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A memorable journey
And so, twelve days before Christmas, three hard-bitten colleagues from our Customer Service and Crane Acceptance Departments set off. They were destined for Karimun, one of countless islands in Indonesia. Their task was to provide training and also to erect and hand over one of the largest crawler cranes in the world. Their report: “Unforgettable!”
After the lovely young woman had pushed the coronavirus test stick very conscientiously up his nose towards his throat and noticed the tears forming in Anton Egle’s eyes, she let go, put her hand on his shoulder and said in a calm voice: “Relax, relax!”. It really wasn’t Anton’s first test. “But you never get used to them!”, says the technician.
The Indonesians are very hospitable and working with an international team was really great.
His colleague Erdinc Keceli continues: “We had to travel for around ten days before we actually arrived on Karimun. From Munich, we had a stopover in Doha in Qatar, then we flew to Jakarta in Indonesia where we had to undergo lots of checks and coronavirus tests. We stayed the night, before flying to Batan, quarantine, coronavirus test, wait, second coronavirus test: negative. Then we were finally able to embark on the ship which would take us to our island.”
His colleague Erdinc Keceli continues: “We had to travel for around ten days before we actually arrived on Karimun. From Munich, we had a stopover in Doha in Qatar, then we flew to Jakarta in Indonesia where we had to undergo lots of checks and coronavirus tests.
We stayed the night, before flying to Batan, quarantine, coronavirus test, wait, second coronavirus test: negative. Then we were finally able to embark on the ship which would take us to our island.”
“The only thing that was missing was the actual crane”, says Alexander Röder, the third musketeer. “It had been delayed on its sea journey from the Netherlands. That probably had nothing to do with coronavirus, but it certainly put paid to the timetable. The nerves were stretched to breaking point.”
It is fascinating to encounter new cultures. Indonesia is an incredibly culturally diverse country. They speak more than 300 different languages there.
After a delay of five days, the ship carrying the giant crane finally arrived at the quayside and the LR 13000 was unloaded on New Year’s Day. The erection work and customer training started. One massive benefit was the fact that the customer’s crane operator had already operated a different LR 13000. That was fairly unusual because we have only ever delivered five of our 3000 tonne cranes. And Anton, Erdinc and Alexander were mostly involved in the erection and commissioning.
“It is always quite special to erect such a massive crane. You can feel the respect the people on site have when they see its impressive dimensions”, says Anton. After 15 long days, which started at 7 in the morning and did not finish until 9 in the evening, the work was completed, alongside temperature measurements and more coronavirus tests. “The Indonesians are very conscientious with the tests. And despite all the precautions, there was always uncertainty. Had we been infected anyway? And how would I get home then? Would I have to go into hospital in a different country? Obviously, that was something we wanted to avoid.”
“As we flew in, the masses of islands created a fascinating panorama. The weather changed extremely quickly, from sunshine to violent monsoon rainfall. Some of the fruits we had never seen before tasted great, but they had a very strong smell.”
The return journey posed a whole new set of challenges, including heavy seas which caused seasickness and, of course, more tests. After six and a half weeks, they finally landed back in Germany. And how did the three of them sum up the experience: “It was fun working with people from foreign cultures. It was a fantastic experience, solving problems together and learning from each other – we’d love to go again, but next time without coronavirus!”
This article was published in the UpLoad magazine 02 | 2021.