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Captain plays role in Silk Road success story(2)

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The MV Cosco Netherlands anchors in the port of Ningbo, Zhejiang province.[Photo by Jiang Chenglong/China Daily]

He started off as an able seaman and was promoted to captain in 1998. "In the past 38 years, I've paid the most attention on one thing-transporting cargo safely," he said.

Gu said his 20 years as a captain have been largely accident-free, but they had put him in some situations he would never forget.

In 2005, he encountered an extreme storm while sailing an empty ship across the Pacific to Canada. Gu said he was relatively inexperienced at the time, and more reliant on the instrumentation on the ship's bridge and advice from others.

"However, the storm was way beyond anyone's imagination," he said. "The sea was quite calm at first but violent winds and roaring waves suddenly appeared. I could see nothing through the window."

The ship swayed dramatically, from the bow to the stern, and its screw propeller jutted above the sea's surface. Gu was worried such severe shaking would cause serious damage to the ship's engine and decided to change course downwind.

But changing course was also dangerous because the ship would be side on to the wind while turning. "I did nothing then but held the handrail tightly and saw the bow dash into the water, talking to myself-'It's all finished'," Gu recalled.

The vessel successfully completed the maneuver, but Gu said it had flirted with disaster.

Seamen usually spend seven to nine months at sea and then return to China for a vacation that can last three to five months. That means the time they can spend with their families is limited.

Source:China Daily  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Captain plays role in Silk Road success story)

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