The task of a container ship is to carry containers. The operative word is "carry". Neither officers or crew know what is inside the containers, except for hazardous materials. Zillions of computer bytes track each container, where it is going, thus where to put it on the ship for the proper sequence of ports. The ship must also be sea-worthy, with the correct weight and balance throughout its 300-meter length. Containers stack nine deep in each hold and up to seven above the deck, in 17 rows from side to side and 18 from bow to stern. The Hanjin Boston can hold 7,500 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), although in the current economy, it runs about 50% full. (Read Tom's log for all the details).

How do the containers stay where they belong during the voyage? Two "twist-locks" come first: a manual locking one (Tom pic) for the bottom container, and an automatic one (2nd mate pic) for all the others; they are everywhere. Stevedores put one at each corner of the container when loading and remove it when unloading. The twist-locks belong to the ship and are hoisted aboard to be used at the next stop.

"twist-lock" Box of MacGregors Attaching twist-lock 2nd mate with twist lock manual twist lock Tom and manual Twist lock

Liz with containersplaque on containercontainer stern empty lashings twist lock on board twist lock and lashing Lashing sign lashings 2


This down economy needs fewer containers; some hatch covers were bare, allowing us to see the lashing both unused and used.

Throughout the ship, posted signs show how to lash the containers.