Imagine yourself as an American mariner during 1996. You are employed on board a modern, 60,000-ton container vessel trading on a transpacific route. Most evenings after dinner, you take a walk around the weather deck for some exercise. You reach the bow of the vessel and stop for a while, pausing near the anchor windlass. The ship is moving ahead at its full sea speed of 21 knots, propelled by a 40,000-horsepower direct drive-slow speed diesel engine. In spite of the size of the ship - 950 feet long and 145 feet wide - and the huge propulsion engine that drives it, the only thing you hear is a persistent hissing, which is the sound of the bulbous bow and stem of the vessel cutting through the calm Pacific water.