OK so I get to see all the marine traffic heading in and out of the Port of Tacoma from my windows now. To begin with it was just fascinating to see these huge ships glide past and then I realised I could check online to see every vessel due in and out of the port. Once I’d got that down I started pulling up all the ships spec’s plus everywhere they’d been recently – I know, I know, weird stuff but it gets to be kind of fascinating so now I rush to the window with my binoculars every time one of these babies glides by to see it’s name so that I can check whose flag it sails under, when it was built, how fast it’s going, what it’s draught is etc etc.
It was fun to see these pass each other the other day and when I looked up the details of the ships themselves it turns out that the MV Tampa, the red one, is actually famous. It was built in 1984 but in 2001 it picked up 438 Afghani refugees from a distressed fishing vessel in international waters and was the centre of a diplomatic dispute when it was subsequently refused entry into Australian waters. The crew received the Nansen Refugee Award from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for their efforts. In 2006 the ship was involved in a cocaine smuggling operation with 27 kilos of cocaine allegedly attached to the side of 2 ships bound for Australia and lastly, a scale model of this ship was used in a Mythbusters episode to determine whether a whirlpool was capable of sinking a container ship. (no, I don’t know how that turned out!) Thank you Wikipedia for this weird and wonderful information by the way.
So, that’s what I’ve been doing with some of my time lately and yes, I’ve now amassed almost as many cargo ship as sunset pictures ; )