The hulking supertanker

Traditional journalese calls for “hulking” to be the description of a parking garage or other large building a reporter doesn’t like, and which, by coincidence, a well-heeled developer and pal of the mayor wants to replace with high-rise condos or an office building. But USA Today on Sept 8, 2019, has an unusual application: a supertanker. Here’s the story lede:

“WASHINGTON – The Trump administration has used diplomatic pressure, legal action, economic sanctions – and even cold, hard cash – to try to get its hands on a hulking Iranian oil tanker that has been spinning its way around Africa and the Middle East for months.”

Well, it is large, at 300,579 dw tons, gross tonnage of 156,880 (that’s its capacity, but everyone knows that), and 330 meters length and 58 meters beam. But hulking? That could apply to every large ship, including those floating hotel cruise liners. Nahhh, No mystery, No drama there. No dispute. A tanker is hulking only when it is part of another Mid-East political brouhaha.

File under: Hulking up a story.

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