Today we could all take a deep breath and relax. Time to sit down and count the number of pyramids the number of ruins photographed, and also have the time to update the dairies of where one has been and what one has seen. Sailing on the Prinsendam is one of the best ways to see the world but it is hard work as we call at port after port and spend extended periods in those ports. So today was a relaxing day at sea; at least there was the option to do so. Still the daily program was packed with things to participate in and that means that you can still run around from early morning to late in the evening. And do not forget the bingo of course. The Prinsendam was on a straight North westerly course from Haifa sailing towards the Greek islands. That sounds a bit strange as our next port of call is in Turkey but the Greek islands are dotted in a nice curve around most of the South West and Western part of the Turkish coast. We will be sailing under Rhodes, change course to the North by keeping the island of Kos on the portside and then head for the sea of Marmaris. The port of Bodrum is not located exactly inside this sea but on the eastern rim, hidden in a deep sheltered bay. Thus, until we reach that area we will be surrounded by Greece in the form of smaller and larger morsels of it in the form of large islands (Nissos) and smaller ones (Nisida).
Although both Greece and Turkey are at peace with each other, the proximity of all these little Greek islands very close to the Turkish coast still creates an amount of discontent among the two countries. At all times both navies are keeping a close eye on their respective properties. It also means that the borders are overlapping and that can create quite a headache for us. When in-between two Greek islands, one can rightly assume that one is in Greek waters, but when sailing between a Greek and a Turkish island, with the next Greek Island closer to the Turkish coast than the Turkish one, then things become complicated. Especially when complying with environmental rules. Turkey has a “no overboard zone” for anything of 12 miles”. For Greece it is 4 miles. Those two zones overlap of course and if you do not know where the Turkish waters start and the Greek waters end, you have a compliance problem. I solve that issue in a quite simple way, by applying the strictest rule in any area where I am not certain of which rule applies.
One of the effects of these rules is the restrictions on cleaning the ship. Yesterday we had an enormous downpour in Haifa around lunch time which very nicely cleaned the ship of all the accumulating sand that was sticking everywhere. This morning we had to be careful with the deck washing so that we did not violate Turkish rules. These basically prohibit anything overboard inside those 12 miles, even when it is only fresh water used for hosing down the decks. The same applies in port. Anything that goes overboard can result in heavy fines, up to USA $ 42.000 per instance. So for both Bodrum and Kusadasi I have ordered a blanket ban on any outside maintenance, just to afford any issues. When the ship gets cleared on arrival, we verify with the harbour master how we are allowed to operate in his port while complying with those rules. Turkey had for a long time very polluted waters, especially in the approaches to Istanbul. To kick start the improvement process they instigated these draconian penalties to get everybody focused on the problem.
With more and more countries regulating overboard issues we are facing a bigger and bigger challenge not to make mistakes. In principle we recycle everything onboard and land all the separated items in the various ports of calls, but we have to get rid of our treated waste water, as thus far only the Scandinavian countries have adequate shore side facilities for this. There are international rules and regulations which govern this (Marpol laws issued by the IMO) but nothing stops individual countries from imposing stricter rules and this happens all the time. To deal with this, our Safety, Environmental and Health Officer scrutinizes the laws of each country and then designs a matrix to show all the variations.
That tells us, when and where we can operate our incinerator, where we can discharge food stuff and also where our treated waste water can be discharged. He is also in contact with our agents in each country to see where we can land the separated recyclables so we minimize the chance that everything just goes to the dump. In this way we can land a lot of materials for further use and in 2009 we could almost add 20,000 Euro’s to the crew fund from recycled metals alone.
Tomorrow we will be in Bodrum, where we will dock at a new built pier, which is a little distance away from the downtown area. However a local ferry has been engaged to provide a shuttle to the old port itself. It should be a dry and sunny day. Chilly on arrival and then reaching the low 70’s around lunch time.