Skip to main content

1421 IN 2012



The training ship PLAN Zheng He 81 left Surabaya, Indonesia on September 07, 2012 and is now visiting Brunei at Muara Port.  She embarked young Officers of the Indonesian and Brunei navies in Surabaya for the passage to continue their training under the PRC PLAN concept. 

NAUTICAL LOG has been  re-reading 1421 and 1434 by Gavin Menzies (Lt.Cmdr. RN Ret.) and it is very interesting to compare the concept of the Chinese Emperors to the present day PRC methods of building contacts and influencing other nations.  When Gavin Menzies was completing his Cadet and Midshipman service in the British Royal Navy NAUTICAL LOG was serving as Cadet and Deck Apprentice in the Merchant Navy during the same time period.  In his book 1434 he writes of how multi-national the RN was and how Officers were expected to learn the culture of those serving with them. 

In the MN it was even more so and included something of the language, the ships with Laskar (from Pakistan, India and Ceylon) crews had separate storerooms and three galleys for the Officers and Ratings, Hindu, Muslim and Christian all with cooks of the particular religion.  Since we also had Chinese carpenters and fitters Chinese food was available usually cooked in the Christian galley which was staffed by Goanese. 

All religious holidays were respected and time off during the day from work for prayers was given.  The caste system was in place on board and the Tópas did the sweeping both on deck, inside and cleaned the heads.  We had a Butla Sahib (Indian Chief Steward) who went with the Senior Sükunni (Chief Quartermaster) to open the Muslim storeroom each morning for the issuing of food supplies to the Muslim Bândari (crew cook) thus maintaining Halil requirements.


Sükunni sewing canvas - next task is his sock!!

There was a system of reimbursment by the Officers to crewmembers who did laundry for them and cooked and served when we had parties or a dance on board.  All told it was an interaction with mutual respect.  For example my Sükunni who was Muslim would say to me "Prayer time Mäjla Malim Sahib, which way Mecca please?" Given the direction he would go out on the Bridge wing and perform the afternoon prayer ritual having first washed at the deck fresh-water tap.  It was an excellent educational experience for a young Officer who himself was not very much into religion!!

So as this PRC "Harmonious Mission" of PLAN Zheng He 81 goes around the World it is well to remember that they too are having an excellent educational experience and greatly influencing those who come into contact and in particular sail in the vessel with them.

Good Watch.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

PERIGEAN SPRING TIDES

It sometimes happens that one is going to write a Post on a subject when lo and behold there is already an excellent one.  Such is the case today; so rather than repeat everything let me refer you to the source of that Post

At present we are experiencing Perigean Spring Tides which occur when the Moon is at perigee on its oval path that is the closest point to Earth.  One of the principal results are higher than usual Spring Tides as against the Neap Tides.

Should you be interested in the full explanation of this phenomenon then you might like to reference "Old Salt Blog" which has an excellent explanation of this event and uses all the correct terms - quite unlike our Media here in South Florida.

Good Watch.

FAKE NEWS

In recent years there has been a steady decline in the professionalism, accuracy and quality of the various Media outlets and the social media.  In the rush to get there first with a story the shoddy Media - lets call it the really shoddy social media - have resorted to making up stories.  When growing up in the late 30's and 40's this was called lying and got one punished in our house.

Fake news includes inaccurate and unsupported stories all of which in the last year have been published without correction or apology.  Now it seems this attitude has spread to the maritime blogs.  One blog which was generally pretty good about its posts has slipped in accuracy lately including quoting from European tabloids.  A recent post was about H.M.S. Vengeance and its missile launches off the coast of Florida part of its programme to Certify boat and crew  The story was an ill advised, inaccurate choice in subject matter as to what happened and how the incident was reported to a Foreign N…

AN tSEIRBHIS CHABHLAIGH

This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.


The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.