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His appearance, in a peaked cap and uniform, seems rather odd; an officer without a crew. But there is something slightly odder about the vast distance between my jolly boat and his lofty position, which I can't immediately put my finger on.
Then I have it - his 750ft-long merchant vessel is standing absurdly high in the water. The low waves don't even bother the lowest mark on its Plimsoll line. It's the same with all the ships parked here, and there are a lot of them. Close to 500. An armada of freighters with no cargo, no crew, and without a destination between them.
Here, on a sleepy stretch of shoreline at the far end of Asia, is surely the biggest and most secretive gathering of ships in maritime history. Their numbers are equivalent to the entire British and American navies combined; their tonnage is far greater. Container ships, bulk carriers, oil tankers - all should be steaming fully laden between China, Britain, Europe and the US, stocking camera shops, PC Worlds and Argos depots ahead of the retail pandemonium of 2009. But their water has been stolen.
It is so far off the beaten track that nobody ever really comes close, which is why these ships are here. The world's ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world's economies.
So they have been quietly retired to this equatorial backwater, to be maintained only by a handful of bored sailors. The skeleton crews are left alone to fend off the ever-present threats of piracy and collisions in the congested waters as the hulls gather rust and seaweed at what should be their busiest time of year.
What so many of us fail to understand, is that continual economic growth (capitalism) is a linear, and totally unsustainable model. We have been so unconscious in our consumption of our planet's resources, using military, the IMF, and the World Bank to maintain third world nations as slave labour pools to fuel our ever growing need for more, more more of the latest, the greatest, the newest, the best, the biggest, the smallest ... Consumerism is the bedrock of capitalism - the grease (the lie) that keeps the weels turning. STOP CONSUMING!
More ships, with their huge environmental footprints, NEED to be retired, as do our old ways of thinking. Let us stop feeding the beast. It bites -no, it DEVOURS - the hand that feeds it.
MASSIVE change is required NOW - by everyone of us. STOP FEEDING THE BEAST!
Let us all get to work building a sustainable future. There is plenty of work for everybody.
Our governments MUST be made to pay attention - NOW!
- Joanna, Toronto, Canada, 13/9/2009 21:40
Originally posted by kreinhard
S&F for the first post.
I disagree with the comment in the second post. The US, and the world, has not had free-market capitalism in a very long time. On the order of centuries. The downfall of the modern economy is not due to free-markets, but rather to government interventionism and fiat currencies, in my opinion.
Originally posted by pavil
reply to post by ziggy1706
They are waiting.......empty. There is lesser demand so the ships sit idle off the coast where they can be loaded up with product. Somebody else had a thread on the massive drop off in container shipping here on ATS. It was hitting pretty hard by Feb/Mar if I remember correctly.
The world is going to have to get use to lesser consumption of pretty much everything. We already have too much capacity in factories, transportation, goods, ect. It's not like anyone is going to be building car factories soon....except for India and China.
Personally, I think it was a long time comming and will be good for everyone in the long run. Things should be bought and produced more locally. It astounds me that cheap little plastic toys for example, are made in China and not locally. The cost of shipping must be more than the actual cost to produce them!
The Chinese have already visited Indiana to look for sites to build TWO auto assembly plants!