Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cargo Wooden Boat

People in shipping industry are familiar with such term as cargo ships and container ships. In today's post, I want to introduce another term cargo boat or cargo wooden boat, to be exact. "What is it?" you might ask. Well, it is a kind of vessel made of wood and used to transport cargoes and some people. If you visit small coastal towns and villages in the Indonesia islands, you will find such boats.
 Cargo wooden boats play very important role in inter-islands shipping industry. You will not find containers and cranes in seaport where these boats stay. All the loading and unloading of cargoes are conducted using man power. Porters carry the cargoes on their shoulders and throw them into the hatch at the main deck of the boat. Most often, passengers and cargoes are placed on the same deck inside the superstructure. Well, although these boats cannot be called passenger ship, they most often carry more than twelve passengers. So, if we enter one of the wooden boats, we will see cargoes among people and people among cargoes.
I had a chance of visiting Anggrem seaport of Manokwari city in Papua island of the Republic of Indonesia two days ago. I climbed and jumped on the main deck of a cargo boat and took some photographs of the outside view of the deck, the interior of the passenger deck and the cargo hold and the engine room. I was surprised to find out that the engine room was dark and I had to use flashlight to get the inside view of the engine room and the engines.
Although this boat can be considered traditional, they are powered by diesel engines and manned by experienced crews who didn't study in maritime academy but got their nautical knowledge passed down through generations by great seafarers of Indonesia. You won't find radar inside the wheel house. They use compass, maps and stars (if the weather is bright) to determine their position relative to the islands which they are heading. I don't how long these boats can continue serve the remote islands of Indonesia but I believe that they have been part of the daily life of most of the Indonesia people especially those who live along coastal towns and villages that cannot be accessed by cargo shipping or passenger shipping that emphasis their operation on the economic of scale and not on the delivery of goods to small number of people living in remote islands. Here such wooden boats are the princess of the sea. by Charles Roring