I suppose when the length of a sea-going vessel exceeds two football fields it ceases to be a boat and should be referred to as a ship...probably in the biggest letters possible. Whatever you want to call it, we went down to see it this afternoon.
The largest commercial ship to ever visit Pensacola arrived earlier this week and it's getting plenty of attention. Size is part of the reason...it's huge! I can't begin to fathom something that weights almost 56,000 tons.
The Eagle Sydney is an tanker that ferries crude oil from drilling platforms to the mainland but it's in our port for about ten days for some repairs. Looking at the sides of it as we walked the length of it from the public side of the dock, I told Wayne I'd want the rust spots fixed if I was on board but apparently the jobs include a new boiler system and some other odds and ends. That means dollars coming into our community through a port that has lost money every year we've lived here. It's a complicated situation but the recent efforts to recruit repair business like this on ships that service offshore rigs are meeting with success.
And that makes it interesting to see this behemoths when they come lumbering into port. While big, this one is kind of boring otherwise. Some of them have numerous booms that are both enormous and strangely shaped, partly because they lay pipeline on the Gulf's floor. One had this odd circular-shaped appendage that we finally figured out was a helipad.
Anchored on the public side of the dock was this old wooden sailing ship that was open for tours. We didn't do that but I was struck by the contrast between the two vessels in size, materials, age and purpose.
You can read more about the Eagle Sydney on the local paper's webpage, including some cool photos of the nighttime arrival. While Photo #10 has its faults, I do like the fact that you get some perspective of the ship's size when you see how it dwarfs the tug boats helping line it up for the pier.