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  During the five years, the crew experienced the scorching heat of the equatorial coast and the freezing cold around the North Pole. From the hard rock on the seabed in West Africa to the sand and pebbles in Eastern Europe, they overcame all kinds of difficulties. Parents' thoughts drove the "Sky Whale" to travel between Europe, Asia and Africa, and across the oceans.

  "'Sky Whale' is back!" With bursts of shouts, a big blue ship slowly sailed into the harbor.

This is the first ultra-large self-propelled cutter suction ship "Tianjing" independently built by my country. It is known as the "magic weapon of island building". After five years, the ship has successfully completed the construction tasks of countries along the "Belt and Road" and returned home smoothly Home, into the domestic construction.

  During the five years, the crew experienced the scorching heat of the equatorial coast and the freezing cold around the North Pole. From the hard rock on the seabed in West Africa to the sand and pebbles in Eastern Europe, they overcame all kinds of difficulties. Parents' thoughts drove the "Sky Whale" to travel between Europe, Asia and Africa, and across the oceans.

  "We swore an oath"

  On October 3, 2017, the "Sky Whale" took an oath. The 26 people on the ship gathered on the deck and raised their right fist to take the oath under the leadership of the then captain Yu Shuijian.

On this day, the "Sky Whale" received an order and immediately prepared to set off for Ghana, Africa, to participate in the port construction of countries along the "Belt and Road".

Yu Shuijian understands the local conditions, and he is most worried about the 25 young men in front of him.

"Africa is no better than China. The local climate, medical level, and food supplies are all challenges. In addition, malaria and typhoid fever frequently occur."

  The first stop is Tema Port, an important hub port in West Africa. The soil in the construction sea area is rock with a hardness of 60 MPa, and ordinary dredgers are helpless.

"At that time in Asia, only the 'Sky Whale' had the construction conditions. The young crew suffered a lot.

  During the construction, the "Sky Whale" showed a sharp reamer and went deep into the seabed to break up the hard rock.

The locals are surprisingly called "the sharpest teeth in the world", which also means that the reamer teeth wear out quickly.

The dismantling and installation of the reamer teeth is all manual. About 100 teeth need to be replaced every 6 hours, and nearly 400 teeth in one day. Each tooth weighs about 15 kilograms. Adapting, the first crew quickly became exhausted.

Later, Ran Gangqiang led everyone to optimize the process many times, and the time for replacing the teeth was greatly shortened.

The logistics staff also bought ingredients from Chinese stores, and their diet gradually became normal.

  With the progress of the project, the "Sky Whale" has also come to the day of voyage repair.

This has become a major problem in Africa, where local professionals are scarce and replacement parts cannot be purchased.

Yu Shuijian ordered that the voyage repair work be carried out by the crew themselves.

Everyone learns to repair precision instruments while reading the manuals. Some manuals are in English, and they need to be translated first.

Knocking rust, brushing paint and screwing screws, everyone was busy from the deck to the engine room. The crew who completed the task first did not return to the cabin to rest, but took the initiative to go to other people's place to grab work. The efficiency of voyage repair was greatly improved, and the construction period was faster than expected. one third.

  On November 1, 2018, the "Sky Whale" completed the construction task in Ghana.

At the celebration meeting, the local people asked them: "What makes the Chinese crew work so hard?" The crew replied with a smile: "We swore an oath!"

  The boat has its own vegetable garden

  "Don't be afraid of how tiring the work is, just be afraid that there will be no rice water." On the "Sky Whale", everyone knows this catchphrase. The creator is Song Changchun, the current first officer on board, "Green vegetables are simply better than gold." It’s also expensive, and the key is that it’s particularly difficult to buy.”

  Buying in Africa: 1 catty of Chinese cabbage costs more than 80 yuan equivalent to RMB, and two green onions that cost only a few yuan in China cost as much as 63 yuan in local currency and are often out of stock.

The crew had to go to land to purchase supplies after a lot of trouble, and they often returned empty-handed.

The chef on board often looked at the empty vegetable basket, shook his head and sighed: "It's hard for a clever woman to cook without rice!"

  "Everyone has worked hard, and now we can't even guarantee fresh vegetables for meals. This is not acceptable!" Song Changchun thought of a way, "Why don't we grow vegetables ourselves."

  At the very beginning, Song Changchun contacted the project department, chose open land on land as a vegetable garden, and searched for familiar fruit and vegetable seeds in the local market.

The seeds were planted, and a week later, the melon seedlings emerged from the ground. Everyone stared at the tender melon seedlings and clapped their hands in celebration.

Under everyone's careful care, the little tender seedlings continued to grow taller, and finally became a delicious dinner in the crew's bowl.

  With the experience of growing vegetables on land, everyone tried to grow fruits and vegetables on board.

The crew designed a small vegetable garden on board, which is composed of waste barrels and boxes, and the fertile soil is brought up from land.

The vines of watermelon grow very fast, crossing their own "territory" and "marching" to the pepper branches next door. There are still a few small yellow flowers blooming on the melon vines, exuding a faint fragrance.

Not to be outdone, peppers thrive with just a little sun and moisture.

  When the ship breaks down, the crew are busy removing rust, maintaining equipment and repairing machinery during the day. After dinner at night, they often go to this small vegetable garden for a walk and chat, and discuss planting together. atmosphere, and put the basin in the shape of a child's heart.

The garden is not big, but it has become a paradise for the crew to relax.

  "The boat is coming back, and I'm starting again"

  Li Zeqiang, the current first officer of the "Sky Whale", still remembers that he arrived at Tema Port in Ghana on November 27, 2017. The support of his family made him survive day and night.

  Staying away from homeland and family, I dedicate my youth to the construction of the "Belt and Road". However, young crew members often cannot speak to their families several times a week due to jet lag.

"At that time, what we liked to hear most was my wife's words, 'Don't worry about your family, we support you'. Without the support of my family, I don't know if I can persevere!" Li Zeqiang said.

  When the "Sky Whale" was under construction in Kenya, in order to seize the construction period, Li Zeqiang finished his off-duty and returned to the ship ahead of schedule.

His wife silently helped him pack his things, and held back tears before leaving and said to him: "You don't worry about it, I'm at home." But no one thought that this trip would last more than 20 months.

  In 2020, the sudden outbreak of the epidemic disrupted the ship shift plan.

One day, Li Zeqiang received a video call from home: "Dad, when are you coming back?" The child cried in the video.

"Dad can't go back now, the flights have been cancelled, and the ship is sailing in the sea, so I can't do without Dad." Li Zeqiang told the child.

The child nodded half-understanding, and said, "Then tell me when you come back, and my mother and I will pick you up."

  Now, the "Sky Whale" has returned home, but He Zefu, the second engineer who returned home with the ship, has refunded the high-speed rail ticket to go home, and instead booked a ticket to the Middle East.

In the past 10 years, he has experienced all the projects that this big country heavy equipment participated in, and has grown from an intern to a backbone of ship management.

  He Zefu's wife, Li Xiaoling, is a grassroots medical worker and was named the "Most Beautiful Heroine" in Shuozhou City, Shanxi Province. She has been on the front line, and she can't remember how many days and nights she has. The children have never seen their mother, nor have they seen each other. over husband.

  At the moment when the "Sky Whale" docked at a Chinese port, He Zefu had already simulated countless times in his mind the scenes of going home, including what gifts to bring to the children and what dinner to accompany his wife.

However, before he disembarked and went home, he had to go to a distant place again because of engineering needs.

At the moment the plane took off, he sent a message to his wife: "Honey, the ship is back, and I'm going overseas again..."

  workers daily