Container ships are very large
July 17, 2015 9:41 AM   Subscribe

The New York Times profiles a cargo ship to illustrate the lawbreaking that is common in international, transoceanic shipping.

More on international shipping:
posted by entropone (25 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
Too big to sink?
posted by eustatic at 9:46 AM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


After reading George's book, I found marinetraffic.com and cannot tear my eyes away. The thing that struck me the most, in both places, was how what is considered a large port in the US, Seattle, where I live, is an absolute nothing in global terms. I spend hours just rolling around Singapore and Yangshan, looking at the boats (sorry, ships) and seeing where they've been and where they're headed to.
posted by Fnarf at 10:23 AM on July 17, 2015 [13 favorites]


Thank Fnarf, MarineTraffic.com is amazing!
posted by blue_beetle at 10:33 AM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seconding Rose George's book--it was fascinating and horrifying. The Times series is wonderful.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 10:35 AM on July 17, 2015


Don't thank me, it's in entropone's original post as well.
posted by Fnarf at 10:41 AM on July 17, 2015


just saw this the other day...
Chinese ships sink Vietnam's fishing boat off Hoang Sa (Paracels)
posted by kliuless at 10:47 AM on July 17, 2015


related: the dated, but awesome, true life tales of a contemporary merchant seaman, Looking For A Ship, by John McPhee.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:51 AM on July 17, 2015 [8 favorites]


Weird framing here.

NYT piece is a really gripping examination of horrors and indignities suffered by unfortunate people at the hands of international shipping. The descriptions of the way stowaways are thrown into the sea, forced to walk a plank, or given only the barest chance to survive by being deposited on a "raft" of lashed-together barrels in the middle of the ocean, were horrific and chilling stuff.

So in case you were misled by the combination of the NYT link with "amazing links" thrown together here that are about the "living and breathing glory" of international shipping, be prepared for some bracing and stomach-turning horrors.
posted by jayder at 11:36 AM on July 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


jayder:
the bracing and stomach-tuning horrors are, i believe, placed into important context by the scope of container shipping. this context is that shipping is a huge and dominant but rarely visible component of global economies; that worker abuses are commonplace and that violence is systemic, systematic, and facilitated by flags of convenience.

the links illustrate this.
posted by entropone at 11:58 AM on July 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was going to recommend Looking for a Ship also. It's not really about the shipping industry itself, but it explains a lot about why the shipping industry is where it is now.

My father was in the US Merchant Marine during its long decline from a viable way to the American Dream to where it is today, and sailed on the Lykes Line ship in the book. He was one of the "elderly gentlemen" mentioned in the book, basically.

The book is a good companion piece to the Rose George book - together, they give you an informal history of both American and global shipping.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:00 PM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks, that was well worth reading.
posted by theora55 at 12:47 PM on July 17, 2015


Any chance these may become unmanned and self-piloting in the future?
posted by sourwookie at 12:53 PM on July 17, 2015


Massive Free World Trade is hurting some people. This is my no-longer-able-to-fake-being-surprised face.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:25 PM on July 17, 2015


the links illustrate this.
posted by entropone


It just struck me as a bit off, to follow up a horrific expose of human abuse with a link described as illustrating the "glories" of the same industry
posted by jayder at 3:21 PM on July 17, 2015


Not a container ship, but this video infomercial has a look at the floating liquefied natural gas plant Prelude now going through final assembly. It is 488 meters long and it's engineered to ride out a category 5 hurricane while anchored. (Maybe low down the volume and display subtitles cause the background music ain't too good.)
posted by bukvich at 3:41 PM on July 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


this video infomercial has a look at the floating liquefied natural gas plant Prelude now going through final assembly

watched this muted with In Utero on, and it was good
posted by stinkfoot at 4:45 PM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Any chance these may become unmanned and self-piloting in the future?
Probably eventually, but right now I think most of the shipping crews make less than North American truckers, so probably not until all the domestic transportation drivers are replaced first. Plus alot of the crew is to make sure the ship keeps working, so they would still have jobs for a while longer.
posted by Iax at 7:07 PM on July 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


This has me looking forward to Shane Carruth's next movie The Modern Ocean even more.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 8:49 PM on July 17, 2015


Is there a way around the member login?
posted by uni verse at 9:39 PM on July 17, 2015


Is there a way around the member login?

Er, [cough], yes. I believe there is...

[cough] Mefi Mail [/cough]
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:03 PM on July 17, 2015


blue_beetle: "MarineTraffic.com is amazing!"

It's so interesting! I can see all the poor tugboats backed up behind the locks on my flooded river. We've been hearing about problems with shipping because it's too floody to operate the locks or even safely dock at some of the industrial docks ... and there they are, all stuck at anchor waiting!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:47 AM on July 18, 2015


Any chance these may become unmanned and self-piloting in the future?

Yes! There's a lot of EU funding going into the development of unmanned ship technology, and Rolls Royce is actively working on designs.

Shipping is like farming in that there are very strong forces driving the margins down. But how they propose to get rid of the engineering and maintenance crew I have no idea.
posted by emilyw at 2:19 AM on July 19, 2015


Really wierd framing on this fpp. Firstly it isn't about container ships per se but a reefer ship and stowaways. Could you add a stowaway tag please.
Ghost ships or Drones at Sea are definitely in the offing. The excuse is safety which I think is bullshit as when it goes wrong which it will it will be a total ecological disaster. It's just cost cutting by any means by one of the most parsimonious industries out there.
Ghost ships wonn't solve the stowaway problem, its just that more of the wretched will die of dehydration and starvation.
posted by adamvasco at 6:47 PM on July 19, 2015


The NY Times piece was the first in a series about impunity and human rights abuses in international waters. This is the second installation: Murder at Sea: Captured on Video, but the Killers Go Free

Yes, it's as horrific as it sounds.
posted by lunasol at 4:42 AM on July 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Those ... bunker ships ... they describe are just completely science fiction-y. I can't quite believe they're real.

Then, for extra non-fun, read up on the latest Guardian coverage of slavery in the Thai fishing industry.
posted by aramaic at 2:28 PM on July 20, 2015


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