Thursday, 13 December 2007

Dry Dock

On Tuesday, 24 hours later than expected, all 10,000 plus tonnes of the Africa Mercy were lifted out of the water and onto a huge railway wagon, and towed into a parking space by four big diggers. We are at the Astican Shipyard in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria. The shipyard guys are pressure washing the hull and respraying it with anti-foul paint and renewing some of the pipes and valves and the sacrificial anodes, whilst our own engineers and deck crew are carrying out other essential maintenance before the ship goes back into the water next week. We are surrounded by eight other ships all doing the same thing, and there is lots of noise and grit from sandblasting. The yard is unable to supply each ship with its usual electricity supply, so we are running on reduced power - there is no air conditioning or even air circulation, no laundry, no hot water at night and no hot meals during the day. Many of the crew have left their stuffy cabins and are now sleeping in cooler public areas. Fortunatly, all the families have been moved off the ship into accomadation at the south end of the island, where the kids spend all day on the climbing frames in the playgrounds. The dads commute an hour back and forth each day until we leave the dry dock early next week. Awesome photo of the Africa Mercy being towed across the shipyard. Olly

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