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Ever heard the phrase “as superstitious as a sailor”? Me either, as it doesn’t exist. HOWEVER, sailors are a superstitious bunch and this week we bring you some of their most interesting apprehensions.
In the 1700’s when a number of vessels seemingly disappeared, the common denominator appeared to be the humble banana. From this point on, bananas were seen to be bad luck on a vessel. (Not great news for our container Members who carry this fruit quite a lot).
How very sexist indeed but it seems us women were too much of a distraction for the seafarers and therefore bad luck. Although interestingly, naked women were seen as good luck due to their sea calming powers!
Seafarers obviously have some almighty pipes on them, as whistling was banned for fear that they would “whistle up a storm”.
Finally the black cats have been cut some slack and are actually seen as good luck on board a ship. It is thought that the cats’ presence kept them safe (probably due to their love for the mice that destroyed ropes etc more than the colour of their fur).
We’ve all heard the phrase red sky at night, shepherds delight but it seems that red sky in the morning is a sailors warning. You wake up to a red sky, you better be prepared because the day is going to be a dangerous one.
Sea Friend or Foe.
Sea Friend or Foe.
If a shark is following your ship then I’m sorry but call your family because death is inevitable. Unless of course followed by a friendly dolphin who will bring some good luck your way.
It is thought that once a vessel is named and christened, it takes on its own persona. Changing the name is therefore a big no no but if you absolutely MUST – ensure you have a de-naming ceremony. (This mostly consists of consulting Poseidon for his approval so as not to invoke his wrath).
Not an exhaustive list of superstitions by any means but certainly an insight. Do you know of any we have missed? Get in touch via Twitter and let us know.
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The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has recently published Coronavirus (COVID-19): Roadmap for Vaccination of International Seafarers setting out procedures for all stakeholders to facilitate crew inoculation during the pandemic.
UK Club Live Webinar (Series 15): Navigating in River (Dire) Straits - Collisions and Groundings
The UK P&I Club recently held a Webinar on the subject of confined navigation, particularly in rivers such as the Mississippi and Paraná; more information and a recording of the Webinar is now available.