Most readers will know, to some extent, of the manner in which the materiel, equipment, clothing, many perishable foods and fruit bought either online or on the high street; are transported globally. They are loaded into shipping containers, and crammed on to ever-larger container ships; the latest example is capable of carrying 23,000 containers stacked full in the hold, and reaching ten TEU high for virtually the full length of that enormous vessel.
The photograph featured is of the aftermath of a smaller ship, built to carry 14,000 containers, which, I presume, was sailed through a Force 11 storm without either reducing speed and manoeuvring so as to face into the waves. She is almost brand new, but by the looks of the catastrophe which is the state of the containers, less over some 1,500 which are now floating in the Pacific, the ship was subjected to giant storm-force waves coming virtually broadside on to the ten-high stacks of containers: ripping the steel tie-downs as though they were made of string.
The reasons for this commercial disaster, fortunately without loss of life, are, unfortunately, plainly visible to anyone with the slightest knowledge of global shipping operations. Ther shipping management and leasing companies pay huge sums of cash to speedily procure the cargoes carried by these behemoths, and it is a valiant captain who tells his management that he will have to either take a wide detour around a violent storm, or slow his vessel down, turn his ship into the wind, and wait out the time until the waves subside.
There is only one characteristic, one motivation, which can make a captain depart from the needs of keeping his vessel safe: and that is simply GREED. Greed on the part of the management which pressures that captain to ignore safety, ignore everything but the needs of a greedy Owner or management company. We have had proof of that greed in action just a few years ago: and the ship was called El Faro.