Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Pilot Pinky brings home the big one (Marine pilot (Boats))
Not an aviation craft but a ship, but I thought it was interesting.
From Nigerian Daily News: Pilot Pinky brings home the big one
“You feel like you are one in a million, even captains give you a surprised look when you get on board a ship as a female maritime pilot,” said Pinky Zungu, who in the face of the blustery 28 knots winds safely guided the giant container vessel MSC Chicago into Durban harbour yesterday.
Zungu, a mother to a three-year-old boy, Sinothando, who does not yet understand the magnitude of his mother’s achievement of being one of only five female marine pilots in KwaZulu-Natal, said the ship was the largest she had docked.
The MSC Chicago is on her maiden voyage to South Africa.
Zungu, who learnt on Friday that she would be piloting the ship, described the two-hour task as nerve-wracking and requiring a lot of brain work.
“When I was done I felt relieved, it takes a lot of brain work and you can only breathe once the ship has pulled in,” she said.
She said she had no doubts that she could pull it off, but the nerves were still there.
“Despite the nerves I kept calm; you can’t afford to let the nerves play out because when you dock the ship you have to communicate with six people, giving them all different instructions,” she said.
Zungu said she could not have pulled off the task without the support of her family and colleagues.
“I was happy when I was asked to do this, but at the same time I knew it would be a challenge because all eyes were on me. But I believed I could do it, and I did it,” she said.
She said setting course was not hard, but the difficult part came when she had to turn the ship, because “it’s heavy and poweful”. She said this was particularly difficult because the water becomes shallower the closer you get to the harbour mouth.
The Lamontville-born pilot said she hoped the contribution she makes to the industry would inspire other women.
“I hope they can see that if one woman can do it, then they can do it as well.”