With the global recession in effect, about 12% of merchant vessels aren’t operating. They simply have nothing to carry and nowhere to carry it. Due to the fact that at any given time the majority of vessels spend their time at sea, these empty vessels need somewhere to go. Enter the Ghost Fleet. Hundreds of these empty bulk carriers, tankers, etc. are anchored off the coast of Singapore with just enough crew to prevent collisions. From the article:
It is so far off the beaten track that nobody ever really comes close, which is why these ships are here. The world’s ship owners and government economists would prefer you not to see this symbol of the depths of the plague still crippling the world’s economies.
So they have been quietly retired to this equatorial backwater, to be maintained only by a handful of bored sailors. The skeleton crews are left alone to fend off the ever-present threats of piracy and collisions in the congested waters as the hulls gather rust and seaweed at what should be their busiest time of year.
Local fisherman Ah Wat, 42, who for more than 20 years has made a living fishing for prawns from his home in Sungai Rengit, says: ‘Before, there was nothing out there – just sea. Then the big ships just suddenly came one day, and every day there are more of them.
‘Some of them stay for a few weeks and then go away. But most of them just stay. You used to look Christmas from here straight over to Indonesia and see nothing but a few passing boats. Now you can no longer see the horizon.’
Revealed: The Ghost Fleet of the Recession [Mail Online]