The last bunk
Mine was the very last empty bunk – or rack, as my new Canadian friends term it – left on the HMCS Ville de Quebec, a Halifax-class frigate. It’s not so much a bed as a fold-out mattress beneath a communications panel and next to a series of pipes that sounds as if they have water rushing through them at high speed. Somewhere beneath me are the propellors. In short, I didn’t sleep so well as we cruised north out of Mombasa last night towards the Somali capital Mogadishu.
We are escorting a freighter loaded with several thousand tons of grain being shipped to Somalia by the World Food Programme. Few captains will take their ships anywhere near Somali waters without an escort for fear of the pirates who seem capable of seizing pretty much anything within 300 miles of the coast. That is bad news for Somalia’s population, driven to the brink of starvation by decades of warlordism and anarchy combined with repeated droughts.
HMCS Ville de Quebec heads back to the more peaceful waters of the Mediterranean in 10 days time and so far no-one else’s navy has offered to take up escort duties.
Editor’s note: Rob posted this from a warship off the coast of Somalia via email to me [Frontline blogger]. The image of his bunk bed did not arrive. I found the nearest apporximation, courtesy of Selva, and will replace when Rob manages to re-email his real bed image.
OK Tis done