Ports in Africa

Discussion in 'Merchant Marine Academy - USMMA' started by kp2001, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. kp2001

    kp2001 USMMA Alumnus

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    A question was raised in another thread regarding ports in Africa.

    Yes, many midshipmen have traveled to Africa during their sea year. I personally went to the west coast; however, many also go to the east coast. I haven't heard of many people going to South Africa. Oh, almost forgot I went to Egypt as a 3rd Mate as well.

    Anyway, west coast is fairly poor and most are considered third world countries. I was on a break bulk ship (awesome experience by the way) which went to Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and two others I can't think of right now.

    All are pretty poor, but I had the chance to get off in all of the ports. Sierra Leone was probably the "scariest" given that there was really no electricity and driving to dinner one night consisted of driving past several manned machine gun positions.

    I believe those who travel to the east coast get the chance to go on Safaris on a fairly regular basis. Those who go to Egypt generally get to go to the pyramids. Overall it's a great opportunity and I highly recommend one trip there in a lifetime.
     
  2. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    What about the pirates off the east coast of Africa, in particular Somalia? and the problems that are coming back near the Malacca Straits?? Where can we get info on the actions that tend to be on the east coast of Africa?
     
  3. deepsea

    deepsea Member

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    I never made it to Africa as a cadet, had more of the 1st world tour during sea year, but much of my shipping career after KP was spent around Africa.
    Working on bulk carriers I spent two to three weeks in Eritrea, Egypt, Mozambique, South Africa, Angola, Morrocco, and Djibouti. Except for South Africa (Capetown is one of my favorite cities in the world) Africa is hot, dirty, corrupt, and smelly, and will likely remain that way for a long time..... but, the people are wonderful, the food can be interesting, and the markets are an experience. I think that a few weeks in an African port, traveling by cargo ship and not as a tourist gives our students an outlook on the world that cannot be taught in any class, in any other school in the world. Seeing the real Africa gives you a perspective on the United States that will last a lifetime. No matter how bad things seem here, or how tough a stretch you may pass through in your personal life, you understand for ever that you are one of the luckiest people in the world, and will never take it for granted.......
     
  4. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    Deepsea I totally agree with you. I was in Panama City for awhile and after that stay, I wished every American, no matter the income bracket could see how the poor in other parts of the world live. Not that that should be the standard for poor or that being poor should exist, but much is taken for granted in the United States, just as you said. Blessings abound here.
     
  5. navig8r

    navig8r Member

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  6. 2012kpmam

    2012kpmam Member

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    My DS just finished a round trip to Singapore through the Suez Canal and pirate waters. He said that the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden are full of Navy ships patrolling and that they had no problems. The shipping vessels have all kinds of things that they do, including drills with the crew and not reporting their positions over the internet. Also, the pirates seem to stay away from US flagged vessels.
     
  7. jasperdog

    jasperdog Member

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    Yes and way back when I was a Cadet on my first ship and we made our first US Port of Call after coming back north from the East Coast of South America, I told my mother that I absolutely did NOT go in to any waterfront bars in South American ports....

    It's true the presence of the US and several other Navy's are high along the route the Suez Express vessels travel, and it's also true last week that a German Crew whose ship was boarded in that same Gulf of Aden went into their panic room, shut the vessel down, called for help and the US Navy and a specially trained USMC anti-piracy unit quietly boarded the vessel, retook it and arrested the pirates on the dead ship without a shot being fired. However, there are still dangers to be seen in those waters. It's as much a socio-economic problem as anything since Somalia is basically currently a failed state and virtually devoid of any other economic means to make a living other than being part of a warring faction or a pirate band to feed yourself and your family if you are a young male.

    I am sure your DS is as safe as he can be doing what he's doing but there are still some dangerous actors out there so it's okay to worry about him and "be a mom" even if he doesn't want you to do so....
     
  8. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    Navig8tor, thanks for the website. I knew there was one out there the midshipmen have access to. I just couldn't remember it. Also, if anyone wants to read a good book about piracy, though from early 2000, I suggest "Piracy: Dangers on the High Seas. Puts it all out there. There are newer protocols for what to do now when ships are under attack, more piracy drills, but the variances from country to country for allowing "extra hands on deck" so to speak is frightening.
     
  9. Sea Faring Moose Mom

    Sea Faring Moose Mom Member

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    Djbouti, East Africa

    DD spent 100 days on a Military Sealift Command Tanker in Gulf of Aden and East coast of Somalia. She was guided by the deck crew who made sure both girls (sea partners) knew how to get around safely in Djbouti. The ship was armed with 24 Navy Personel and 81 Mariners. While one group of pirates decided to mess with this big ship.....duh!... MSC showed strength each time......she felt safe as they retanked NATO ships and other alianced ships.
    I just prayed....a lot.....as I did on the 2 other ships she sailed on out of 'harms way'.

    KNOW: That the Midshipmen are valued as any other crew member and are trained by the crew as to what to do incase of a boarding. I have FULL CONFIDENCE that USMMA would NOT send the Midshipmen into 'harms way' unless the ship could protect them effectively. Our DD and DS's are in good hands and are trained and practiced hard. Another 'brownie point' for USMMA!
     
  10. KP2013dramamama

    KP2013dramamama Member

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    Sea Faring Moose Mom. Thanks so much for the words of experience. They are very helpful.
     

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