Sailing Off the Deep End &

The shipping industry pitches and yaws through an epic slump

The Burmah Endeavour is a modern supertanker that can carry 458,000 tons of crude oil, enough to fuel all of Britain for two days. But for the past three years, the great ship has been out of work. It lies at anchor in the port of Southampton, manned only by two security guards who walk its 5 1/2 acres of decks. Meanwhile, 17 more big tankers stand idle in fjords along the coast of Norway. At the port of Fujairah, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf, Harbor Master Roger Turnbull begins each day in his control tower by counting the...

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