Freetown is located in a very picturesque setting. Built on hills/mountains that run into the sea, the beauty is evident everywhere you look. Well, almost. One of the great challenges in Africa is garbage disposal and Freetown is no exception. When Nils was there in February he happened to cross paths with the Mayor of the city. Nils asked what his challenges are and he said his top problem is garbage. During the civil war (90s–early 2000s) the city grew from about 500,000 to an estimated 1.5-2.5 million people. Where do you put the people? Where do you put their rubbish? Wherever they want. In Freetown the people put the rubbish in the gutter. Remember, Freetown is built on hills, the gutters have slope and they end at the bay.
So this affects the ship. As the garbage washes out to sea, it stays in the bay for quite some time, much of it sinking. When it collects around the ship it causes problems with the cooling intakes which are under the ship, taking in water to cool the new (6 million $) generators and the air conditioning units (also new).
Normally the ship has divers clean the intakes once or twice a week. If things get bad, then daily. But the situation in Freetown requires 2 to 3 dives each day while the engineers try to come up with a creative way to solve this challenge. With rainy season in full swing, this becomes an even greater challenge.
So the next time you get asked to take out the garbage and want to complain, or you’re tempted to toss something out of your car window, think about Freetown.