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BBC: Monster cargo ship delivers '863 million tins of baked beans'

New behemoth carrier hewn from 'eight Eiffel Towers'

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The BBC has sensationally quantified the cargo capacity of a new behemoth container ship as "863 million tins of baked beans".

Auntie's penchant for describing very big, heavy, strong or long things in terms mere mortals can get their heads round is well known to Reg regulars. Last year, it described the constricting force of a prehistoric monster snake as "the equivalent of lying under the weight of one-and-a-half times the Brooklyn Bridge", while back in 2010 readers were treated to the idea that the $1.1bn in dollar coins lying in US government depositories would, if stacked up, extend "almost seven times higher than the International Space Station".

Well, the corporation has outdone itself in this report on the forthcoming "Triple E" class of seagoing delivery van. The Beeb reporter explained: "Each will contain as much steel as eight Eiffel Towers and have a capacity equivalent to 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU*).

"If those containers were placed in Times Square in New York, they would rise above billboards, streetlights and some buildings.

"Or, to put it another way, they would fill more than 30 trains, each a mile long and stacked two containers high. Inside those containers, you could fit 36,000 cars or 863 million tins of baked beans."

The mind boggles, although we're disappointed that the Beeb has omitted the traditional "average family-size" qualifier from its "36,000 cars", and has dismally failed to calculate how far the containers would extend towards the space station were they formed into one mighty tower.

The answer is 46,620 metres, which by our reckoning represents 13.32 per cent of the orbiting outpost's average height of 350km above terra firma. ®

* The standard "twenty-foot equivalent unit", measuring 6.1m long, 2.44m wide and 2.59m high.

Thanks to the various readers who flagged this one up.

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