Thursday, January 28, 2016

Eighteeners in chains

The ship sailed from Casablanca, Morocco,
                                    [and it took only a few hours
to figure out that skipper was a mad man with... 
                                     [unreasonable legal powers....

A “cold” lay-up
               [means shutting down the ship completely. 
Hundreds of such ships were laid up in rows, neatly
at safe places waiting for new employment.
For all the seafarers
                          [nothing but disappointment.

Four of us, we must have been the biggest sinners,
graduates of the Maritime College,
                                                 [none of us winners,
immediately after being awarded our degrees,
we signed on as deck boys
                         [on the tanker "Ocean Breeze".

It was July sixteen,
              [one thousand nine hundred and fifty-eight,
for my life perhaps the most unlucky
                                          [and most important date.

Seafarers unemployment
                                [was higher than ever, 
so to get this job we used every endeavor.

As I said earlier,
         [we sailed and it only took a few hours
to figure out that skipper was a mad man
                   [with unreasonable legal powers....

The captain who caused the "Mutiny on the Bounty"
                                                                [long time ago,
the tough Captain Blythe,
               [was an angel compared to ours Captain Joe....

All four of us lived
        [through dramatic situations
Exploitation and many privations....

Because of our humiliating salary,
       [there was no money for a return ticket.
Our families never learned about all this,
                                          [we kept it secret.

The only way out was the job search in any port,
in any foreign country,
                         [we risked being judged in Court.


We four were dispersed to the four corners of the earth
John in Rio de Janeiro, Nick at Bilbao and Mike in Perth.

The last of the group, myself, in New York City
undocumented we were,
          [with lead my parents to say "what a pity".

I never learned what fate became of my friends,
although many years have passed, several tens.

The last time I remember
            [the four of us laughing carefree,
was the day of the award of our degree.

*Extract from "The Broken Mooring Line", an experiential
poetic work
 // page c59// e-mail: //
Texts and Narration: Odysseus Heavilayias - ROTTERDAM //
Language adjustments and text adaptation: Kellene G Safis - CHICAGO//
Digital adaptation and text editing: Cathy Rapakoulia Mataraga - PIRAEUS//


*Cold laying up    means that the ship is taken out of service due to lack of employment and is moored or anchored at a safe place waiting for new employment.
Shutting down the ship almost completely for an extended period, this leads to greater cost savings, but the ship will probably need dry-docking before coming back into service.

*Vessels laid up" multiple vessels are laid up together, either. alongside or in anchored or moored groups or 'rafts', they should be of a similar size.


*Rio de Janeiro is the second-largest city in Brazil, the sixth-largest city in the Americas, and the world's thirty-fifth-largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area, the second most populous metropolitan area in Brazil, the sixth-most populous in the Americas, and the eighteenth-largest in the world. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's third-most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named "Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea", by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 as a Cultural Landscape.
Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese, the city was initially the seat of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a domain of the Portuguese Empire. Later, in 1763, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, a state of the Portuguese Empire. In 1808, when the Portuguese Royal Court transferred itself from Portugal to Brazil.

* Bilbao is a municipality and city in Spain, the capital of the province of Biscay in the autonomous community of the Basque Country. It is the largest municipality of the Basque Country and the tenth largest in Spain, with a population of 353,187 in 2010. The Bilbao metropolitan area has roughly 1 million inhabitants, making it one of the most populous metropolitan areas in northern Spain; with a population of 875,552 the comarca of Greater Bilbao is the fifth-largest urban area in Spain.

*Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth-most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 2.02 million. 

*New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the State of New York, of which it is a part – is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York metropolitan area, the premier gateway for legal immigration to the United States and one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. A global power city, New York exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural and financial capital of the world.
Situated on one of the world's largest natural harbors, New York City consists of five boroughs, each of which is a county of New York State. The five boroughs – Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island – were consolidated into a single city in 1898. With a census-estimated 2014 population of 8,491,079 distributed over a land area of just 305 square miles (790 km2), New York is the most densely populated major city in the United States. As many as 800 languages are spoken in New York, making it the most linguistically diverse city in the world. 

  the tales of a greek sailor  

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