Ludovic Gérard’s testimony
Today is Thursday and the day has gone by quickly despite my very early start this morning.
It is 20:00 and we have just left the Suez Canal and are now off Port Said. The Canal pilots – or ‘Chief Pilots’ as they are called – receive special training for large vessels such as the CMA CGM JULES VERNE. They have now left the ship with CMA CGM Port Captain Armo El Shefie, who personally oversaw the crossing – the first by the CMA CGM JULES VERNE – to be sure that everything went smoothly.
The magnificent weather gave us some beautiful views of the canal and its banks, which are empty desert land at first before becoming increasingly built-up as the crossing progresses northwards.
The engine crew, managed by Chief Engineer Raphael Amat, is pleased to have finally entered the Mediterranean. The trip will end soon, and that is synonymous with maintenance work being carried out on the ship and its equipment. Maintenance periods often involve a lot of intense work.
Night has now fallen and it is time to change the bridge watch for officers and the helmsman. Captain François Plunian-Blot remains on the bridge for a few hours to help the crew as the ship heads out towards the open sea, where it will be clear of the dense traffic around the canal exit.
And once out on the open sea it will be ‘full steam ahead’ towards Malta, where we are expected to arrive on Saturday.