Cover image of Al Jazeera World
(47)
News

Al Jazeera World

Updated about 11 hours ago

News
Read more

A weekly showcase of one-hour documentary films from across the Al Jazeera Network.

Read more

A weekly showcase of one-hour documentary films from across the Al Jazeera Network.

iTunes Ratings

47 Ratings
Average Ratings
31
7
3
4
2

English Dubbing

By Leahnybree - Oct 22 2018
Read more
Please include English dubbing!

Love it

By spencerlennard - Jun 23 2018
Read more
Thank you for the best global coverage!

iTunes Ratings

47 Ratings
Average Ratings
31
7
3
4
2

English Dubbing

By Leahnybree - Oct 22 2018
Read more
Please include English dubbing!

Love it

By spencerlennard - Jun 23 2018
Read more
Thank you for the best global coverage!
Cover image of Al Jazeera World

Al Jazeera World

Latest release on Feb 26, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail about 11 hours ago

Rank #1: Catalan leader Quim Torra: 'Independence of Catalonia will come' | Talk to Al Jazeera

Podcast cover
Read more
Catalonia is a region in the northeast of Spain that is partially autonomous, but in recent years, independence sentiments have risen among Catalans.

Two years ago, Carles Puigdemont, the former leader of the regional government, challenged Madrid and called for a referendum. The unofficial referendum went ahead on October 1, 2017, and the conflict escalated.

There was a violent police crackdown with batons and rubber bullets used against voters. But when the ballots were counted Puigdemont claimed an overwhelming victory for secession. Puigdemont announced Catalonia's independence from Spain on October 27, 2017, but the declaration was suspended just eight seconds later, and instead he invited Madrid for dialogue.

The invitation was not accepted as Madrid considered the referendum illegal and the then-Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy invoked constitutional powers and fired Puigdemont and his Cabinet.

The deposed Catalan president fled to Belgium. Members of his government were taken into custody, including Puigdemont's number two, Oriol Junqueras. He was sentenced to 13 years for sedition and misuse of public funds.

In May 2018, Catalonia's parliament elected Quim Torra, a close ally of Puigdemont, as the new Catalan president.

Torra has continued with the pro-independence agenda. The Spanish electoral authority demanded he take down all separatist symbols from the government's headquarters. He did so but only after a court deadline had expired. Torra is now expected to be tried for disobedience on November 18.

While most of the pro-independence protests have been non-violent, there were scenes of violence following the sentencing of the nine Catalan leaders in October which enraged many people. Torra has been criticised for being slow in condemning violent pro-independence protests, but he says it's just an argument used by the opposition.

"The violence is not compatible with the independence process of Catalonia. It doesn't represent us," Torra tells Al Jazeera.

"The situation now is very complicated ... People are angry because of the sentence against our colleagues ... We have to come back to what is the essence of the conflict of Catalonia. We have to find a political solution for this political issue that the Catalans want to decide for themselves their own future."

Torra says he is trying to talk to Spanish prime minister Sanchez every day to suggest serious negotiations about the future of Catalonia.

"From the Catalan government side, we are going to put on the table what we think could be the solution to the conflict. That is an agreed referendum, internationally validated, in order to give to the Catalan people to say if they want to be independent or not." Torra says. "And we strongly encourage the government of Spain to put their solution on this table of negotiations. That way, negotiations can start ... What is Spain offering to Catalonia?"

While pro-independence protests continue in the region of Catalonia, Spain held a general election last week. The political crisis in Catalonia was one of the focal points for all candidates. Pedro Sanchez's Socialists emerged the winner, but far-right Vox party also made substantial gains.

"This is maybe the worst problem that Spain has now, the rise of fascism in Spain. When you see the results of the general elections ... you see how important Vox is in Spain, but how unimportant Vox is in Catalonia. So who has the problem with Vox? ... We will urge the political parties in Spain to find a solution for this very critical issue," says Torra.

So, what does this all mean for Catalonia on the way forward? And what does the future hold in store for President Torra after his upcoming appearance in court?

"The independence of Catalonia will come. It's something that nobody will stop ... We are going to exercise the right of self-determination again. But we have learned something from the previous year ... The idea is, let's be stronger, let's build this great consensus between all of us, and let's go then with this horizon of exercising our right of self-determination," Torra says.

The president of the regional government of Catalonia, Quim Torra, talks to Al Jazeera.

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Nov 16 2019

24mins

Play

Rank #2: Iraq: In the shadow of US-Iran tensions | Talk to Al Jazeera In the Field

Podcast cover
Read more
Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated in early January after US President Donald Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani.

The attack also killed Iraq's Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iran-backed militias known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF).

In response, Iran fired more than a dozen missiles at two US bases.

All of that was happening on Iraqi soil, a nation once again caught up between a regional giant and a military superpower.

Trump is adamant that the attack was "self-defence" and that Soleimani posed an imminent threat - which was contradicted by Iran and the Iraqi prime minister.

And Iran says it's delivered "a slap in the face" with a missile strike which will usher in the end of US presence in the Middle East.

So is the latest US-Iran crisis really over? Will the US heed calls for its forces to leave Iraq?

Al Jazeera was given rare access to the sprawling Ain al-Assad base after the Iranian strike. We asked the US-led coalition if the threats from Iran-backed militias still loom. And in a rare TV appearance, Mohammad Mohie, spokesman of the Iran-backed Shia paramilitary group Kataib Hezbollah, talks to Al Jazeera.

Asked about the US government calling Kataib Hezbollah a threat to Iraq's peace and security, Mohie says: "We are Iraqis and from Iraqi soil. We have confronted US troops; they were occupation troops according to the UN. After 2003, the US troops were occupation troops so it was the right of the Iraqi people to resist. And with our joint efforts we expelled US troops. So the return of the US troops to this area is stirring problems by inciting violence and supporting terrorist groups and Takfiris. Those groups threaten the security of the region, this is the main reason for instability in the Middle East and it is the main threat to everyone’s security. We are the sons of this area, we have the right to defend it, to live in it peacefully."
- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Jan 30 2020

25mins

Play

Rank #3: Essam Heggy on the Nile: 'Great river but in a challenging place' | Talk to Al Jazeera

Podcast cover
Read more
The Nile River, at 7,000 kilometres (4,350 miles), is Africa's longest river. Its waters run through 11 countries and for the 280 million people living alongside its banks, the Nile symbolises life itself. Just as it did for those who settled along the river centuries ago.

Some fear if the dispute is not resolved, the Nile will dry up. One of the loudest voices fighting to save the river, explains exactly what is at stake.

Dr Essam Heggy, a scientist from the University of Southern California and member of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, talks to Al Jazeera and explains the significance of the Nile River.

"The Nile River is a very unique ecosystem, it's a very unique hydrological system, it is a very unique water body on our plane," Heggy says, explaining that the Nile is the only giant river that goes from the South to North and through five different climatic zones.

He also points out that the Nile is one of the oldest and most unique ecosystems on the planet.

"The Nile River is twenty to thirty million years old. Today we don't know how we can make rivers flow in a constant way for this amount of time … its existence helps us understand the Earth's evolution."

But a huge new project in Ethiopia has triggered a big dispute with Egypt and scientists are warning construction of the Renaissance Dam, aimed at boosting Ethiopia's electricity source, could cause irreversible damage, not only in Egypt but the entire region.

"It's a great river but in a very challenging place," Heggy says.

"This whole conception that you can suffocate the Nile, and yet benefit out of its resources, from the environmental perspective, it is wrong."

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Feb 01 2020

25mins

Play

Rank #4: President Jovenel Moise: What is next for Haiti? | Talk to Al Jazeera

Podcast cover
Read more
Haiti was the first black republic in the 19th century, created by a revolution that overthrew slavery maintained by French colonial rule.

But independence came at a cost, and Haiti had to pay billions in compensation which left the country bankrupt since its creation.

Added to the nation's bankruptcy, high levels of inequality and poverty have persisted over the years, and political attempts to fight corruption have not ended well.

Jean Bertrand Aristide, the country's first democratically-elected president in 1994, was removed from office twice when he confronted the country's elite.

In 2010, a powerful 7.0 earthquake left the country destroyed and killed between 200,000 and 300,000 people. The earthquake left over 1.5 million people displaced and the international community saw the disaster as an opportunity to rethink foreign aid.

But little has changed in Haiti, a decade after the devastating earthquake.

Haiti's President Jovenel Moise talks to Al Jazeera about reconstruction efforts and what is next for the country.

"We must not confuse the post-earthquake crisis with the socio-economic crisis that we are currently going through in Haiti. The socio-economic crisis is a permanent crisis.The state we have today is a predatory state that is governed by a few corrupt oligarchs who seek to control the key areas of development," Moise explains.

Over $13bn were pledged to help Haiti recover from the earthquake. But only half of that money was released, according to the UN, and Haitians only received half of the money they were promised by donors led by the United States. Much of the funds were spent on short-term programmes to assist people with food, water and healthcare.

"This money should have been spent on building villages around Port-au-Prince, villages which would provide homes for I would say, tens of thousands of families. In terms of results, no reconstruction has actually taken place and I am someone who believes in lasting structural development," says Moise.

Last year thousands took to the streets to protest against corruption, demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moise.

"Today it is as if I am being crucified, people are shouting: 'Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!'," Moise says arguing that he has been fighting against corruption despite the accusations from protesters.

Moise was mentioned in a corruption scandal involving the PetroCaribe fund, a strategic oil alliance signed with Venezuela where Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, bought subsidised oil from Venezuela. The Haitian government was supposed to use the extra money for social programmes and to advance the economy.

But billions from the fund were embezzled by those in charge and President Moise was mentioned in a 600-page investigation.

"I was placed on a cross and I descended from it to talk to the people to tell them that is was not my aim to work against them and now the people are beginning to understand," he says.

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Jan 25 2020

24mins

Play

Rank #5: Yemen: The Last Lunch | Al Jazeera World

Podcast cover
Read more
Details surrounding the political assassination of Ibrahim al-Hamdi, president of North Yemen, in 1977 are stranger than fiction.

Al-Hamdi, viewed by many as a reformer and modernist, came to power in a bloodless coup in June 1974 at a time when Yemen was divided into two countries: North Yemen, where al-Hamdi was president and Marxist South Yemen. As a moderniser, al-Hamdi pushed for Yemeni unification and was due to travel to Aden to meet with his southern counterpart in October 1977.

Two days before that meeting was due to take place, al-Hamdi was invited to lunch at the home of his army commander Ahmed al-Ghashmi. On arrival, al-Hamdi was taken past the dignitaries and brought to a room where on the floor lay the body of his brother. According to an eyewitness, al-Hamdi was then murdered at the scene.

The exact details of his death remain a mystery. Some claim he was shot dead in a drive-by shooting. A more lurid account places al-Hamdi's body and that of his brother alongside those of two young French women, who some speculate may have been spies, high class escorts, or both. While nobody was ever charged with the murder, the list of suspects included two future Yemeni presidents, tribal enemies opposed to al-Hamdi's erosion of their power and forces loyal to neighbouring Saudi Arabia, who vigorously denied involvement in the murder.

The assassination of al-Hamdi still resonates today. More than 40 years on, his family and supporters still search for answers. And with few witnesses left alive, calls for accountability and closure are more pressing than ever.

Yemen: The Last Lunch traces the events leading up to Ibrahim al-Hamdi's murder and how his death steered the course of a country deeply divided.

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Jan 29 2020

47mins

Play

Rank #6: The Shame of My Name | Al Jazeera World

Podcast cover
Read more
Filmmaker: Sameh Mejri

The Shame of my Name is the story of how some Algerians during the colonial period were forced to change their names by French colonial authorities at the time. Many of the names these Algerians were forced to carry hold demeaning and even vulgar meanings.

The burden of these forced names is still carried by some Algerians to this day.

The names were in the local Algerian Arabic dialect and cover a range of vulgar words, including descriptions of bodily functions and genitalia.

In this film, we meet several of these individuals whose families were forced to carry names which translate as "Arse," "Runny Nose" and even more offensive monikers. One contributor finds her name so offensive that she cannot bring herself to utter it. She has since changed her name.

“I go home and rest my head on the pillow. I pray to God to rid me of that ugly name which had become a curse in my everyday life,” Messaoud Bakhti tells Al Jazeera.

Bakhti’s forefathers were forcibly called "Gahroum" which in the Algerian dialect means "Arse" - a name having nothing to do with the heritage of his ancestors.

In 1882, 50 years after the French colonisation of Algeria, the French introduced the Civil Status Law. This allowed the authorities to impose approved names on Algerians arbitrarily. The decree stated that names would be in the “European style”, with a first name followed by the family name, which was quite different from traditional Muslim names.

But beyond this, the law was frequently interpreted by some officials in ways that demeaned and insulted Algerians. And assigning European-style names to Algerians, whether offensive or not, had another important side effect. It muddied the waters of land ownership, making it difficult for some Algerians to prove their rightful title to their land.

All of which means that now the spotlight is on France, with many Algerians saying that it is the responsibility of the French government and theirs alone, to pick up the pieces of this particular French colonial policy.

Some say a full apology is long overdue and that reparations should be paid.

“Yes, the French colonisers are responsible for this. But I also believe post-independent Algeria is responsible too,” Amel Ali Lhadfi, a former victim of obscene naming, says.

She believes Algerian authorities could make it easy to settle this problem if they wanted to or at least the process should not take such a long time.

"Whoever decides to change their name has to realise it may take 10 years.”

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Jan 22 2020

47mins

Play

Rank #7: Fayez al-Sarraj on arms, war and peace in Libya | Talk to Al Jazeera

Podcast cover
Read more
With Libya's civil war now in its sixth year, world leaders gathered at a summit in Berlin in an attempt to restore stability and peace to Libya.

The summit was aimed at a stronger commitment from world powers and regional actors to non-interference in the oil-rich North African state and to genuinely support a fragile ceasefire.

All participating parties pledged to respect a UN-imposed arms embargo that has so far failed to stop an influx of troops, money and weapons to the country.

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, who leads the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, and renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar, who heads the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), attended the talks, but not in the same room.

"The main cause of the Libyan crisis is the hostile foreign interventions," Fayez al-Sarraj told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview.

"Violations to the arms embargo have been taking place for years. This is what led the opposition to believe that they have military power and pushed them away from finding a political solution. This is because of its excessive military and security support."

Al-Sarraj says a political solution is the only way to end the conflict and that they don't want to become "another Syria or a source of conflict or a proxy war on Libyan soil".

"We know that some countries, including Russia, have interests and ambitions in Libya ... We wonder why the UAE is building a military base in eastern Libya, sending its planes and supporting one side at the expense of the other ... It is not correct to recognise a party and then support the other party the way they are doing it."

"Libya, in its current situation, leads to security problems and terrorism, uncontrolled borders and violence. This can impact neighbouring countries, too," he warned. "Everyone is now talking about stopping the flow of arms to Libya. We hope that this will be the last conference. And hopefully, the Libyan crisis will finally be resolved."

Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj talks to Al Jazeera about the Berlin summit, foreign interference in Libya and his hopes for the future.
- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Jan 22 2020

24mins

Play

Rank #8: Arabs Abroad: The Doctor and the Oilman | Al Jazeera World

Podcast cover
Read more
Filmmaker: Nasser Farghaly

Stories of Arab emigration often focus solely on refugees fleeing war and persecution. But this is only part of a much wider story. Over decades, millions of people from the Arab world have emigrated - some driven by conflict and persecution, others for economic and family reasons, settling in Europe, Australia, the Americas and Africa.

Al Jazeera World with a series of films titled Arabs Abroad sources emigration success stories from all parts of the world. While each documentary is different, common to all is the effort involved with migration as well as the connection between the diaspora and their Arab roots.

The Doctor

Dr Pedro Tobias is a Lebanese gynaecologist turned politician in Brazil. Tobias moved from France to Brazil in 1979 to work as a doctor in Bauru, a city northwest of Sao Paulo whose most famous son is legendary footballer Pele.

"I haven't yet mastered the language like its native speakers," Tobias says.

In addition to being breast cancer specialist, Tobias entered Brazilian politics not, he says, for personal gain but to build a new hospital for his adopted community.

"Being a doctor is my life. Anyone can become a politician but not everyone can operate on patients."

Tobias has now built three hospitals and is a former regional president of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party. The film charts the choices he faces when supporting a candidate for Brazil's highest office, choices with the potential to alter his life profoundly.

The Oilman

Iraqi geologist Farouk al-Kasim became a pioneer of the Norwegian oil industry after he travelled from Iraq to Norway five decades ago.

He was seeking specialist medical treatment for his baby son.

"I ended up in Norway by chance. When my youngest son was born he needed medical treatment that wasn't available in Iraq. Doctors told me they couldn't treat him and I had to find another way," al-Kasim says.

Back in 1968, there were very few foreigners in Norway and he struggled to settle.

"Norway was like an island where people weren't used to seeing foreigners in their country."

But that changed dramatically with the discovery of vast North Sea oil reserves. Al-Kasim advised the Norwegians on how best to develop their natural resources and 40 years on, they have achieved what many countries have failed to do, using oil to create jobs in a blue-chip industry without damaging the environment. The documentary reveals how a softly spoken Iraqi geologist became a pivotal player in an oil boom that has delivered a trillion-dollar windfall for the people of Norway.

As a result, al-Kasim has a place in national history, honoured as a hero of Norway's economic success.

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Nov 27 2019

47mins

Play

Rank #9: 'Not an invasion': Turkey's Hulusi Akar on Syria operation | Talk to Al Jazeera

Podcast cover
Read more
In October 2019, Turkey launched a military operation in northeast Syria to drive the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) back from its border.

Dubbed Operation Peace Spring, Turkey's push was also aimed at establishing a "safe zone" stretching at least 30km (19 miles) into Syria to resettle some of the 3.6 million refugees it currently hosts.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Turkish Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar discusses the operation in northeast Syria, Turkey's cooperation with Russia and Iran and Ankara's strained relations with the United States and NATO following the purchase of the S-400 air defence system from Moscow.

The military operation in northeast Syria was condemned by the US, a NATO ally, and members of the international community, but for Ankara it was seen as necessary to ensure national security. The SDF is dominated by the People's Protection Units (YPG), labelled "terrorists" by Ankara because of its ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting the Turkish state for decades.

"Our only wish, our only goal, our only effort is towards the security of our country. Who from? The YPG, the PKK, terrorists and Daesh (ISIL, or ISIS). Our goal is to establish the security of our borders and our people," Akar tells Al Jazeera.

"This is not an invasion in any way. This is not an attack in any way. It is only an operation launched against terrorists and terrorism."

Akar says if a peace corridor is established, it may enable people to voluntarily and safely return to their homes.

"Yes, our president has been reiterating this issue for two or three years now," Akar says, referring to Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "He has been making calls on the US and Europe and he articulated many times that the creation of a safe zone is very important, vital for Syrians and that is the most reasonable, rational and humane way."

Akar says that with the repatriation of Syrians, "it will be possible for them to start a new life, and this, in return, will significantly contribute to peace, stability and the normalisation of all conditions, I believe."

Responding to criticism that civilians were targeted during the military push, Turkey's third in northern Syria, Akar says: "These claims about our operations targeting the civilians are against all facts. This is an unbelievable issue, because it's not the first time we conduct operations, not the first time we fight against terror."

He adds: "What we are doing here ... is not arbitrary. We are not acting disrespectfully to any other party's territorial integrity. This is an activity we have been undertaking for the security of our country and to make sure peace is built for the whole region."

Asked whether Turkey is still determined to activate the S-400 air defence system, the purchase of which has created a diplomatic crisis with the US and NATO, Akar says Ankara's position has been "very clear" from the onset.

"Our president has shared the attitudes, actions and plans by the Republic of Turkey or what we have done or will do, with the rest of the world.

"By the end of 1990s, we have started to scrutinise on-air missile systems to enable the air and missile defence of our county and nation, and have exerted efforts to have them procured and supplied. Yet due to various reasons, we have had a delay on these activities. In particular, when the Syrian crisis emerged in 2011, it became a must for us to own air defence missile systems. Following that, we continued with our efforts intensively. However, the talks we held with the US and in Europe and the activities for procurement unfortunately couldn't help make it happen."

Akar adds: "Upon experiencing these all, it became apparently more clear that we were in need of a permanent air missile defence system. For this reason, we accelerated our supply-related activities and identified certain criteria. Within the framework of this criteria, we made contacts with Europe, the US and with Russia. The right response for these criteria came from the Russians. Therefore, that is how this started. It was a necessity."

He says that the S-400 air defence system will be a "standalone system" that will not be integrated with other NATO systems.

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Nov 23 2019

25mins

Play

Rank #10: Suez: The Yellow Fleet trapped by the 1967 Arab-Israeli War | Al Jazeera World

Podcast cover
Read more
This is the story of fourteen cargo ships accidentally caught up in the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war, and stuck in the Suez Canal while it remained closed for eight years.

While their crews managed to maintain them, their decks became so covered in sand over time that they gradually merged with the landscape and were nicknamed "The Yellow Fleet". This film tells this unusual story through the eyes of the crews who manned the ships, on and off, for eight years.

"I had an experience which I will never ever forget. I was 19 years old at the time. And it was quite a surprise to find myself right in the middle of a war, at the front seat, literally," Peter Richmond, who was on board the Agapenor in 1967, tells Al Jazeera.

When the guns fell silent at the end of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Egypt closed the Suez Canal and while passenger ships were allowed to complete their journeys, cargo vessels were forced to remain, drop anchor and simply wait.

Geopolitics and war brought together cargo vessels from the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Sweden, France, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria and the United States into an accidental, international flotilla assembled in a wide section of the Suez Canal known as the Great Bitter Lake. The crews realised that their best option would be to create a spirit of international cooperation, in stark contrast to events in the wider world. So they established a club, the Great Bitter Lake Association, whose remit was to inject some much-needed humour into a difficult situation.

The crews began to devise ingenious ways to make life on board less uncomfortable and established their own unofficial, mini-country, with its own traditions, sporting competitions, and even postage stamps.

They developed a barter system between ships, trading cargos, meat for fruit and prawns for eggs. They even staged their own Olympic Games.

"The idea came mainly from everyone, driven by our desire to do something. We heard about the Olympics so decided we'd do the same on our ships. We had games like weightlifting, high jump, sailing and football. There were prizes and medals for the winners. I kept a silver medal I received for a sailing competition," Uwe Carstens, former sailor on the Nordwind, says.

In 1975, the Suez Canal was finally reopened but inertia had caused the engines to seize up and all but two ships had to be towed out of the waterway. Both German vessels started on first try, their turbines turning the propellers and setting them on course for Hamburg. In doing so, they set a record for the longest sea shipping voyage in history: Eight years, 3 months and 5 days.

- Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe
- Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish
- Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera
- Check our website: https://www.aljazeera.com/

Nov 20 2019

47mins

Play