Who knew? Who knew that all the time UD spends on her balcony in Rehoboth Beach staring through binoculars at immense container ships with three immense initials painted on their sides she could be ON the ships, steaming to Hamburg? Who knew that the endless UD/Mr UD dithering about what’s on each ship, where it’s going, how it operates, what the thing’s various decks actually look like, etc., could so easily be settled?

A highlight [of my trip] was a morning’s tour of the ship, led by crew members. In addition to nearly 4,000 containers stacked on the exterior decks, there were six “roll-on, roll-off” decks carrying vehicles, ranging from a fleet of Range Rovers and transport trucks for the US army to an aeroplane fuselage. As the captain explained the complexities of the enormous operation, I marvelled at the sheer scale of everything around us, an industry responsible for transporting 90% of goods worldwide.

Cabins, with private bath, sound fine; on-deck activities are simple but fun (UD would of course play Scrabble); cruising instead of flying gives you big eco bragging rights…

Recent campaigns such as the Swedish flygskam (flight shame) had shone a harsh light on my blindness to the climate impact of air travel, and I had decided that booking a flight wasn’t an option. Since 2017, I’d emitted over 14 tonnes of carbon from flights alone. I realised that all my efforts to reduce my carbon footprint at home in Milan – I cycle to work, limit food waste and seldom buy new clothes – are wiped out by just one flight between Canada and Europe.

I’ll see your flygskam and raise you thirty years of not driving cars, taking trains everywhere, walking everywhere, living in a small house, owning one teeny, insanely fuel-efficient Prius, very seldom buying new clothes (so there!), and indeed finding virtually all of my consumer goods as brand-new castoffs in my daughter’s long-since-abandoned bedroom. The only food I waste is my once a year pomegranate martini at the beach — I can never finish it.

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2 Responses to ““Shipping companies sell surplus cabin space through selected travel agents…””

  1. David Foster Says:

    A site you might enjoy: tracks all the world’s maritime traffic (with installed transponders, which is most of it)…you can click any ship and learn about it routes, name, and details such as length and draft.


  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    David: Wow! Both of us will love using this site. Many thanks for the link!

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