On the pirates’ route. A true story

A sailor sent us some snapshots of life on the ships that sail around the Horn of Africa. A kind of “self-reportage” that we have received and are publishing.

THE FIRST time that I saw the manoeuvre I thought it was a joke, or an emergency on board the ship that I hadn’t been informed about, or I just didn’t know about. But now I know that the pilot from the port of Durban - and it happens in many Australian and American ports, too - comes on board in this way, strung up like a salami. The sea in this area is so turbulent that instead of using boats, pilots prefer to board ships from the sky. During the days when we were stopped there, I saw the helicopter take off dozens of times, even in freezing wind. Anyway, when we ourselves entered the port, the sky was grey and the air was heavy. The bay with the dark city behind it, this man coming down from a ladder hanging from the sky that needed a sort of lobster trap to attach it to the deck of the ship. Here in Durban, the best helicopter pilots are three black women.

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