Interesting story on high-stakes ship salvage

Photo courtesy of the US Coast Guard.

In the absence of anything interesting I can think of to write about the few things I understand, and an inability to write intelligently about the interesting things that are actually happening (e.g. the present collapse of our financial system), I am not above just jangling a shiny object that I found on the internet. In the previous issue of Wired magazine, there is a fascinating story about the people you call when your multimillion dollar ship full of 100 million of dollars worth of brand new cars nearly capsizes and is drifting helplessly into the coast of Alaska. I was deeply disappointed to find out that applied physics computational modeling is not the most manly occupation out there, as I’d been heretofore led to believe.

A brief excerpt:

In the crew’s quarters below the bridge, Saw “Lucky” Kyin, the ship’s 41-year-old Burmese steward, rinses off in the common shower. The ship rolls underneath his feet. He’s been at sea for long stretches of the past six years. In his experience, when a ship rolls to one side, it generally rolls right back the other way.

This time it doesn’t. Instead, the tilt increases. For some reason, the starboard ballast tanks have failed to refill properly, and the ship has abruptly lost its balance. At the worst possible moment, a large swell hits the Cougar Ace and rolls the ship even farther to port. Objects begin to slide across the deck. They pick up momentum and crash against the port-side walls as the ship dips farther. Wedged naked in the shower stall, Kyin is confronted by an undeniable fact: The Cougar Ace is capsizing.

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