In 2011 cement expert Keith Hall set off at short notice to the Democratic Republic of Congo to examine the cement cargoes of two vessels arrested by the local authorities due to complaints from the receiver that both consignments were either badly damaged or not in compliance with the descriptions on the bills of lading. In this article Keith charts the progress of his mission. By Keith Hall, Trident Engineering Services International Ltd, UK.
Travelling London-Paris-Kinshasa, all went well until the day after arrival when it was time to move quickly to the first vessel which had spent the last two months without fresh water or supplies and had been sent four miles downriver to the mouth of the Congo.
Leaving Kinshasa from its domestic airport involved passing through ‘immigration’. This proved to be a necessity whenever and wherever travelling around the country by air. In your correspondent’s case, this also meant parting with US$300 as he ‘negotiated’ his passing through or missing his flight!