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Unwanted Cruise Ships Huddle Together Out At Sea
Satellite photos have revealed a strange consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic; unwanted cruise ships find no ports that will take them, and they huddle together in pathetic groups out at sea.
(Unwanted cruise ships at sea)
Storing cruise ships in port is not a cheap proposition, nor is there enough space to accommodate them in traditional berths. Beyond that, the international crews that man these huge vessels are not allowed to step on land due to infection risk. With the vast majority of these ships flagged in relatively small and poor countries that have little capability to impact the situation, the only place for them to go is out to sea. And that's precisely where many of them have been.
One armada, in particular, off Coco Cay and Great Stirrup Cay—the former is owned by the Royal Caribbean cruise line and the latter is owned by the Norwegian cruise line—in the Bahamas is remarkably large.
The sad flock of cruise ships is spread out loosely in three groups spanning some 30 miles—from one just off the islands, to another roughly ten miles west, to another some 30 miles west. Check out the satellite photos below to get an idea of just what we are talking about. Keep in mind that it seems these groups are in constant flux, with the formation and general makeup of the ships in each group changing fairly regularly.
As Winchell Chung points out, this situation would remind any fan of science fiction great James Blish of the hobo cities in Cities in Flight. In the novel, the development of the spindizzy along with longlife anti-agathic drugs allowed actual Earth cities to leave Earth and take to the stars:
The empty area where the hobo cities had settled was well out at the edge of the Acolyte cluster, on the side toward the rest of the galaxy. The nearest star to the area, as Hazleton had pointed out, was a triple. It consisted of two type Go stars and a red dwarf, almost a double for the Sol-Alpha Centauri system. But there was one difference: the two Go stars were quite close to each other, constituting a spectroscopic doublet, separable visually only by the Dinwiddie circuits even at this relatively short distance; while the red dwarf had swung out into the empty area, and was now more than four light years away from its companions.
Around this tiny and virtually heatless fire, more than three hundred Okie cities huddled. On the screen they passed in an endless, boundaryless flood of green specks, like a river of fantastic asteroids, bobbing in space and passing and repassing each other in their orbits around the dwarf star. The concentration was heaviest near the central sun, which was so penurious of its slight radiation that it had been masked almost completely by the Dinwiddie code lights (they turn down the brightness to keep the monitor from being whited out) when Hazleton first spotted the jungle. But there were late comers in orbits as far out as three billion miles—spindizzy screens do not take kindly to being thrust into close contact with each other.
Long before Blish, you could read about a sargasso of space in which wrecked space ships are drawn together - in the works of Golden Age Great Edmond Hamilton.
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