To China by Freighter/貨物船で台湾から中国へ (2008/01/24~01/28)

On 24 January  from Kaohsiung Harbour we boarded the German freighter “LT Cortesia” bound for China. Departure was “on or about the 24th”, and, indeed, while we were first told by the agent that the ship would be along side at 13:00, she did not come alongside until 21:30. No matter though, the agent was great and kept in contact with us at the hostel until she was alongside, at which time he sent a taxi for us that took us through the port directly to the ship.

First time on a freight for us, and as you can see by the pics, these things are ginormous (is that a word?). The terminal’s business is frieght and not passengers, and so we had to be quite careful of all the cranes lifting freight about us whilst we awaited the lowering of the gangway. Going up that rickety gangway was something else also. We were greeted aboard by the very able Captain and then after the paperwork were led to our cabin by the 2nd officer, who explained the safety regulations aboard along the way.

1月24日、この日は高雄の港からドイツの貨物船「LT CORTESIA」へ乗船する日でした。前日訪れた代理店からは、貨物船は午後1時ごろ港に着く予定なので入港したら連絡するといわれていました。しかし結局船が着いたのは午後9時30分時頃。私たちは代理店が手配してくれたタクシーで高雄の港へ向かいました。


When you hear “freighter”, you don’t expect the Ritz, but the cabins really are first class. From our window we had a very good view outside and of the row upon row of containers. It was really a change from the economy accommodations we are used to–on top of an elevator, there is also a gym, sauna, and a pool!


There are three squares a day, all in the officers mess with the Captain and other officers, as well as the other passengers–in our case three others, two Swiss and one German. There is also tea time at 10:30 and 15:00.


While the officers were German, the crew appeared to be from all over–all of the crew we spoke to were from the Philippines. Like the officers, the crew were all very nice and greeted us whenever they came upon us. At the same time, though, it took us some time to aclimatise to the situation and fully enjoy the meals in the mess.


Traveling by frieghter is not a speedy business: while we boarded on the 24th, we did not leave port until 17:00 the next day. The loading and unloading of freight takes a lot of time! We then arrived at the port of Ningpo, China on the 26th. This was not our destination, but since we had no Chinese money, we took advantage of the bus arranged by the Captain for quick shore leave with the 3 other passengers and went into town (not actually Ningpo, but another town that I don’t know the reading for–the Chinese characters are 北倉) and got some Yuan from an ATM. There wasn’t any time for sightseeing, but then there did not appear to be any sights.


Port of Ningbo/寧波港

The LT Cortesia came alongside in Yanshan (port for Shanghai) at 03:00 on the 28th, but passengers can arrange to leave the ship whenever they wish, and we left at 11:00. This time though the arranged van wanted 100 US dollars to take each of us in–with the other 3 passengers that would have been a $500 pay day for this agent with this bonerattler of a bus. The other passengers refused, and we protested that since we were not coming back we should pay only half. The agent finally agreed and off we went.


In the end though, the agent was very helpful to get us through immigration and since it took almost 3 hours to make it, finally, to Shanghai proper, $50 a person is not terribly egregious. Actually, I do not know how we could get out of the port and through immigration if we elected to go, for example, by taxi. This may be easy in other ports, I do not know, but it appeared not an easy thing to do.


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