Almost as soon as Evergreen Line’s Ever Given containership got wedged in the Suez Canal in March, observers began speculating about the cause of the crisis. Early reports pointed to a sudden sandstorm, but whatever the reason, the fact remains that steering a heavily laden cargo ship through a narrow chute is no easy feat. To illustrate that point, the folks at CNN have created an online simulator that allows landlubbers to try their own hand at the task.
Virtual “captains” will quickly learn that a heavy ship turns slowly, and that once turned, it is difficult to straighten out again. Even so, the game has greatly simplified the challenge, its creators say. A real-life ship’s captain would also have to account for factors like changes in water depth, proximity to the banks, interaction with passing ships, and the availability of tugboats.
If that doesn’t, um, float your boat, there are other ways to have some virtual fun with the ill-fated ship. For instance, you can check out a web tool created by Garrett Dash Nelson, whose day job is curator of maps and director of geographic scholarship at the Boston Public Library.
Nelson’s “Ever Given Ever Ywhere” web page invites users to “get the Ever Given stuck wherever you want it” by superimposing a virtual version of the ship anywhere on a digital map of the world. Sized to scale, the vessel overwhelms well-known landmarks like Chicago’s Navy Pier and looks especially comical when docked at a different kind of facility, like Terminal E at Boston’s Logan Airport.