Summer 2012

Crossing the equator - a new experience for some crew members

As cadets in the JFE coastal fleet, it was perhaps unsurprising that Lewis Williams, Sophia Walker and Patryk Ciesielczyk had not previously crossed the equator by ship.

A tradition that extends back to the earliest days of the Royal Navy and merchant fleets worldwide, equator crossing ceremonies are still held to this day for crew during their first passage between the northern and southern hemispheres. Known as ‘crossing the line’ in the US Navy, a common theme of this rite of passage is the presence of an experienced crew member taking the role of Neptune who will task the novices with challenges that they must complete in order for them to become fully-fledged seafarers.

As the MT Cumbrian Fisher crossed the equator its three cadets were shown a plank extended over the side. Blindfolded and sufficiently disoriented they were asked to walk to the end and back without falling – the blindfold of course concealing the fact that the actual plank they walk is firmly and safely fixed to the deck!

Carried out in the best of humour, such ceremonies provide a brief entertainment for the crew on what is otherwise an uneventful part of their journey – much welcome relaxation downtime on an otherwise very long professional assignment.

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