A long international voyage of an unknown sailor and his small occasion to celebrate.
Anno Domini 15th October 2010 evening I shutdown my office workstation (at Maersk) and walked off to the retired life at the age of 40. I didn’t had much plans in my life other than relaxing in my home town, a small city, Calicut, fanned by gentle breeze from Arabian Sea.
Back at home, Bombay, on that evening I made a blog account thinking I will narrate my long journey in life.
Why long journey in life by 40, because I always followed my heart. A life’s journey followed by heart is much longer than a scheduled journey, because the true happiness is in journeying not in the destination.
I always followed my heart, where I loved to stay I stayed long, where I didn’t love to stay I moved on. When I was sailing on long voyages I loved the staying in the going. When I stayed long during breaks in sailing or worked on storage tankers moored to SPM many nautical miles off the shore I loved the going in the staying.
In between sailing I took a break of 2 years and lived in West Africa, Tema and Abidjan mainly, involving myself into various aspects of port operations related to MPVs. It was one of the best days in my life spent in gold coast and ivory coast. Once I sat Hours and hours at Cape Coast Castle where 100s and 1000s of slaves were held captive before their fateful voyage across Atlantic commenced.
I was also involved in transporting ECOWAS Soldiers to Liberia for peace keeping mission, a life time experience of loading and discharging armored cars, ammunition and heavy artillery into and out of the cargo holds. Arranging the logistics for 1000 plus soldiers to sail on ship, installing their military radio station and antenna ,testing their radio. Communication was HF SSB Radio Telephony and Morse code. I felt am a soldier without uniform. Oops! I felt a soldier in Merchant Marine uniform
Later during 1999 coup in Ivory Coast I had to save myself from looting, arson, gunshots and finally flee the country with nothing but the cloths I wore and my passport. Of course when I got out of then Sahar airport I had the stub of the air ticket additionally together with cloths I wore, passport and a one rupee coin which had hid itself in my jeans pocket. I walked from Sahar airport (Mumbai) , some 20 odd kilometers, to D.N. Road and borrowed a pen to fill up withdrawal form at my bank. The meal I had then at a restaurant is the best I ever had in life though cockroaches were playing on the table. I lost many of my documents and a box full of old photographs and negatives I had with me. I hadn’t changed to digital camera then, technologically less savvy I am. But those memories I still cherish in my heart.
Remembering those good old days I still some time test my ability to key Morse code.
Coming back to the immediate days after leaving my last job and opening blog account, I sat in front of my laptop thinking what to write and where to start. I entered some small notes on dangerous goods; a topic very fresh in my mind after working 8 years in P& O Nedlloyd and Maersk dangerous goods department.
My blog entry was very infrequent through the months. Later one day I received an email from Microsoft stating that they are stopping the blog service and it will be automatically transferred to WordPress. I obliged and moved all my previous ‘rare’ entries on to WordPress.com
My entries during September and October 2011
Then at home town I bought a mountain bike and started cycling. Hitting out on the road before sunrise coasting Calicut’s beach road and turn back home from Beypore port some 17 kilometers one way.
Ability to read is a real gift, with this gift we can immerse ourselves into the world of literature. I indulge myself into reading any book I come across be it political, historical, religious or atheist. When I look back at my working days and now the graph of reading hasn’t changed much as reading was always part of me.
From Milton’s Paradise Lost , through Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment or Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina or Khayyam’s Rubaiyat one can spent his life journeying through letters. Need not mention Don Quixote of Miguel De Cervantes which makes me feel am another Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of Calicut
Back at blog, during my interaction with various people in industry I realized there is definitely a lack of general understanding in dangerous goods transportation. How to rectify it? Training, already made mandatory by IMO. Yes training is mandatory and is undertaken by many.
But training starts and ends within a scheduled timetable. What happens if the trainee had any doubt many days, weeks or months after training? This was the question pondering my mind. Who will answer him or her? Whom the trainee can approach post training with a specific question?
Then late in November 2011 I decided to write on blog again. But what to write? I started recalling what I used to ask myself during my initial days in dangerous goods safety department and on those topics I started writing on blog.
How much more I wrote? In November 2011 I wrote one more entry
End November my blog entry status looked like this.
Watching the visitor status I felt I am the most frequent visitor reading my blog through admin panel but later the number of visitors started growing. The topics they read made me understand what information they are looking for. This encouraged me to write more and more.
End December my blog entry status looked like this.
Then I got a Class 1.4S fireworks email from WordPress.com celebrating my blog status
Blog Visitor Status – Months and Years
I realized that when I write more number of visitors are increasing, compare no. of entries and visitors for Oct, Nov and Dec below.
This encouraged me to write more about what readers are looking for and my status went on to end of March 31st as below
Across the globe there are dedicated people ensuring compliance to SOLAS, 1974, as amended, and MARPOL 73/78 for safety and environmental protection during transport of dangerous goods.
I am happy to serve those who are looking for information about safe transport of dangerous goods by Road, Rail, River and Sea. Its my duty to give back to the industry what it taught me!
Today I will celebrate passing the milestone of 10,00th reading of my safety blog with “BEER”, because
“An aqueous solution containing not more than 24% alcohol by volume is not subject to the provisions of IMDG Code.”
Let’s make the Seas Safer and Cleaner!!
Visit me on http://convexnconcave.wordpress.com/ &