Articles tagged with: Strike

Ready for departure

Written by Chris Scheingraber, Maria Tsekhmistrenko on Monday, 24 September 2012. Posted in Cruise 2012

22 September 2012

Looking for our containers.

The French and German scientific teams arrived well on the island of La Reunion. Unfortunately, our departure will be delayed (for a few days?) due to a strike of dockworkers that we learned about on short notice. Since they are supposed to load our equipment on board, the Marion Dufresne is still docking in Le Port de la Réunion. Despite the problems we are facing, the crew and the scientists are in good spirits. We just hope that the strike will end soon so that we can finally start our mission.

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30 scientists in a golden cage

Written by Heiner Igel on Monday, 24 September 2012. Posted in Cruise 2012

24 September 2012

Blogging from a golden cage.

Here we are, ready to fight the open seas and drop down a few dozen seismometers into the abyss of the Indian ocean .... BUT ... the dockworkers decided (after many years for the first time) to go on strike just the day when we were supposed to start loading. And they seem to continue. No end in sight.
Yes. We found "our" four large containers somewhere in the harbor but unfortunately - despite the increasing use of the ship's "gym" (two bikes, rowing machine, running machine, weights) - we do not feel strong enough to carry them to our dock without machine support.
It is day 4 on the ship. With no real task, except waiting. Some sit on the two chairs outside the scientific room with view to the rising slopes of volcanic La Reunion, waiting for the next eruption (Jason), that could be viewed from a comfortable distance. Others go running along the beautiful seashore park after leaving the ports' gate (2 km away from the ship), coming back with ideas for a new seismology rock song (Jean-Paul). It is amazing what the sudden unexpected availability of time can do to you! Marvelous! Inspiring!
What keeps us from jumping overboard in despair are the meals. 12:15 and 19:15. Four courses. Entrée, plats, cheese, dessert. Excellent French cuisine (another reason for the increasing use of the gym). Followed by coffee and discussions on science, the world, our situation, the region. What an opportunity to work with colleagues from La Réunion, Rodrigues, Mauritius, Madagascar, and to learn more about these remote regions!
This situation is dangerous! 30 scientists with lots of time, good food, no internet access? I think there could be some explosive new ideas around the corner!

Free the Marion Dufresne!

Written by Karin Sigloch on Friday, 28 September 2012. Posted in Cruise 2012

27 September 2012

Political action. (Photo by Kasra Hosseini)

We are still in port, blocked by the strike of the harbor workers. Now the deal is that we get the harbor to ourselves, while the striking workers, camped in front of the main gate, are ensuring that nobody disturbs our ship on sabbatical.

Science has been all talk and no action so far (daily seminars, dinner discussions, dreams...). But witnessing much political action around us, we got into it ourselves. Our colleagues from La Réunion spent many hours at the main gate, trying to understand the concerns of the workers, and whether a pragmatic solution for our four blocked containers might be found. We also turned to the island's Prefect, since our experiment represents a major investment of taxpayer's money, and pertains to volcanic risk assessment.

The photo shows an earlier outreach effort in the "Free the Marion Dufresne" series: Wave "Good morning and SOS" to the Prefect. We learned that his helicopter was supposed to survey the scene of the deserted harbor early in the morning, so we also wanted to be seen. We chose the parking lot outside the ship, and white towels for good visual contrast, but the helicopter never appeared.

Yesterday we did manage to make direct contact with the Prefect, got a helpful response, and thought our problem solved – until that hope evaporated again at the harbor gate. Five days after our scheduled departure, our cruise leader can still only dream about scientific action on the seafloor...

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Departure!

Written by Maria Tsekhmistrenko on Saturday, 29 September 2012. Posted in Cruise 2012

28 September 2012

This is what we have been waiting for: 48 ocean bottom seismometers (Picture: Chris Scheingraber).

Anxious waiting, nervous faces all around. But suddenly the tension melts away, gives way to joy. There they are!

Our four containers are finally being released; the harbor workers are pulling up in two big trucks. They have lifted their strike after one week. To say that we are "relieved" would be a gross understatement. After days of forced inactivity, the ship becomes happily busy. Our bulky ocean bottom seismometers are being unloaded from the containers by our technicians, and the ship crew hoists them onto the helicopter deck with cranes. It takes us about three hours, and now only a cyclope could keep us from leaving.

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At 3 p.m. everything is ready for departure. While the pilot is coming onboard and the crew is pulling in the ropes, the scientists are assembling on the superstructure in front, facing the harbor exit and the Indian Ocean. The sky is cloudy, it is drizzling, but nobody minds in the least – we are finally underway!

The harbor episode due to the strike already felt like an odyssey in itself, but now the real work is coming up. Still, we have used to time to get to know each other better and to bond. Our international group should be working together all the better for it.

“It’s déjà vu all over again”

Written by Karin Sigloch on Monday, 08 October 2012. Posted in Cruise 2012

6 October 2012

“It’s KUMing home” – was it them who told the dock workers that the Marion Dufresne would be back in port?

"It's kuming home" -- Was it them who gave away the Marion Dufresne's return to port?


Halfway through the experiment, we were going to stop briefly in La Réunion on October 9, in order to pick up more colleagues and material. And guess what, yesterday the dock workers announced a strike for that day. No joke. This time a nationwide general strike of harbor workers and others.

The human mind tries to make sense of things. The first strikes in 10 years, and both on the only days that we need the dock workers? They must have been missing us, our friends from the dock – longing for another rendez-vous at the harbor gate, no doubt. Has nobody else been talking to them since we left? Who has leaked the plans for our stopover, and how do we plug this leak, given that we'll have to return to port once more at the end of the cruise?

But they blundered, this time by giving us more than 24 hours notice. Yesterday was spent with frantic phone calls and deliberations, a scramble to advance our port visit by one day: to rush in our colleagues from Europe for Leg 2, to accommodate the people leaving, and to design a new deployment route that minimizes the loss of time. Plans for this counterstrike are well advanced: Rendez-vous in Le Port on the 8th – in full working gear!