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5 bold maritime wishes in the Year of the Dragon

It’s the Year of the Dragon from 10 February 2024 to 28 January 2024 according to Chinese astrology. Shall we see some major changes in the shipping industry? No, not innovations in technology or marketing, but a shift in the values and outlooks of those who deal with ships and the men and women who man them.

US maritime heritage embedded in state seals

The United States ranked no. 11 in the 2022 UNCTAD table of countries with the largest fleets in terms of carrying capacity (deadweight tonnes). It was way below the top three fleet owners — Greece, China and Japan. Nonetheless, Americans can take pride in having an enviable maritime heritage and preserving and keeping it alive in their art, music and literature. That legacy is even embedded in the official seals of 13 states.

The expression ‘the docks’ re-examined

British English has a certain flavour that can make it quite pleasant to hear. The plural noun “docks”, for example, means the man-made structures for the mooring and loading/unloading of boats and ships. But when Brits say “I’m going down to the docks,” they refer to the area of water where the docks (quay walls, piers or wharves) are located and the offices and warehouses around them.

A trio of superb poems about steamboats

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The reverse can be true. A poet who is not banal can paint, with just a line or two, a picture that is worth a thousand words. Such a poet can even convey certain sounds that a mute painting or photograph cannot.

Steamy times: Great old photographs of steamboats

Old photos of steamboats are not likely to evoke feelings of nostalgia among environmentalists. Steamboats polluted the air and ruined riverbank ecosystems. Even so, they were vital to trade, commerce and tourism. Apart from their economic significance, steamboats exuded a certain charm. They inspired Mark Twain to write Life in the Mississippi, a memoir of the steamboat era on the Mississippi before the American Civil War.

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