back to article World's largest ship swallows 900 MEGATINS of baked beans

The BBC is having an Olympic swimming pool-sized field day at the news that the world's largest ship – the CSCL Globe - has docked at the Port of Felixstowe. According to Auntie, the China Shipping Container Lines-owned behemoth "is more than 400m (1,312ft) long, the equivalent of eight Olympic-size swimming pools", while its …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How big is a "Mammoth Head's Up then?

    Come on El Reg. If you are going to credit someone with the heads up, at least follow the same measurement standards. Surely a mammoth head's up is equivalent to a couple of dozen cows heads up, which would be at least a few yardsticks long if laid end to end?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How big is a "Mammoth Head's Up then?

      Most painful turtle's head ever?

  2. frank ly

    No mention of fridges?

    Just wondering.

  3. WonkoTheSane

    Article is incomplete

    BBC also say a larger ship (capacity 19,224 containers) will be launched in 52 days.

    1. Flyberius

      Re: Article is incomplete

      Great scott! That's 2496 episodes of Eastenders. If you would care to imagine it.

      1. maffski

        Re: Article is incomplete

        Imagine it is all you can do, such long term exposure to depressive influences causing suicide in all test subjects.

        The world record for contiguous Eastenders viewing without self-slaughter being 84.37 episodes (Toxteth O'Grady, USA).

        1. Avatar of They
          Thumb Up

          Have an upvote.

          I got the reference.

    2. Richard Ball

      Re: Article is incomplete

      And the larger one might carry a gigatin of beans.

  4. Terje

    El Reg measurement units are of course the standard units of choice for the discerning reader, but does it need to be updated to take account for the advances made in palaeontology? Since our beloved Brontosaurus has apparently never existed, do we need to redefine to some other similar species of sauropod?

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge


      but it will always be a brontosaurus to me.

      A plague on those revisionist relabellers!

      1. silent_count

        Re: Revisionists

        We've gotta round up the Apatosaurians, and the astrologers* too - the ones who decided that Pluto isn't a planet. Cause I've had enough!

        Either they can renounce their idiotic ways or we'll stuff them into a rocket and send them all to Pluto so they can see first-hand just how planet-like it is. And they'd better do their research quickly too because there's every chance they'll get stood on by an angry, Pluonian brontosaurus!

        * Yeah. Yeah. I know. But real astronomers would be too busy spending their time discovering stuff to mess around with re-labeling the things in our solar system. So the ones with that kind of free time on their hands - they're the ones who have nothing to do all week after spending Monday morning writing about the tall, dark and handsome stranger you're going to meet while drowning your sorrows at the pub because some shitty astrologers decided to mess with Pluto.

    2. Robert Helpmann??


      El Reg measurement units are of course the standard units of choice...

      Two units of measure are missing from the pantheon: time and power. I humbly nominate the Hoover to fill in the void for the measure of power:

      ...the CSCL Globe's massive two-stroke engine... "operates” at 56.8 megawatts... the equivalent of almost 38,000 1,500-watt vacuum cleaners"

      Thus 1 H = 1,500 W

      Anyone want to have a go at a UoM for time?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UOMs!

        Well, if we're off the microfortnight, millifortnight, fortnight set in the FFF standard and given that speed is defined as percentage of the maximum velocity of a sheep in a vacuum. It only makes sense that time should be roughly equivalent to pi seconds. The reasoning of course being that the maximum speed of a sheep in a vacuum is roughly 6900 brontosauruses (brontosauri??) per pisecond which needs a respectable name such as a Brontofart only because I imagine that pi seconds would be the minimum time it takes a brontosaurus to fart. Of course we could go full circle and make it 2*pi or e or some other number or even make it an exponential unit such that the second unit of time is an order of magnitude larger than the first but I get the impression this is getting a little long winded and that's probably not good given the suggested unit.

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    So its more efficient in the use of fuel

    but still really bad for global warming!

    1. Adam 1

      Re: So its more efficient in the use of fuel

      Yes. Methane is a particularly potent greenhouse gas.

  6. The Vociferous Time Waster

    56.8 mega watts

    so 0.05 DeLoriens?

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: 56.8 mega watts

      actually it would be 0.05 power for flux capacitors. But great reference in any case!

      1. Jos V

        Re: 56.8 mega watts

        More importantly, about 2000 of the new weapon grade laser guns from Lockheed Martin...

        Where's the sharks?

  7. Thomas Gray

    How long would a line made of all those baked beans make? Enquiring minds wish to know!

    1. Roger Varley

      Assuming that a standard tin is 3" tall, 900M tins would form a line that would circumnavigate the equator 1.7 times.

      The ecomentalists will go bezerk at the thought of the methane output that would generate.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        line made of all those baked beans

        er, I thought the inquiring mind of the honorable gentleman to the top meant the line formed of them beans sans the 900M tins...

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          Re: line made of all those baked beans

          Well, according to Heinz, there are 465 beans in a tin. Unfortunately, my google-fu is weak in the matter of a baked bean's dimension, so I'm going to have to guess at 10mm long.

          So that's 4.46m per tin times 900M = 4,014,000km, pleasingly close to 100 times around the equator.

        2. Roger Varley

          Re: line made of all those baked beans

          Ok - positing an average of 450 beans/tin and an average bean length of 0.25" that's ... 3.12 yards/tin. So 900M would be 1598011 miles, give or take or, in other words, around 3 Apollo missions


        3. kendolondon

          Re: line made of all those baked beans

          Well, assuming 350 beans per tin (I Googled it) and an average length per bean of 10mm (I measured it between bites of my sausage)...

          900,000,000 tins

          = 315,000,000,000 beans

          = 3,150,000,000,000 mm

          = 3,150,000 km

          when laid end to end

          Now, given that the average distance to Mars is 225,000,000 km we can therefore conclude that it'd take a mere 71.4 boats loads and we have solved the problem of provisioning the first human mission to the red planet (both in terms of crew subsistence and craft propulsion)

    2. Pirate Dave Silver badge

      Just think

      of how much MUSIC could be made with that many beans...

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      I don't know.

      I do know that if I laid all the worms in an acre of top soil in a straight line one would wriggle and spoil it all.

  8. qwertyuiop

    Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

    we've calculated that 156 million pairs of shoes ... would stretch a mind-boggling 52km

    Surely that would depend on what size the shoes are? 156 million pairs of children's size 3s aren't going to stretch as far as 156 million pairs of men's size 14s.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

      Evidently, then, for the purposes of stretching shoes over the horizon, an agreed standard shoe length is required.

      1. oceanhippie

        Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

        Yeah how about 1 ft or 12 inches?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

          OT, but sort of related to measurement and shoes;

          UK and US shoe sizes increase by a length of 1 barleycorn.

          (1 barleycorn is 1/3 inch)

          Just thought you might like to know.

    2. Doctor_Wibble

      Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

      After checking my handy portable cylindrical metal containers of haricots blanc en sauce de tomate avec le mini cumberlands I concluded that although 4 would be fine to be equivalent to 'a pair of shoes', it looks like 'around 6' takes it to approximately 1 shoe-box though I don't have enough tins to test this for sure because I only keep one or two in the cupboard just in case any common people insist on visiting.

      Of course we now have 'how big is a shoe box' but this is easily quantified by using a piece of string.

    3. Albert_T_Cone

      Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

      I'm going to assume, simply because it's convenient, that these are men's size 10 shoes, because that makes them pretty much dead on 1 foot long. Laid out heel-to-toe, 312 million shoes = 312 million feet, which is a tad over 59k Miles (not km!) or nearly 2.5 times around the world.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

        "these are men's size 10 shoes, because that makes them pretty much dead on 1 foot long."

        Pretty much every shoe should be 1 foot long. But as this is a volumetric thing, how many shoes full of beans could it carry? And slightly more sensibly (and depressingly), it'll carry many full containers of manufactured <stuff> from Asia to Europe, but what will it be shipping back?

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

          "it'll carry many full containers of manufactured <stuff> from Asia to Europe, but what will it be shipping back?"

          Clean(er) air!

        2. Michael Thibault

          Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

          >what will it be shipping back?

          Shipping containers, of course. Filled with *our* air. Clean air, and UNpaid for!

    4. rosbif73

      Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

      Personally I wonder how it is possible that the containers laid end-to-end would stretch 72 miles, yet the pairs of shoes inside the same containers would stretch only 52 km! Maybe it's the mix of English and metric units that led to a NASA-style calculation fail!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Roger Varley

        Re: Shoe-rly shum mishtake!

        The 59K miles is correct, it's the 72K miles for the boxes that I would question, as this would mean that the box was only 0.22 inches longer than the shoe.

        Yes. I *am* bored this afternoon. Why do you ask?

  9. Douchus McBagg

    how many Halfords worth of two-stroke oil is that?

    1. Tom yng Nghymru

      No two stroke oil needed.

      It is a two stroke diesel engine so, unlike a two stroke petrol engine which burns the oil used to lubricate it, the two stroke diesel has a sump and oil system exactly the same as a four stroke diesel. Also has valves and a camshaft in the same way a four stroke diesel engine would.

      1. Alan Edwards

        Animation of a 2-stroke diesel.

  10. WraithCadmus

    What's the fuel economy?

    For another container ship we once calculated 58ft/gal, of course over that many containers it was the equivalent of a lorry getting 150MPG.

    The engines are daft though, they redline at 100rpm...

    1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

      Re: What's the fuel economy?

      The engines are daft though, they redline at 100rpm...

      Umm, but think of all that lovely torque......

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the equivalent of 14,500 London buses"

    but are they half-full or half-empty?

    1. Richard Ball

      Re: the equivalent of 14,500 London buses"

      They're bendy and one half is full and the other half is empty.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: the equivalent of 14,500 London buses"

        Just a quick correction:

        They're bendy and one half is full and the other half is empty on fire.

  12. ukgnome

    El Reg needs more informative articles of this nature.

  13. Mint Sauce

    Buh...but... many hours of 'Children in Need' would have to be broadcast to cover all the instances of people sitting in bathtubs of beans, where total beanage = 900 megatins.

    For that matter, how many bathtubs would be required for said sit-a-thon (assuming UK spec tub and average BMI of occupant ;-)

    Enquiring minds (well it is Friday...)

    1. WraithCadmus

      Re: Buh...but...

      A bath is 80l, a baked bean tin is 0.428l

      Ergo you would need 900*10E9/(80/0.428) = 48,150,000,000 baths to use up those beans.

      I do not know what the rate of bean-baths per hour is during CiN, so I'm going to make assumptions here. Assuming such a large number was done picture-in-a-picture style with each bath getting 10 seconds of air in the corner we could get 360 baths per hour requiring 133,750,000h of screentime, or a little over 15,000 years.

      The real figure would be longer of course, as evidence suggests baked-bean baths are not filled as high as the same bath would be with water for bathing, also I think my volume statistic for the tin includes packaging.

      1. WraithCadmus

        Re: Buh...but...

        Gyah, off by a factor of a thousand on the number of tins, for some reason I got 10^9 in my head.

  14. Gideon 1

    900 meellion cans of beans at 415g each would weigh 373500 tonnes, while the ship has a gross tonnage of 186000. It would sink!

    1. Tim Worstal

      Which is why....

      ....container weights (in fact, all transport weights) are calculated as volume weights. For a 40 ft container, about 65 m3 volume, and maximum weight 30 tonnes (not quite accurate but good enough). Water has a density of one (as in one m3 water is one tonne).

      So, you can pack a container with 63 m3 of something as long as that doesn't weigh more than 30 tonnes. Or, the other way around, if density is lower than 0.5 then you can have the volume, above a density of 0.5 then the weight becomes the restriction. Beans are denser than water so the restriction is the weight, not the volume.

  15. Greg D


    Why do a story about a huge tanker, and use a picture of some baked beans as the headline picture?

    I want to see the tanker goddamit. Oh well, Google it is!

  16. Bob Wheeler

    Enquiring minds wish to know...

    "massive two-stroke engine"

    But what's the 0-60 speed in sheep?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enquiring minds wish to know...

      Never, unless it is converted to LNG and then explodes.

  17. Daz555

    A mere pup compared to this old lady:

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you gave that a flight deck you could fly Typhoons off it without a catapult...

    2. ravenviz Silver badge


      Wow, a crude oil tanker! Will they be building a nice one now she has been scrapped?

  18. spiny norman

    Problem of scale

    In the BBC article, the engine pictured is supposed to be 17.2m high and the bloke in overalls and a hard hat standing next to it is 1.85m tall. So the engine is as tall as 9.3 blokes in overalls stacked one on top of the other. But when I attempt to replicate this scientifically in Powerpoint, I can only fit just over 8 men into the stack. It's this sort of disregard for accuracy that undermines the credibility of the whole measurement system.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: Problem of scale

      Typical BBC playing free and easy with stacked overalls blokes. Pah.

  19. hatti

    Any idea how many Shroedinger's cats that would be, assuming of course, the cat is alive in the container at the time of measurement.

  20. TheRealRoland

    Pieter Schelte

    What about the Pieter Schelte, currently docked somewhere in Rotterdam? Or is it because that ship is technically still under construction?

    (no comment on the quality of the entry itself. it's Wikipedia, after all)

    1. Roger Varley

      Re: Pieter Schelte

      Stick him in goal for MUFC. That should tighten up their defense a bit.

  21. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    BB measurements

    Somebody has to figure out a way to get Ann Margret into the baked-bean measurements standard.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: BB measurements

      What weight of baked beans does she displace?

      1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Re: BB measurements

        It has been about nearly 40 years since I saw "Tommy", so without going to YouTube, I can't really say. And even that might not help, for I'm not sure she was actually floating.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NOT the world's largest ship!

    Hate to disappoint, but you should really do your research before claiming she is the largest ship in the world (both the BBC and the Register at that)! She is actually the largest CONTAINER ship -

    The largest ships at the moment are the so-called valemaxes (at about 400,000 deadweight tons, 65m wide and 362m long VS 184,000 DWT, 59m long for the CSCL Globe) carrying iron ore from Brazil to China.

    The largest ship ever built was a ULCC (Ultra large Crude Carrier), the Seawise Giant, ordered by the Greek shipowner Nomikos in 1979 (at 458m long, 564,000 DWT and 68.8m wide) - She was never delivered to Nomikos as the Oil Crisis hit before her delivery and the ship subsequently got sold on and on but never made any money.

  23. MrZoolook

    Thinking ahead, post 2017

    Being in the UK, a 1500 watt vacuum cleaner will cease to be a valid unit of measurement come 2017. I propose a task force to carry out the job of proactively converting all published measurements based on vacuum cleaner wattage, into the newer 900 watt grade before then.

    We don't need another millennium style bug causing all measuring on the vacuum cleaner scale to bring the world to its knees.

  24. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    If, while travelling at top speed....

    ...(which I estimate to be 0.4 Routemasters/second), this ship crashed into a solid wall the height of Nelson's Column, how many Bulgarian airbags would be needed to stop a brontesaurus in the wheel house from being hurt?

    1. spiny norman

      Re: If, while travelling at top speed....

      Isn't the height of the wall less important than the thickness? When you say solid, I can imagine the wall would have to be pretty thick before the brontesaurus would even notice the collision, assuming it was head on.

      As Leslie Phillips used to say in The Navy Lark, "Left hand down a bit!"

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