To tell the truth, we didn’t enter the port of Durban (South Africa), but we stayed offshore, about 4 km from the entrance to the port. The reason for our stopover was the essential need to retrieve the work equipment of Heather and Tommy, our South African colleagues, equipment that had become stuck on the Durban wharf due to COVID-19.
The imposing Marion Dufresne and a small barge equipped with two sailors and loaded with the equipment met off shore. A balancing manoeuvre ensued, which consisted of the two ships advancing side by side (at about 6 km/h), the two crew members of the barge hung the bags and pallets on the crane hoist, the crane operator of the Marion hoisted them on board to put them on the platform. Just reading it, the manoeuvre already doesn’t seem so simple. But to spice things up, the waves were 2 to 3 metres high!
The little barge was pitching and rolling, the sailors were shaken and even falling, the crates were rocking (hard) at the end of the crane line, and of course Heather’s heart was pounding… finally everything on board was disinfected and the incubators were installed and are already up and running. The whole operation was completed in an hour, an intense manoeuvre that left a lasting impression!
Scientific equipment is transferred on-board RV Marion Dusfresne. @ Tommy Ryan-Keogh