Apr 072010

We thought it was time for an update on The 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise.  We’ve had so much fun with this thing (e.g., here and here) and are just counting the days until January 2011 when it limps back into port at Miami with chaos in its wake.

But just as we were checking the interwebz for updated info last weekend, we came across a few other stories about coal and China that gobsmacked us. They’ve got nothing to do with metal, and they’re only tangentially related to “70,000 Tons of Metal.” Actually, even “tangential” is stretching it. About the only connection is that the first story involves shipping clusterfuckery, and we suspect “70,000 Tons of Metal” will turn into a clusterfuck, too, though in a fun-loving, binge-and-purge kind of way.

So, before we give you an update on “70,000 Tons of Metal” (which we really will do), allow us to vent a little about those gobsmacking stories we saw.

First Item: According to this report, a large Chinese freighter carrying 72,000 tons of coal (not 70,000 Ton of Metal) ran aground late Saturday on a section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The Shen Neng 1 crashed into the reef at full speed a few hours after leaving the port of Gladstone, Australia, on its way to China. When that happened, it was nine miles outside its authorized shipping lane, according to Australian authorities. And those same authorities reported that the ship is in danger of breaking apart.

So, what’s the big deal, you may ask? You’re thinking that coal doesn’t leak. True, but a ship this large carries a shitload of fuel — 1,000 tons of it, to be more precise. (read on after the jump . . .) Continue reading »