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Around the World in 80 Days

Day 72: 5 December

Michael Palin - Around the World in 80 DaysHowever, he's a mine of information on the Leda Maersk. In 1986 she was extended by 80 feet. A Japanese shipyard sliced the bows off, inserted a new section, welded, made good and had the ship ready for work again in forty days. A year later the superstructure was heightened one tier to accommodate more containers. There is hardly a ship in the Maersk fleet which hasn't been enlarged. The next class to be built will narrow the accommodation, widen the hull and provide spaces for 700 more containers, making a carrying total of more than 4000.

At present the fastest service they offer is Hamburg to Singapore in seventeen days, which means among other things that a whole new range of tropical foods will be available in Europe in bulk, rather than for the lucky few who can afford the costs of air freighting. Refrigerated containers are the coming thing. They require constant supervision and a separate and self-contained power supply for each one, but pay good money. The Leda Maersk has 300 containing anything from prunes to helium. Chris can remember once carrying a load of 20 million grapefruit. Punch-drunk with figures I retire to lunch, which is the main meal of the working day and this morning is oxtail in a thick and juicy gravy.

After lunch Passepartout and I assemble in the Captain's Day Room, which has been generously loaned to us for the crossing, for the first read-through of Under Milk Wood, which has been organised by Nigel as a way of passing the time. Seven of my ten roles are women, I notice.
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  • Series: Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day: 72
  • Date: 5 December
  • Country/sea: Atlantic Ocean
  • Place: Atlantic Ocean
  • Book page no: 240

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