10 February 2003

A captain's thoughts

Skippers of cargo ships carry some strange loads in their time. And they get to some interesting and unusual places.
That’s the way it is with Heine Hestoy, skipper and part owner of the Danish cargo vessel, M V Barbara.
But the day he was chartered to take the Dove and Dolphin team and their cargo of food, clothes, medical supplies and raw materials to the port of Ashdod in Israel ranks as one that will stand out in his memory.
And he is full of praise for those who have organised the effort and got it off the ground.
David Halpin, of Haytor, is the driving force behind the mission.
His aim is to raise awareness of suffering – particularly amongst children – around the world.
Not only that. He has put his money where his mouth is and done something about it.
Chartering the Barbara and buying the cargo has cost David and his wife Sue £95,000.
No government, religious organisation, charity or voluntary body is involved in this enterprise.
David’s ambition from the start has been to make this a “citizen to citizen” mission.
When the ship reaches Ashdod, the cargo will be trucked to Gaza. After changing trucks, the goods will be distributed through local networks directly into the hands of the people who need them.
David’s hope is that this mission will spur other ordinary citizens on to mount similar exercises.
Just before they set sail from Torquay in Devon bound for Israel, Capt Hestoy spoke of his feelings.
David Halpin, he says, “is a real, genuine idealist who is demonstrating his beliefs” in organising this mission.
He is proud to be part of an exercise the sole purpose of which is to help people in need.
Capt. Hestoy and his crew were held up in Guernsey for a day in advance of this voyage, due to stormy weather.
Today (Monday) they are calling in at Malta on their first stop since setting out on 1st February.