the Hollywood stars always do when receiving an Oscar: Thank you to my mum/dad, my ….etc. etc. (The sponsor is always there somewhere, right? ??). So yes, filled with gratitude that I lived to experience this. And my thanks to the Captain onboard mv Bright Sky, the Chief Mate who often listened to my comments on this/that patiently, and the Chief Engineer who used to be on a submarine (we talked about Chipolbrok and I tried to recite as many Polish ships names as I could remember…Szymanowski, Norwid, Leopold Staff, Paderewski, B. Prus, Chopin) for all the great fun. Finally last but not least my appreciation to the wonderful crew onboard mv Bright Sky! May the fair winds be with you and may indeed the Bright Sky live up to its name for you also in your personal lives.
Now for links to the huge amount of pictures and videos I took. Do take a look at below:
Enjoy fully and see you again on April 20 when we return to our “regular programme…” no sponsor…haha!
Yours sincerely from Durban, South Africa,
Bo H. Drewsen