This image from shipmap.org shows every shipping route taken in 2012. (shipmap.org)

This image from shipmap.org shows every shipping route taken in 2012. (shipmap.org)

At loading docks, cargo ships get filled up with goods bound for other countries.

At loading docks, cargo ships get filled up with goods bound for other countries.

To float, container ships must be perfectly balanced. Balancing heavy cargo containers is very important so the ship doesn’t tip!

To float, container ships must be perfectly balanced. Balancing heavy cargo containers is very important so the ship doesn’t tip!

A camera in an overhead plane spots a fleet of cargo ships on their way.

A camera in an overhead plane spots a fleet of cargo ships on their way.

Ships around the World

Posted: September 1, 2020

Check this out! These are lines traced by vessels on shipping routes. It’s an image from shipmap.org—a time lapse of ships on the world’s oceans in 2012. Want to see ships at sea right this minute? Visit Marinetraffic.com. Zoom in. Choose a ship. See its progress hour-to-hour. Be patient. Shipping is sloooow. But it surely gets the job done.

Did you know that . . .

at any moment, tens of thousands of giant cargo ships are moving around the oceans of the world? On the map, they look like tiny bugs. But some are a quarter of a mile long!

What’s inside? Pretty much anything you can think of. Some ships carry metal ores. Some haul gas. Others hold fresh fruit or plastic toys. Look around the room you’re in. Do you see an object that may once have taken a ride on one of these giant ships?

Even with no map behind the ships, you can see the outline of the continents—just in ship routes! Some spots are busy. Some are quiet. In places—especially “mermaid canals” that connect bodies of water—the huge ships squeeze by each other. Some ships travel deep into continents on the Paraguayan or Amazon Rivers and the Great Lakes. Others have full freedom to move through the open sea.

Watch the map to see which ship carries what. Red dots mark tankers hauling oil from the Middle East. Blue dots show dry bulk ships carrying fuels such as coal. These raw materials move toward manufacturing regions. Yellow shows container ships full of finished goods, many traveling from China.

All this massive movement makes modern life possible. And it takes a lot of gas.

Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters. — Psalm 107: 23