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What I would like to know is how widely known is “seaspeak,” or SMCP.  Or, how much have seaspeak principles been morphed–voluntarily or by regulation–into common VHF practice?

Most large ships look alike, allowing for differentiation into groups like container ship, tanker, RORO, pure car truck carrier, and then sub-groups with military vessels. Explanation:  physics,  global standards related safety, and the dictates of efficiency.

But within a tank, any of a range of fluids might live;  within a container, a limitless number of goods might be moved.  So it’s not  surprising–given the diverse points of origin of sixth-boro traffic–that a need exists for a simplified but unambiguous standard language.

As to signs of this diversity in shipping?  Check out Al-Mutanabbi.  That’s not “al” short for “Allen” or “Alberto” either.  More on the “al” at the end of this post.  I’d no idea until I looked it up that

Al-Mutanabbi was an Iraqi poet who died more than 1000 years ago.  In the foto above, vessel in the distance is MSC Dartford.

Elixir suggests magic for me, until

I learn that Yang Ming, a Taiwanese company with a history that dates back to the Qing dynasty (the last dynasty before the “republic”),  has a whole set of  container vessels with “e” names like Efficiency and Eminence.  Give me elixir any day.  By the way, that’s Vane’s Sassafras passing port to port.  By the way, sassafras was once a major ingredient of that great elixir called root beer.

Lian Yun Hu . . . I’ve not much clue about, other than that it’s owned or managed by Cosco, conjuring up thoughts of Cosco Busan and Shen Neng 1, of San Francisco and Great Barrier reef notoriety, respectively.

Most watchers of the boro would be clueless here without

a little help elsewhere on the exterior of the ship.

In Hindi, I’m told, “jag PLUS prerana” means “world”  AND “inspiration.”  Now, I wish they put an asterisk there with a translation painted just above the waterline somewhere.  I’d want to know that!

A large number of ships in the harbor are constructed in Korea.  And their names are straight-forward English although generally hangul writing coexists with English.  Tug is Amy C McAllister.

An interesting fact about hangul is that its invention gets credited to a Korean king named Sejong, a Renaissance man on that peninsula a  half-millennium ago.

All of which I use to illustrate my point:  if I didn’t read or understand English, I’d be helpless.  And I’m really just a shore-watcher.  Without an international language, communication on the sea–as in the air–would be worse than garbled.

Finally, here’s a gratuitous shot of Flintereems, from the land of my mother tongue.  Spelling notwithstanding, I believe the “eems” in this Flinter vessel refers to the river whose estuary forms the border between the Dutch and the Germans.  I set Goldman Sachs atop the Flinter  deck to mimic the last Flinter vessel “borg” appearing on this blog here.

All fotos, Will Van Dorp.

For a perspective on some verbal and non-verbal communication in the harbor, check out bowsprite here.

Oh . . . Al the prefix in Arabic means “the.”   You know it from such English words as “algebra, alchemy, algorithm” and –believe it or not–“elixir.”    Here’s more on that.

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Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

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Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.

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