A Tale of Two Ships

ALM Sea Walk YachtThere were two pieces of news in the regional press yesterday about ships; in the one case a luxury yacht and in the other a Russian freighter.

Their circumstances couldn’t be more different.

First of all, what has attracted the attention of beachgoers on Cotobro beach is the presence of a luxury yacht named Sea Walk anchored not far off.

This beastie will cost you around half a million euros a week to hire. Yes, you could share the cost thanks to its accommodation for ten, including a main cabin and six double cabins… but it will still work out at 50,000 euros each – peanuts!

The yacht has a gymnasium, if lifting champaign glasses all day is not enough exercise for you and a jacuzzi to work off the stress of flopping on to and off of a lounger.

Obviously, somebody’s got to do the actual work, so there is accommodation for a crew of three.

That’s Almuñécar and the luxury yacht but we now come to the Russian freighter, Zapolyarye, that has been tied up for the last eleven months owing to its owners going bust. The 15 remaining crew daren’t leave the ship without losing any contract benefits they might have coming to them, so they hang on.

Now, when you jump into your car that has been parked in the sun in this August sun, you immediately reach for the aircon button… imagine if you’re in a huge iron structure with no electricity and only two hours of water a day. Yup! Not recommended. Hell, you could cook pizzas in the crew room just by leaving it on the table.

MOT Abandoned Russian FreighterThe 15 forgotten seamen wander around with torches, trying not to fall down ladders because health coverage is zero.

They subsist on canned food, after having a whip round for funds – they don’t have electricity so they don’t have a fridge – no fuel means no electricity.

Unless they get some more funds, then they’re pockets are going to be as empty as the fuel tanks meaning no more trips to the supermarket. By the time that you read this, they will have spent what they have left.

The First Officer complains that the ship owners, Murmansk Shipping Company, hasn’t paid their salaries in the last three months and the food-allowance funds keeps getting cut so that they now only receive 3.12 euros per head per day for food, whereas they should be getting 8.5 euros.

So, Ladies and Shopping-Trolley Pushers, that is the tale of two ships, moored about 20 miles apart but separated by an ocean of destiny.

(News: Almunecar/Motril, Costa Tropical, Granada, Andalucia)

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