Friday, March 26, 2021

You're Just Like Suez Traffic, So Hard To Float Through to You

(Update 3/28/21: Thanks to Infidel753 for adding this article to his Sunday blog round-up!) 

Me boots and clothes is all in pawn,
G'down ye blood red roses, g'down!

It's flamin' drafty round Cape Horn,
G'down ye blood red roses, g'down
Oh ye pinks and poses,
G'down ye blood red roses, g'down! 

- Blood Red Roses, old sea shanty

You're just like crosstown traffic, so hard to get through to you.
Crosstown traffic, I don't need to run over you.
Crosstown traffic, all you do is slow me down.
And I'm trying to get on the other side of town.

- Crosstown Traffic, Jimi Hendrix

I know I'm technically still on hiatus, I know there's about five other major news stories and political BS I need to rage against, but this is so funny a disaster I can't pass it up (via Amanda Mull at The Atlantic (paywall likely)):

...The boat, of course, is the Ever Given, a massive container ship operated by the Taiwan-based shipping company Evergreen, which probably now wishes its name wasn’t painted on the boat’s sides in such enormous letters. On its way from China to Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, the boat accidentally Tokyo drifted to a stop in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Tuesday, where it has been stuck sideways ever since. Efforts to refloat the Ever Given so far have been futile; the heavy construction equipment and fleet of industrial-strength tugboats assigned to that job have been successful not at dislodging the ship’s bow from the canal’s sandy shore, but at demonstrating this big-ass boat’s stupendous girth in photos. The ship, which is longer than the Empire State Building is tall, looms over literally everything—construction equipment, palm trees, nearby buildings. The Ever Given is Manute Bol to the human world’s Muggsy Bogues...

I’m obsessed with the dang boat because people like me and you are not really supposed to be aware of what boats like her are up to. You’re not supposed to think about, or even notice, global freight, but the Ever Given has made cartoonishly noticeable some of the crucial infrastructure of global capital, which is usually invisible in most people’s daily life. She has done so with an absolutely sublime visual gag, improved by every new detail about the problems the ship is causing and every new photo of the impotent human measures being undertaken to fix them. Peruse the surrounding waterways on any of the internet’s maritime trackers, and you’ll find the beginnings of a far more significant problem: More than 150 other absolutely huge shipping vessels, transporting everything from live animals to crude oil, are waiting on either side; the barge ran aground at a point where the Suez has only one lane, which means that traffic is blocked in both directions.

Every time I add some new morsel to my stash of stuck-boat information, I’m reminded of those clips I used to love as a kid on America’s Funniest Home Videos, in which some guy gets nailed in the groin by his overly enthusiastic golden retriever. In this case, the guy is a complex web of financiers and shipping magnates and insurance companies, whom the sideways boat will cost approximately one zillion dollars. The Ever Given is standing athwart one of the most important shipping lanes in the world, yelling “Oops!” She is ruining everything, and at least for the moment, she cannot be (un)stopped...

METAPHORS! Metaphors everywhere!

I begged on Twitter for someone to design a website dedicated to updates on Ever Given's status and HERE IT IS!

Yes, it is

I promised a donut but the guy who designed it doesn't want donuts and so he's encouraging us to donate to this charity instead.

In the meantime, we're looking at the reality that a lot of global trade is stymied by this disaster, so it's not all fun and games. Most traffic that needs to keep moving - stuff that can't wait, like livestock or perishable goods - may have to take the longer route around the African Cape, which isn't entirely safe (was notified there is an emergency canal nearby but it's smaller and slower so still time-consuming).

We're also talking about the canal workers stuck in overtime struggling with this. Already hailed as a hero is the sole excavator working on digging out the Ever Given's bow to help get it unstuck from the sand. I am currently seeing about sending a shipment of donuts to him.

This isn't entirely schadenfreude, because it is a serious matter and we do need to consider how global trade relies too much on overwhelmed transportation systems. But on the other hand, you think back to how you and your college buddies got that sofa stuck in an apartment stairwell and just laugh and laugh and...

Update 3/29/21: This morning, the Ever Given was FREED from its sandy prison and sailed onward! ONWARD! LET US SING SONGS NOW OF THIS DAY! (listens to various parody versions of "Wellerman") NO DAMMIT A REAL SONG!


dinthebeast said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dinthebeast said...

At the east end of the Bay Bridge, traveling east, you pass the Port of Oakland, with its huge animal-looking cranes and the container ship they are working on right there in front of them.
After many years and thousands of passes it never stopped making me wonder about the depth of the water right next to the cranes. And how there was enough maneuvering room to get the ships in place and out into the bay when they are done.
Those ships are enormous, the shipping containers stacked on them look like little toys or something.
But each one of them is a semitrailer pulled by a tractor going in or out of the the port's land side.
Which makes the air in West Oakland some of the most diesel particulate polluted in any residential area anywhere...

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Anynameleft said...

Please remove my email address from the previous post.
My mistake.
Thank You

Paul W said...

Sorry, Anynameleft, I'm going to have to delete the whole thing, you may have to repost your comment.