For days now, we have been tacking up and down the English Channel, floating around with just steerage way in the Dover Straits, and discussing our options of reaching the North sea. True this last leg of our Atlantic round trip the winds have not been in our favor. But really, if that would be our biggest problem, I would accept it with open arms, and be a happy man! What really does bother me here, in reaching Europe, is the obvious work of what is called “civilization”. We encounter more and more floating plastic, lately especially balloons, perhaps blown away from a fair in one of the channel ports. The shipping lanes look more like a highway, with ship after ship steaming along, one even bigger than the previous. On days without wind, a thick layer of yellow smog surrounds our engineless vessel.
I believe since 2015 a rule was passed that these motor ships need to switch from HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil) to MDO (Marine Diesel Oil), whenever they are approaching the shores, or entering the North sea or the Baltic. This HFO consists of a heavy tarry substance, mixed with chemical waste from any industry who likes to get rid of it. To pump it towards the monstrous engines of these ships, it first needs to be heated to make it fluid. The MDO is like the Diesel we use in our cars, but then with 500 times as much polluting particles. Every time we pass one of these motor ships, a sickening smell of burning oil emissions covers our humble vessel. The crews of these motor ships, might not even smell it anymore or are looking for shelter in their air conditioned wheelhouse’s, accommodation towers and floating factories. Annually 60.000 of their colleagues, dockworker’s and other people living close to the shipping routes die of cancer and lung illnesses caused by the emissions of this shipping industry. Amongst these seaman, who passed away of cancer, at least three where good acquaintances of me…
Yet, what do we do? We look the other way, and accept this hellish game. So, we can buy balloons and plastic crap for our kids, the latest smart phone, cheap T-shirts, solar panels, paint, orange juice, and what more for stuff we do not really need. We accept, so the tar of our roads can be brought over sea. We whine about the price of a product brought by sail. We call and talk with the sailors on these ships, to ask them for our right of way. We are happy and thankful when they change course again. We are afraid to cross the TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) in the wrong way, to slow down the wheel of commerce and might be fined, by some national coast guard department or agency. To hell with all those motor ships, to hell with the machine which plunders our wonderful planet, and makes them sail!
Capt. Jorne Langelaan
DATE CHANGE: Despite the hard work of our captain and crew the wind decided different. Tres Hombres won’t be in time in Amsterdam for unloading on Saturday the 2nd. We are happy to welcome you on the 9th of June 1PM