By 1lt. Kristoffer Egeberg
- As the sun rises in the horizon, Ploce harbour is bursting with activity.
German, Italian and French trucks are lined up, forklifts ready to move,
men ready to work. All are waiting for the Sea Centurion to arrive.
A 12350-ton Royal Navy freight vessel on her way from Split.
French, Italian, and German SFOR land-crabs as audience, the sailors
skillfully manoeuvre the Sea Centurion around and in to the dock. Like
tightly parking a car, she glides into position with narrow precision.
As the huge stern door opens, the roar of 18 trucks starting up fills
the air. Within a couple of hours 408 tons of equipment must be disembarked.
120 truckloads with containers and bridges, belonging to the Material
Management Unit (MMU), moving from North Port in Split to Ploce.
will be no problems. I've prepared all my trucks and forklifts",
says Capt. Marc Pierrard. He commands the Multinational Platoon manning
the NATO Balkans Main Port in Ploce. It consists of a French detachment
from the Logistic Battalion in Mostar, and an Italian APAF cell. For
this task, reinforced with nine trucks and 22 soldiers from the German/Austrian
Transport Company in Rajlovac.
trying to identify the loads from a distance, making sure we don't mix
the different bridge-parts", he laughs, desperately trying to flag
down a truck he just sent in the wrong direction. The MMU has seven
different types of bridges at the moment, and can not afford to stack
them wrong. Designated as the Balkan Bridge Unit, everything must be
in perfectly order.
is a very slick operation. Our new neighbours (Multinational Platoon)
are doing a lot for us. They are very skilled and professional, and
they are going to teach me French when the movement is over", smiles
the MMU director.
had hoped to get more on the ship, but time worked against us. For the
time being, this seems like the only ship-movement we will get. The
rest will be a task for the HELBA-group from the Multinational Integrated
Logistic Unit (MILU) at Visoko", says Mr. Brown. 80 Truckloads
are planned before Christmas, and the rest 300 between the 3rd of January
and the 15th of February.