My life onboard Höegh Jeddah: Week 2

DATE 03.11.2023

Last week ended with a gorgeous BBQ and pool party on the upper deck. The portable pool onboard was filled with lukewarm sea water, so it was almost like swimming in the sea. The food was sumptuous, and there was karaoke, of course. The partial lunar eclipse, which was clearly visible on the sky, made the night even more memorable.

After a quiet Sunday, everyone got back to work on Monday. Every day this week, I have followed different members of the crew to learn what they do in between the meals and the karaoke.

First out I joined Chief Officer Jeneis , and A Rodelo, 38. They are responsible for the cargo, and need to make sure that the hatches that secure the cars and the other equipment onboard, are tightly fastened before the weather gets worse.

«To me, this is not just a job, it’s a passion,» Jeneis explained. «The cargo is the whole reason why we are here; this is what pays our salary. Usually, the cargo is more valuable than the vessel itself, so it’s a huge responsibility.»

Jeneis has been working at sea since he was 16, thanks to a scholarship from the Norwegian Shipowner’s Association. The scholarship literally opened a whole new world to him.

«You must be clever, then,» I commented.

«Probably more hardworking than clever,» he answered with a smile. «But of course, you have to pass the exams.»

Among the 22 crew members on board, there is only one woman: May, 30. She has worked for Höegh Autoliners for 5 years and just got promoted to 3rd Officer. May spends most of her time on the bridge, making sure that we reach our destination. She is also responsible for the safety and firefighting equipment onboard.

«I have always liked a challenge,» she said. «I’m a very competitive person, and I’m a strong and independent woman. To me, this is the perfect job. I get to travel around the world for free, and since I don’t spend any money onboard, I can save my salary and help my family at home.»

She hopes that more women will join her onboard:

«Women can do whatever they want. They just have to be strong and believe in themselves.»

Over the course of 50 days, the renowned anthropologist and writer Erika Fatland, known for her insightful depictions in the critically-acclaimed books "Sovietistan" (2014) and "The Border - A Journey Around Russia" (2017), will travel with two of our vessels Höegh Jeddah and Höegh Trooper.

The voyage will take her along the coast of Africa and across the Indian Ocean, all the way to Korea. This journey is part of her research for her upcoming book, "The Navigator. A Journey through the Lost Empire of the Portuguese." The title is inspired by Henry the Navigator, a Portuguese prince who financed maritime expeditions down the African coast in the early 15th century.


Erika Fatland was born in Haugesund in Norway in 1983.

She has an M.A. in social anthropology and speaks 8 languages.

Fatland is the author of a total of 7 books. She had her international breakthrough with Sovietistan (2014), which is translated to 27 languages.

Other notable woks include The Border. A Journey Around Russia (2017) and High. A Journey Across the Himalayas (2020).

10 November 2023

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