For over 13 years now, I have worked in the Port of Southampton in the UK, one of the busiest ports for Roll on Roll off, Container and Cruise ships in the country.
In my time at the port I have seen Royal Dignity including Her Majesty the Queen on one of the many ship naming ceremonies, I have seen nuclear submarines and on a weekly basis I have the backdrop of the worlds largest and famous cruise ships such as Cunards Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2, Royal Caribbeans Independance of the Seas as well as P&O’s Oriana, Aurora and Ventura .
The last time we had a nuclear sub in Southampton there was a shooting on board and an officer was killed … that day brought an immense amount of police and armed response units.
This year we have seen the 3 Queens set sail from Southampton for the first time in their history for the Queens Diamond Jubilee.
and we have experienced all 7 P&O cruise ships sailing from Southampton in a convoy for their 175th anniversary.
As well as cruise ships we see Roll on Roll off vessels on a daily basis carrying the thousands of cars around the world including BMW Mini’s, Jaguars and LandRovers. Some of these RoRo vessels can carry 7500 cars!!
We also see some of the worlds largest container ships and Southampton has just been given the go ahead to expand their Western Dock development so that we can incorporate the very largest container vessels.
Since I started my career in the port back in 1999 the port has changed immensely and the Eastern Docks has seen 4 multi storey car parks built with a 5th one in the pipeline to increase the space for all the new vehicles being shipped so the skyline is ever changing. We have seen all the old storage units demolished and we are currently in the middle of a re-vamp affecting half the port.
But Southampton docks is probably most famous as being the port where the Titanic sailed from of course and I work a stones throw from 44-45 berth where the famous ship berthed all those years ago.
Southampton port is certainly not the worst place is the world to work and on a sunny day the view across the water can be breathtaking. The port is draped in history and is ever changing to keep up with the rigourous demands of the shipping industry. We are blessed here in Southampton with having 2 tides which allows vessels to come in and go out on the same day which is a huge incentive for many operators.
We see new vehicles before they are released to the general public and we often see the maiden voyages for many of the cruise ships as well as the last voyages some vessels ever take such as the QE2 which was such a famous sight for years in southampton.
The port run by Associated British Ports is one of the major employers in Southampton so I hope I stay within the industry for many years to come even though we are experiencing extremely tough times in the shipping trade especially on the imports side.
So until change comes my way I will continue to watch the cruise ships pass by the window, continue to work on the Roll on Roll vessels and continue to be a part of this historic port.
Latino 777 – Its our time down here