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A few summers ago it seemed every third person on the subway was reading Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. If you haven’t read and you’re drawn to hidden signs, still read it. Pick it up and you won’t put it down until you’re done. Auguries and interpretations intrigue me although it’s entertainment, not serious for me; semiotics as a spectator sport.



Take you, Alice. What can I make of your bow mast (white) folded to port? Who else reads you?



How about a container packed with four chassis?



I know masts get folded down to allow passage under low obstruction, but what else might these signal?


This reminds me of a story I heard in the 60’s about a family run farm stand; if a certain flag flew from the mast, it meant certain illicit produce could be purchased, a sign in plain view but a code like semaphores, morse, the language of flowers, fans, scarves, and beads. And then there’s smoke signals, the talking drum, the slit drum.

So Alice . . . I’ve a hard time reading you.

Vessels depicted above: Alice Oldendorff, MOL Experience, John B. Caddell, Miriam Moran as shot by Will Van Dorp

I’ve wondered about these smaller vessels in Arthur Kill for almost as long as I’ve been doing this blog, which is now in its 12th month. They all have orange hulls, and the naming system alludes to the oceans of our planet. Guess their provenance? Answer is given below.



Here Arctic Ocean is offloaded while taking on lube oil from Rolf Williams, featured previously. I recall being excited when I first saw Arctic Ocean, thinking it came from the far north.



Atlantic Ocean is almost identical about 10, 000 dwt. Ready to guess yet? Registry is Nassau, and that might account for the orange, but what cargo?



Juxtaposition with the 5000+ teu MOL Experience (less than 6 months old) shows the relative size quite clearly. That’s Indian Ocean, and all three vessels were fotografed at Howland Hook in the past six months. So’d you guess what’s in the hold yet?

Would you guess . . . provenance is Ecuador? See the EL on the stack of Arctic Ocean? Ecuadorian Line uses Nassau as a flag of convenience. Cargo? My guess is bananas. If you look on the left side of the Ecuadorian Line homepage, there a link to bonita. Check out this bonita link. Seven days from Guayquil to Staten Island, read it here. Here’s more on banana shipment, thanks to . . Crisco.

So . . . why not paint these vessels yellow?

All images by Will Van Dorp.

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January 2023