After completing its maiden voyage during June 2020, the world’s largest ship, the HMM Algeciras docks in Essex in the UK to unload cargo.
The ship is, unbelievably, 400m long and 61m wide – which is longer than the height of London skyscraper The Shard (310m). The ship’s arrival into the UK was a major news story, and all along the route people were lining the coast to catch a glimpse of the vessel.
The world’s largest ship may well be an awesome feat of engineering, but it is also a stark warning of the level of pollution with which we’re filling the oceans – and it’s about sound pollution as well as the better-known pollutants. Recorded by Gina Clark.
Sound pollution is a major issue for marine life – marine and shipping noise can damage or even kill marine life such as whales, crabs or squid, and dolphins are being forced to simplify their calls due to undersea shipping and drilling noise. Whales have been reported to have been lost far from their breeding grounds, disorientated by noise from the shipping lanes.
The reimagined piece moves from above the surface to below and back again, dipping up and down to show on the one hand the excitement of spectators checking out the ship’s arrival – and beneath the surface, the synth lines represent the whales and other marine life being disorientated and devastated by our shipping noise.
The synth lines are built largely from whale song, and some underwater hydrophone recordings from beneath the River Elbe in Germany are blended into the undersea sections.