11.35 ship-time (GMT + 3).
Steaming slowly towards Mersin
I suddenly have access to data and have spent the morning catching up with my emails.
It has been a quiet morning as we have been adrift at anchorage waiting to be told to go towards the pilot station, which we were just commanded to do. So we are slowly –at about 3 knots- going towards the pilot station.
Mersin lies at the coast as far as eye can see, blanched under the sun. The port seems to have a coal and ore harbour and there are in fact more bulk carriers steaming away than there are containerships. The port also doesn’t seem to have as many container cranes as Beirut has.
Our security level has been downgraded from 2 to 1. Along the coast of Egypt and all the way up along Syria, we were at Security Level 2. It is also interesting to see that the Admiralty Charts for Mersin don’t have anything like the number of warnings, or indications of security zones, or allusions to danger as the charts for the area further south have.
13.43 Ship time
Berthed at Mersin
Mersin is a beautiful city, all rooftops shimmering with dozens of satellite dishes, as if the skin of the city is sequined, the whole city white under the sun, green at the shore, and prosperous-looking.
The berth at which we are moored seems to be wholly new. And the cranes I saw, 4 of the really big ones, are only just installed. There are smaller cranes for smaller ships alongside and one of the pilots told our captain that our ship was the biggest yet he had piloted to shore. The area at which we are moored is relatively empty of containers; and on the other side of the jetty, there is a bulk carrier being loaded with bulky white bags (not sure what is in them). The end of the jetty itself is still under construction.
There are two warships and one coast guard ship in port. One of them is quite big and there are men in khaki onboard but I can’t tell what sort of a ship it is. It is berthed in the passenger terminal of the port. The other one is much smaller and it is moored along a jetty near the coal terminal.
A tiny CMA CGM ship, Comet, came alongside for less than an hour, discharged a couple of containers and boarded others. CMA seems to have a good business in feeders throughout the country. Anthony (the Filipino 3rd officer) worked for a long while on a CMA CGM feeder from Jabal Ali to three Indian ports. Bojan’s first ship was a small CMA CGM feeder from Marseille to Algiers.
Mersin seems to be the destination for a lot of feeder services. A little CMA CGM ship passed us by, almost entirely empty, berthed, discharged a couple of containers and picked up a few and it was on its way in less than an hour.