The most important ships sailing the ocean today are not aircraft carriers or destroyers. They are the humble merchantmen that keep the global economy humming. Few appreciate the critical importance of these vessels to day-to-day life. The massive post-Covid shortages provided the public with a small preview. Chief among the merchantmen is the tanker. Tankers range from enormous monoliths that carry multiple millions of barrels of crude oil to barge-sized vessels that carry a few thousand barrels of volatile chemicals. All the disparate types of tankers have one thing in common; they keep the world moving and the lights on. Russia has opened a new front in its energy war with the west. Tankers are both its tools and its targets.
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