Before I leave the subject of the ship I wanted to set out the numbers.
|Seattle to Pusan||4616 nm|
|Pusan to Yantian||1143 nm|
|Yantian to Kaohsiung||340 nm|
|Kaohsiung to Shanghai||592 + 43 “river in” nm|
As the First Mate on the Baltimore told me, 1 nautical mile is the rough equivalent of 1.15 statute miles. So in all I travelled about 7744 miles aboard the Hanjin Baltimore in about 24 days, or around 322 miles per day on average (although that leaves an inaccurate picture because it includes in-port and drifting days).
The “river in” miles getting to Shanghai were on the Yangtze River. Wikipedia has a good explanation of the importance of the Yangtze in Chinese history and at present. The ship traffic on the approach to Shanghai is heavier than I saw anywhere else. Getting to the city involves gradually directing the ships into two lines, then merging those lines together with a third one from the south channel. The ships finally approach Shanghai in one line going the same speed. Pilots are brought aboard by what look almost like jet skis and left to scale the ladder onto the ship while their driver heads back to the large ship that houses the pilots. Sometimes pilots are deposited onboard by helicopter drop, winching them down from the helicopter to the port bridge wing onto a large black mat with a “P” circled in white. I would have liked to have seen that.
The pilot came to the bridge and spent most of the time hollering in Chinese over his cell phone on what appeared to be personal business. I noticed that the Captain kept a close eye on the pilot’s directions to the crew and, on at least one occasion, intervened and politely but firmly overrode him.