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The Colombo Bay In The Face Of Killer Storms, Fires, Piracy, And Terrorism, Container Ships The Length Of City Blocks And Than A Dozen Stories High Carry Percent Of The Worlds Trade This Is An Account Of One Ship S Voyage And Of The Sailors Who Daily Risk Their Lives To Deliver Six Million Containers A Year To United States Ports Alone Inside These Twenty Foot And Forty Foot Steel Boxes Are The Thousands Of Imports From Chinos And Game Boys To Garlic And Frozen Shrimp Without Which North America S Consumer Society Would CollapseTo Explore This Little Known And Dangerous Universe Of Modern Seafaring, Richard Pollak Joined The Colombo Bay In Hong Kong And Over The Next Five Weeks Sailed With Her And Her , Containers Across The South China Sea, The Indian Ocean, The Mediterranean, And The Atlantic En Route, This Mammoth Vessel Called At Singapore And Colombo, Passed Through The Suez Canal Toll Then Put In At Malta And Halifax Before Tangling With Hurricane Karen On The Two Day Run To New York Here Is The Story Of The Ship S Unheralded Twenty Four Man Company Of The Unflappable British Captain, Peter Davies, A Veteran Of Four Decades At Sea Of Federico Castrojas, Who Like The Rest Of The Hard Working Filipino Crew Must Daily Confront The Loneliness Of Being Away From His Family For Nine Months At A Stretch Of Simon Westall, The Twenty One Year Old Third Mate, Who Reveals What It Is Like To Be Gay In The Broad Shouldered World Of The Merchant ServiceIt Is A World Where Pirates In The Malacca Strait Sneak Up Behind Ships At Night In Fast Power Boats, Then Clamber Aboard And Either Rob The Unarmed Sailors At Gunpoint And Escape Into The Dark Or Throw The Crewinto The Sea And Hijack The Ship, Plundering Her Cargo And Sometimes Repainting Her And Setting Out To Do Business Under Another Name And Flag It Is A World Where Families Desperate To Get To The United States Or Europe Pay Thousands Of Dollars To The Chinese Snakeheads And Other Criminal Gangs, Who Secrete These Wretched Migrants In Stifling Containers After A Week Or At Sea These Stowaways Arrive In The Promised Land Either Starving Or DeadPollak Sailed On September Into A Changed World, On One Of , Container Ships Whose Millions Of Uninspected Boxes Suddenly Had Become Potential Trojan Horses In Which Terrorists Could Transport Weapons Of Mass Destruction Into The Heart Of The United StatesThroughout His Riveting Narrative, Pollak Interweaves The Insights Of Herman Melville And Joseph Conrad, Whose Masterful Portrayals Of Seafaring Make The Voyage Of The Colombo Bay A Dramatic Reminder Of What A Hard And Rarely Reported Life Merchant Seamen Have Always Led Out On The Unhooped Oceans Of This Planet


About the Author: Richard Pollak

Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Colombo Bay book, this is one of the most wanted Richard Pollak author readers around the world.



10 thoughts on “The Colombo Bay

  1. says:

    I found this book to be riveting and informative If you have any interest in the way things work or the impact of transportation on the global economy, this book is guaranteed to hold your interest Pollak reminds me of the best of John McPhee, high praise, indeed.


  2. says:

    If you d asked me whether I d be excited in regard to a book about cargo ships, I d have looked at you funny But, I d have been making a hasty and ill informed judgment.Like the stranger at a party who captures your interest in a never considered before topic by both illuminating it in a way that opens it up fully to you, a neophyte, and by their obvious love of the story, and gift in the telling, Dick Pollak s The Colombo Bay becomes both an exploration of a vital part of our daily lives wh If you d asked me whether I d be excited in regard to a book about cargo ships, I d have looked at you funny But, I d have been making a hasty and ill informed judgment.Like the stranger at a party who captures your interest in a never considered before topic by both illuminating it in a way that opens it up fully to you, a neophyte, and by their obvious love of the story, and gift in the telling, Dick Pollak s The Colombo Bay becomes both an exploration of a vital part of our daily lives whether we know it or not , a story of character and characters, and an invigorating tale, all in one book.We do get pirates, trafficking in human being, containers being used to hold suspected terrorists, and the global conflict in the post 9 11 world we do get the lingering disorientation, or perhapsaptly, sudden focus on dread possibilities brought about by the September 11th attacks But we also get beautifully rendered descriptions, such as when Dick gets to use a phone of a P O Nedlloyd employees to phone his wife back in New York, and feeling like he s abusing the privilege, writes We talk for forty minutes, the conversation crimped by the lack of privacy, a nagging sense that I am tying up Yap s phone, and the constant feeling that I should be by her side instead of playing jack tar and trying to bounce my love off satellites I m not sure what a jack tar is but I know good writing, and can see evidence of the love of it in Dick Pollak s words, here and elsewhere.We get a macro picture of the world of cargo ships, and endlessly fascinating tidbits of information did you know that 85% of ocean petroleum pollution comes from dumping by airline pilots, emissions from boats and Jet Skis, and runoff from motor vehicles and other land based sources Not spills like the Exxon Valdez, or the Prestige, as devastating as they were He captures the danger and boredom of life at sea, in this very specific kind of vessel With humor, much of it self directed, and a keen observer s eye, he traces incisive and insightful character sketches, from the ship s captains to the lowest ranking member of the crew, with all their individuality maintained In doing all these things, he creates a book of non fiction that reads like a great novel, and carries the reader effortlessly along on his journey


  3. says:

    Containers have been of interest to me since I realized their impact on world trade and then saw them used as shops by the locals and dwellings by the US military in Afghanistan a few years ago And, now I think of it, the roll on roll off thousand foot ship that took me from Hawaii to Texas, through the Panama Canal, in the mid 1990s on an Army exercise I was free to roam the ship, from the engine room to the bridge, and found it and the sea fascinating My recent reading started wi Containers have been of interest to me since I realized their impact on world trade and then saw them used as shops by the locals and dwellings by the US military in Afghanistan a few years ago And, now I think of it, the roll on roll off thousand foot ship that took me from Hawaii to Texas, through the Panama Canal, in the mid 1990s on an Army exercise I was free to roam the ship, from the engine room to the bridge, and found it and the sea fascinating My recent reading started with The Box How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger, by Marc Levinson Too much detail for me, but it gives us a good understanding of how we got from there no containers to here almost nothing but containers in just a few decades.I then read Ninety Percent of Everything Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate, by Rose George More pieces to the puzzle Can t put my finger on why too long since I read it , but I found the book neither riveting nor informative.That s in contrast to Colombo Bay, by Richard Pollak Badly titled, but a superb book.Like Rose George but ten years earlier, Pollak hitches a ride on a container ship for a voyage half way around the world Like George, he knows nothing about the sea or container ships Unlike George, he is a masterful writer she ll get there he s twice her age , and we both learn from and enjoy his travelogue aboard the Colombo Bay.We gain a sense of what life aboard these huge ships is like Boring and routine, mostly, until a hurricane is near Also that officers and their crew work under very different conditions Officers, for example, can have their wives travel with them crew can t, and can t possibly afford to have their wives meet them in port.Were I the editor, I would have Added some photos The only photo is on the cover, of the front of the ship Told usabout the engine room, the heart of the ship, and the bridge, its brains Told usabout the docks and their equipment Four thousand large, heavy containers are routinely removed from these ships in a single day How is that even possible Excised the author s political comments Not many, and forgivable, with his New York liberal background, but unnecessary to the story, and offensive to some Or maybe just me But I m not the editor, and I m not expecting a second edition Read Colombo Bay for nothing but its masterful writing The increased understanding of life at sea in these gigantic vessels will be icing on the cake.It s been a while since I ve enjoyed a book so much


  4. says:

    An interesting, although a bit uneven, book about the global shipping industry Pollak hitched a ride with The Colombo Bay, a container ship that circles the world, delivering the goods that makes our globalized economy go His plan was to meet the ship in Hong Kong, and then accompany it as it sailed West along the Indian Ocean, then into the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, on to and across the Atlantic to New York However, he arrives in Hong Kong just before the September 11 attacks and alm An interesting, although a bit uneven, book about the global shipping industry Pollak hitched a ride with The Colombo Bay, a container ship that circles the world, delivering the goods that makes our globalized economy go His plan was to meet the ship in Hong Kong, and then accompany it as it sailed West along the Indian Ocean, then into the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, on to and across the Atlantic to New York However, he arrives in Hong Kong just before the September 11 attacks and almost calls off the trip.He goes anyway The book ends up being both a profile of the current global delivery system for goods and a reflection of the moment in time that he happened to take his journey The confusion and uncertainty that immediately followed 9 11 hangs over the story unexpectedly, which makes it seem considerably less timely reading the book almost 20 years after the fact


  5. says:

    What it is like to ride a container ship from Hong Kong to NYC A long, slow trip There were some surprising things I learned from this book a Profits A container ship does not generate a huge return on investment These are very expensive to operate, the shipping companies have to bid on jobs, and competition is fierce Not a lot of money to be made in this business.b Pirates Why not hire armed guards when sailing through pirate infested waters Reason Cost The shipping industry can affo What it is like to ride a container ship from Hong Kong to NYC A long, slow trip There were some surprising things I learned from this book a Profits A container ship does not generate a huge return on investment These are very expensive to operate, the shipping companies have to bid on jobs, and competition is fierce Not a lot of money to be made in this business.b Pirates Why not hire armed guards when sailing through pirate infested waters Reason Cost The shipping industry can afford the lossesthan they can afford the cost of protection.c Flags Vessels can operate under flags of many nations, the Flag of Choice FOC costs much less from some countries vs others, and the laws vary, too On a US flagged vessel, the rules arestringent, and the crews must be treated according to US regulations On a FOC from some obscure place, the crews can and often are treated horribly On ships that are far from safe.d Rescues at Sea Customs are that you stop to rescue survivors if you are in the area of an incident If you do, it turns out that you are then responsible for the people you have taken on board Meaning, until you can deliver them to a port that will accept them Which may be a big problem for you, the rescuer, if the port refuses As often happens if you have rescued refugees, and your next or nearest port wants nothing to do with them A case of, YOU brought them, they are on YOUR ship, and it is YOUR problem, not ours This can tie up a ship for weeks at a time, something that the container ship cannot afford to be doing Besides having many people on board, with few provisions for them only accommodations may be in an empty container, and food supplies are not planned for large groups It would be very unethical for the container ship to ignore persons who are in distress, but probablythan one captain has ignored rescue calls


  6. says:

    Pollak, a journalist interested in covering the unseen work of container ships, takes a trip on one That would be interesting enough, but Pollak starts his trip planned for several months two days after 9 11 The result is a paean to the sailors and port workers who handle commercial business as well as a sobering look at the security issues involved in modern container shipping.This book hit two of my big appeal factors travelogues about extreme trips and a focus on big engineering feats P Pollak, a journalist interested in covering the unseen work of container ships, takes a trip on one That would be interesting enough, but Pollak starts his trip planned for several months two days after 9 11 The result is a paean to the sailors and port workers who handle commercial business as well as a sobering look at the security issues involved in modern container shipping.This book hit two of my big appeal factors travelogues about extreme trips and a focus on big engineering feats Pollak mixes in descriptions of his trip with merchant marine history, excerpts from Melville and Joseph Conrad, and thorough discussions of the political and economic realities that affect container ships At the same time, he delves into the personal lives of the sailors and crew to better understand their stresses and sacrifices A very satisfying read


  7. says:

    Like The Box, I was inspired to read this book by reading William Gibson s Spook Country Pollak s book is compulsively readable, a travelogue of his journey from Hong Kong to New York on the containership Colombo Bay The book is balanced evenly between Pollak s equally skillful descriptions of sailing on the behemoth ship and getting to know its crew and his fascinating excursions into related topics, from piracy and the primacy of the Strait of Malacca to the terrible conditions under which Like The Box, I was inspired to read this book by reading William Gibson s Spook Country Pollak s book is compulsively readable, a travelogue of his journey from Hong Kong to New York on the containership Colombo Bay The book is balanced evenly between Pollak s equally skillful descriptions of sailing on the behemoth ship and getting to know its crew and his fascinating excursions into related topics, from piracy and the primacy of the Strait of Malacca to the terrible conditions under which most merchant mariners work His bit on how to describe the use of an anchor is especially wonderful pp 159 160 I can t remcommend this book enough


  8. says:

    If you have no interest in ships of any sort, I still recommend this fascinating look into the life of a cargo ship crew Riddled with history, shocking facts, and personal stories of those aboard the huge Colombo Bay container ship.


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