Back on board the container ship

In the April 3 edition of The New York Review of Books, the Harvard historian Maya Jasanoff combines a review of Rose George’s book on merchant shipping (already reviewed on Deskbound Traveller) with a report on her own four-week trip from Hong Kong to Southampton on the container ship Christophe Colomb. She writes:

“Notoriously, companies including Maersk and CMA CGM do not allow armed guards on their ships. Instead, if pirates do board, best practice recommends that everybody hide out in a safe room called a citadel, lock the door, and wait for naval rescue. Christophe Colomb’s citadel was stocked with two days of bottled water and emergency food rations, a chemical toilet in a box, a pile of air mattresses with pumps, a satellite phone, and a Monopoly set. ‘Whose idea was that?’ I asked. ‘The company’s,’ said the captain, smirking. ‘The idea is that while the pirates are on board we will be here buying and selling the Jardin du Luxembourg and the Gare du Nord.’

Interesting to see how George’s book has been retitled for the American market: Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside shipping, the invisible industry that brings you 90% of everything becomes Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate.

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