Thursday 21 July 2016

Review: Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men

Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men by Horatio Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you take a look around you at some of the things that you own, almost all of the have arrived in the country in a box. A container box that is. These containers are shipped in their millions back and forth oceans and round the world every year.

Clare was invited to be the writer on board for the Maersk Group, to see how these veins of the capitalist world work and operate. He joins the first ship at Felixstowe, the UK largest port, on its journey from there to Los Angles via Suez and Hong Kong. On the ship he is allowed free access anywhere, and to meet and speak with the crew and officers with the aim of finding out just what makes these vast vessels tick.

His second journey takes him from Antwerp to Montreal. It is an older ship, that reeks of diesel, and they are travelling into a huge storm in the atlantic. On this journey he finds out just how dangerous this journeys can be for the crews.

It is a fascinating book to read as Clare gets to the heart of the shipping industry and the people that run these ships. The size of some of these ports is huge, I know I have seen the Hong Kong port, and everything is organised down to the last detail, so much so that on his first journey they dock to the minute have travelled three quarters around the world. Clare manages to convey well the feelings and the pressure that the crews feel, as well as recounting some of the stories from other ships some of which are terrifying. Did drag a bit at times, but otherwise worth reading.

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