The Joni Ritscher is comparatively small. She is built to carry 1,856 containers, each of which is 20ft x 9ft x 9ft. They are stacked five-deep beneath deck and three-high above. Quantum units of 21st century life slowly making their way around the planet. T-shirts, computers, hairdryers or the contents of somebody’s house. Some have fans and cooling systems to keep their chickens and lambs frozen to a standard temperature. All are sealed with a special tab to prevent theft.
The captain tells us that in the South Seas there used to be a modern form of piracy. The container ships were so huge that the skeleton crews needed a moped to get from one end to the other. In the night, the pirates pulled alongside in tiny boats, scaled the steel sides and then slowly moved from container to container searching for loot before slipping away again into the night.
These days off the coast of Africa desperation drives new pirates to simply take the whole ship for ransom. The captain tells us how he stations men with baseball bats at the hole where the anchor-chain comes through the side of the ship.