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On Board With Hanjin’s Merchant Marines

Posted September. 30, 2006 04:19,   


“That was a long walk up the stairs, right? If all the containers are full, the ship lowers slightly, but today, the containers are not full,” said Captain Kim, with 21 years of sailing experience.

The journey left from Hong Kong, to Shenzhen, Yokohama, Seattle, Vancouver and returned to Hong Kong.

The starting day was originally 11 p.m. but delayed to the next day at 1 p.m. then again to 2 p.m., because cargo loading was late.

Usually people work in three shifts, but during shipping times all work around the clock.

Even if the time of departure is delayed, they always need to be prepared, so people often work for one or two days straight.

Even though the work is tiring, the shipmates are proud to be working on the frontlines of economic development.

“99% of the goods between countries are shipped. So we immediately know the state of the economy.”(Captain Kim)

These days the competition between countries to win goods is fierce, as countries increase the number of ports and shorten the time of shipping cargo.

Captain Kim said, “In the situation that China has increased the competition by opening Yangshan port and offering services at lower prices, we are reacting by ensuring our customers safe, reliable shipping right on time.”

“In the 1980s Korea exported rice, fertilizer, iron ore and other raw materials. But these days, we export state of the art electronics such as PDPs, semiconductors, and mobile phones.” said chief engineer Kim who has 23 years of experience at sea.

Sea is our destiny-

Captain Kim and engineer Kim both started working on the ship right after graduating Korea Maritime University.

“In the early 1980s the shipmates’ monthly pay was 470,000 won to 480,000 won, about 200,000 won more than the highest paying “company on land.” I was the oldest out of five children so it was perfect to fund my younger brothers’ study. The job is attractive in that I can go abroad.”(Captain Kim)

For Ryu, this is his second time out since he entered the company in January after graduating from Mokpo National Maritime University.

“During high school, I saw the ad for the maritime university and felt something like the power of destiny. I’ve been dreaming about working on the sea. After being on the ship I knew it was a great choice.”

But being on the sea wasn’t always smooth sailing.

“During a storm the ship tilted about 45 degrees and the steering gear went out of order. I thought at this rate we can’t hold on for more than 30 minutes. I thought of my family. I thought this was it, and then we fortunately fixed it.”

In the past, communications equipment was not so developed, and at times shipmates died during storms. In February 1987 Hanjin Shipping’s The Incheon during a storm and all men on board sank with the ship.

Hong Kong to Shenzhen South China Sea, on The Berlin