An LNG Journey, Episode 4 : Dubai – Other Sailors (2016)

The oversized Cheikh Zayed Road glitters in the heat as a glass elevator takes me to ground level. Noon in Dubai is not the best time of the day to fight the jetlag, but after studying a boring contract on the rooftop terrace of my hotel, I definitely need a stroll.

Past the insane high rise buildings (even the 1/200 replica of Burj Khalifa in the nearby mall is 4 meters tall…) I reach a human-sized world along the river. Bustling souks, small passenger boats. Mini-Venice in the desert.

Down the quay, I spot colorful wooden ships, loaded with bulky stuff wrapped in plastic. A man invites me to come onboard. He is the captain and is about to sail to Iran. Looking at the derelict vessel and its low-tech nav equipment, I can’t help thinking of the clauses of the contract I just read : in my LNG world, this thing would not even qualify as a ship.

The crew worries about the fog, sometimes about the pirates. But the man smiles and offers me a coffee. In the shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, home to biggest LNG tankers in the world, this captain too is ready for his sailor’s job.

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