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View of a "model" of a typical Coastal Ship that plied the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. The bow of the boat is on the right, and at the stern note the steering oar. This ship is on display at the mouth of the Cayster River that flows through Ephesus. This is actually a replica of a "coastal ship"—that is one, that stayed close to the coast and traveled from harbor to nearby harbor, not the large long-distance freighter that traveled between Alexandria and Rome (see below).
The Apostle Paul traveled on such a ship as he was being taken to Rome—the one that sailed from Caesarea (or Ptolemais) to the port of Myra (Andriace). There, he boarded a larger ship for the trip to Rome
Acts 27:1 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, Paul and some other prisoners were handed over to a centurion named Julius, who belonged to the Imperial Regiment. 2 We boarded a ship [in Caesarea or Ptolemais] from Adramyttium about to sail for ports along the coast of the province of Asia, and we put out to sea. Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, was with us . . . 5 When we had sailed across the open sea off the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy and put us on board. 7 We made slow headway for many days . . . . (NIV)
The large Grain Ships could carry all types of cargo including grain (for example from Alexandria Egypt to Rome), wine, olive oil, and other foodstuffs. According to an ancient source, the larger grain ships could be up to 180 ft. + [55 m.] long. The trip from Roman to Alexandria‚ with the prevailing wind, took about two weeks while the return journey, with a full load, had to travel in a counter-clockwise direction from Alexandria to Rome (because they could not sail directly into the prevailing northwesterly wind) took close to two months! It is said that Alexandria supplied Rome with 1,700 such shiploads each year.