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Marco Polo carrier ship, at nearly 1,300 feet hailed as Leviathan of the Ocean

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 10th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The world's largest ship, the CMA CGM Marco Polo, at nearly 1,300 feet rolled into Great Britain's Southampton this week. The ship is the size of four football fields, five times the size of an average airbus, and longer than even the Queen Mary 2, the Marco Polo came bearing gifts for the U.K. from the Far East.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Full of stacks of steel containers, the boat was loaded with everything from televisions to soft furnishings and power tools to clothing. After unloading her cargo, the Marco Polo will set sail for Hamburg, Germany.

CMA CGM Group's senior vice-president of Asia-Europe Lines Nicolas Sartini said the company launched the South Korea-built ship 'with great pride.' Managing Director of DP World Southampton Chris Lewis said the Marco Polo's arrival marked "the latest milestone" in the terminal's history.

"With the container industry changing, these new giants of the sea will soon be regulars at the terminal," Lewis said.

Southampton Port director Doug Morrison proudly proclaimed that "We have now placed ourselves on the map as a terminal capable of handling the world's largest container ship.

"We have all the right ingredients to continue being one of the most productive terminals in Northern Europe."

Marco Polo is the first of the next generation of super-vessels destined to keep the wheels of international trade turning. The Marco Polo even dwarfs the nuclear-powered French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, Western Europe's largest warship. The ship can carry more than 16,020 containers on her vast decks.

The new ship boasts a variety of environmentally-friendly technologies, such as an electronically-controlled engine that allows reduced fuel consumption. The Marco Polo's CO2 emissions are much lower than the average cargo ship and a ballast water treatment system helps to prevent pollution.

It's all part of an international trend. The size of container vessels over the past 20 years has steadily increased. The average container in the Eighties carried just 1,600 containers. The Marco Polo alone has increased that number tenfold.

Before the latest giant of the waves arrived on the scene, the Emma Maersk, which was built in 2006 and capable of carrying 15,550 containers, held the title of the world's largest container ship.

The Marco Polo might not hold on to her prestigious title for very long -- another two container ships of similar size, each also named after famous explorers, are set to follow Marco Polo next year and will be capable of carrying a massive 18,000 containers.

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