In the early morning, on the calm Pacific Ocean, the large container ship driven by Li Min was drifting, waiting to dock.
The ship is expected to dock at the Port of Oakland in 2 days, but judging from the weather map, a moderate-intensity low-pressure storm with a wind force of magnitude 8 and a maximum wave height of 11 meters is approaching the west coast of the United States. “The storm will pass at 18:00 UTC in 2 days, which happens to be the piloting time on my ship.”
53-year-old Li Min is an ocean-going expatriate captain who has been engaged in maritime transportation for 31 years. In one year, he spends half of his time floating on the sea with his ship, and his ship carries a variety of goods between China and all over the world. At sea, he can always encounter some strange sights—sudden fog in Seattle, rainbows over the Pacific Ocean, dazzling sunsets in the Indian Ocean, and rare dragons sucking water…Although he is already an “old captain”, every time he encounters meteorological wonders , He still couldn’t help but lament the strange charm of nature, and recorded them with the camera to share with more people.
Of course, it’s not always good. Like this storm encountered on the west coast of the United States, although the whole ship was fully prepared, the strong wind still brought the ship a maximum roll of 20 degrees left and right, lost a pilot chair, and broke the captain’s cup. Li Min The sunset that was originally planned to be photographed also failed to materialize.
Li Min made this storm experience into a video and uploaded it to his Douyin account “Captain Li’s Notes”. The funny explanation not only let netizens know what to do when a large ship encounters such a situation, but also made the captain “joke” “. A netizen commented on this video: “You gently blow the sea breeze, gently shake the waves, let our captain sleep well.”
From Land Boy to Senior Captain
The biggest goal of every seafarer is actually to become a captain. For every navigator, captain is a respectful title. Even if someone leaves the post of captain, no matter where they go or on what occasion, the most prominent title on their business cards is still captain. This is the totem deep in their hearts.
Last year, Li Min participated in the compilation and publication of four training materials for the seafarer’s competency examination of China’s sea-going ships, which were used as teaching materials for undergraduates of Dalian Maritime University. It is worth mentioning that Dalian Maritime University is a well-known maritime institution in my country, known as the “cradle of navigators”. At the same time, he was officially rated as a senior captain and became one of the top 100 senior captains in China.
It has been 17 years since Li Min was promoted from an intern to captain.
Li Min is from Tianjin. Although he lives along the coast, he has never been on a boat before going to university. Unlike most seafarers who are engaged in this industry because of their ancestors or relatives, Li Min is the “first” in his family, which is the result of mistakes when filling out the volunteers for the college entrance examination.
In the 1980s, computers were the representative of advanced productive forces, and some forward-looking people regarded computer majors as the main direction of future employment. Li Min was no exception, but unexpectedly, due to a slight difference in scores, he was transferred to the second choice of the same school—navigation major.
The cargo ship driven by Li Min leaves the port
Although I have no idea about the nautical profession, I heard from the older generation that this industry is difficult beyond ordinary people’s imagination. Especially for him who grew up on land. In the summer vacation of his sophomore year, the school arranged a more than one-month sea awareness study, which was an important practical teaching link for students majoring in navigation, and it was the first time for Li Min to board a ship. He still remembers that it was a coal boat, and after the boat docked, he came down to take a walk on land, but his legs didn’t work, “like stepping on cotton”.
But he himself is very open-minded. He can’t say that he loves what he does, but at least he is good at what he does. Now that he has chosen, he should adapt to it. It was this “thinking about it” that led him to a sailing career. In July 1992, Li Min graduated from Tianjin University of Technology Maritime Transport College. He was assigned to work in a state-owned enterprise, and welcomed his first assignment as an intern in a shipowner company in Taiwan, China.
“A trainee just does everything.” Recalling that experience, Li Min can still think that at that time he not only had to learn how to adapt to life on board, but also followed his master to the bridge to learn the use of navigational instruments and the basics of navigation. Knowledge, after all, what you learn in school is theory, but you have to face it with “real swords and guns” when you get on the boat.
In Li Min’s view, seafarers are the profession of the brave. To become a qualified seafarer requires solid professional knowledge, super hands-on ability and good psychological quality. At the same time, it is necessary to maintain a continuous learning attitude in order to adapt to new challenges. and change. In this way, after 13 years of drifting at sea, Li Min has been continuously promoted from a seafarer trainee to the third mate, second mate, first mate, and was named captain in 2006.
In May of this year, Li Min began to take charge of the world’s largest container ship – Evergreen A-class ship. Because in China’s foreign trade, 90% of cargo transportation is done by sea transportation, so sea transportation is an indispensable part. The ship that Li Min is in charge of is also constantly transporting domestic goods out and bringing in foreign goods.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that the things you buy in the supermarket are probably shipped by my ship.” Li Min said with a smile, this is an act that benefits Wanjia, and it is also a sense of pride for himself as a navigator.
In China’s foreign trade, 90% of cargo transportation is done by ocean transportation
The Fascination of the Nautical World
In a video posted at the top of Li Min’s Douyin account @李航长记者, he mentioned an outrageous incident.
A fan told him that someone downloaded his video, posted it on other platforms, and pretended to be the captain of the ship, defrauding the fan of several thousand yuan in intermediary fees on the grounds that he could provide a chance to board the ship. It is precisely because everyone lacks understanding of the maritime industry that people with ulterior motives can take advantage of it.
This incident once again made Li Min, the serving captain, deeply aware of the importance of popularizing sailing knowledge. On the other hand, it also verified from the side that because of his popularization of navigation knowledge, everyone ignited their yearning for the marine industry.
But when everyone obtained relevant knowledge from the online world, he saw someone pretending to be the captain and telling some false sailing knowledge. He felt incomprehensible and angry. Determined to take pictures of the real nautical world and spread the word.
At the beginning of 2020, Li Min began to post videos on Douyin and became the first person to do sailing science popularization for the captain. His profile on Douyin is “Real shots of sailing science popularization, walk into the life of the crew, travel across the ocean to see the world, real travel notes of various countries”.
In the video, he seldom appears on camera, but with the unique amused tone of Tianjin people, he can always make the boring content interesting. Netizens can also expand what he didn’t say under his video, and help each other to popularize science.
Influenced by some literary works and film and television dramas, in many people’s minds, life at sea is depressing, with no signal, poor food, and many dangers at sea. But what is the real situation?
Li Min pointed his camera at the large freighter he was in charge of, with a rare view of the bridge, a cabin corridor that seems to be endless, a huge ship engine, and a cabin that can arouse the appetite of netizens every time. back kitchen.
In a video showing the invisible welfare of the crew, Li Minshi filmed a transaction process with the Beihai Water Pilot Station. They bought 40 kilograms of king crabs, and set up a barbecue on the deck, grilling sausages, prawns, and warts. Ax steak, pork belly, and turkey, while eating, the sea breeze blows, the blue water is under your feet, and the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands is gradually moving away. Netizens commented like this with “the meal is arrogant”.
In this video, Li Min tells how the crew’s meals are $12 a day
As for the life of seafarers at sea, with the development of international maritime container transportation and the advancement of shipbuilding technology, more and more new ships and large ships with advanced equipment are put into operation, and the life of seafarers is not what it used to be. For example, on Li Min’s container ship, every seafarer has an independent room with the most advanced communication equipment, and can make WeChat video calls anywhere in the world at will.
This first-person shooting perspective not only allows the audience to experience the real life of the crew, but also arouses more people’s desire to explore navigation knowledge. He once filmed the whole process of the big ship from unanchoring to driving on the main channel in the video, and mentioned that the pilot is inseparable. Pilots, also known as pilots, are nautical technicians who are responsible for guiding ships to sail safely in a certain navigation area, dock and leave docks or pass through locks and other restricted waters. Li Min told the story of meeting a pilot who didn’t like cigarettes but prawns when he was crossing the Suez Canal, so he popularized the specific work of the pilot.
Feedback from netizens makes him very happy. He will look through every comment and give a thumbs up to every comment he finds interesting. If there is any nautical knowledge that he wants to know in the comments, he will respond to his request and continue to popularize science.
So far, he has released more than 500 videos on Douyin, not only to popularize the knowledge of navigation and the real life of seafarers, but also to analyze maritime cases and record the captain’s logbook. He has gained nearly 500,000 fans and tens of millions of views.
at sea and on the road
Because of the special nature of his work, Li Min spends half of the year at sea and half of the time at home.
As long as he is at sea, if it is not an emergency that requires a captain, he spends all his “spare time” shooting and making videos. Li Min can take pictures wherever he goes, such as ship departure, bridge inspection, communication with pilots, chef Ah Zheng cooking, and even the locker room on the ship. popular science video footage.
As a novice, Li Min started shooting and editing with a mobile phone, and it took him a long time to finish editing. Now that he bought a pocket camera, he has a fixed style in topic selection, editing, and operation. He has been exploring for more than three years. Although people are full of yearning for the mysterious career of sailors, they are not familiar with real ocean sailing, and they may even be reluctant to open it because it is unpopular and boring.
For this reason, Li Min thought that he could not do any tricks with the knowledge of navigation science, so he made a breakthrough from the operation of self-media. For example, the setting of the title and the setting of the cover, “Did you know that the first sentence of this title is very important. Everyone’s first impression and the whole title are on this first sentence.”
“I feel like a toddler. I have stumbled to the present, but I still want to continue to popularize science and spread the knowledge of ocean voyages to everyone.” Li Min also hopes to continue to popularize science. He is still learning how to do better How to operate, how to edit, what pictures and content are more interesting to everyone.
A corner of the captain’s study shown by Li Min in the Douyin video
In Li Min’s view, the harvest that he has been engaged in for more than 30 years in sailing work can be summed up in three key words: caution, vision and companionship. Prudence is the overall view of the captain; vision is the insight brought to him by work. For so many years, he has traveled all over the world with the ship, “now only New Zealand has never been to it”; company is always at home every time on vacation, always cherish it more Accompanying the family.
His many years of ocean voyage stories constitute the background of his popularization of sailing knowledge. It is also with the help of the Internet and short video platforms such as Douyin that this “unpopular” subject that is far away from the public and full of imagination can have the opportunity to reach more people.
July 11 is my country’s 19th sailing day. Today in 2005 is the 600th anniversary of the Chinese navigator Zheng He’s voyages to the Western Seas. Zheng He’s seven voyages to the Western Seas opened the prelude to mankind’s journey to the ocean. Therefore, this day is also designated as my country’s Sailing Day.
People always think that the sea is mysterious. In fact, the impression of the nautical industry is also mysterious. They want to know but feel that they understand it far away. This highlights the value of industry knowledge and science. The category should go out of the circle from the imagined situation, present it in front of the public more truly, let more people understand, like, love and be willing to participate in it, even if it is to re-change people’s perception of the industry, it must start from ” Learn” to start.
There is no “going ashore” for navigation science popularization. Only by working hard can we reach everyone’s ideal shore. (Liu Rui)