Tanker Smashes Sailor’s Dream

Captain Nelson Liu was sleeping in his bed on the Princess Taiping, a Chinese junk built to 13th-century specifications, possibly dreaming of the adulation he would receive when he completed his quest to prove that Asian explorers could have reached America before 1492, when his dream ran afoul of modern shipping practices. A mere 30 miles from his destination, after having logged 14,000 miles at sea under only the power of sail, he was awakened to the frightened cries of his crew at the sight of a 21st-century monstrosity bearing down on his primitive vessel. A Liberian tanker known as the Champion Express ran through his hand-made wooden ship like a knife through butter, sending his crew into the sea and injuring one. The tanker, for a moment, appeared to take notice, but then continued on its course. All survived, but Captain Liu’s dream, like his ship, lies in tatters.