Science: THE OILMEN & THE SEA

From sun-beaten ports in the Gulf Coast a monstrous, ungainly fleet is putting out to sea on a dramatic mission. It is the "navy" of the offshore oilmen, and never did stranger ships sail on more venturesome voyages. Some of the craft bristle with giant cranes; others grow forests of steel columns as tall as Douglas firs. All of them clank and roar with violent machinery. Alongside conventional ships built for more seemly duty, they look as clumsy as cassowaries splashing in a lake of swans.

Many more such outlandish craft will be built...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!