Maritime Monday for February 18th, 2013: RMS Philately II

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February 17, 2013


stamp depicting the Lucie, a six-meter racing yacht

engraved and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co., Ltd.,
issued for use in Bermuda on April 14, 1936

The stamp appeared in 1937 to little fanfare, purporting to show a “typical Bermuda yacht.” The governor of the British Crown Colony had personally selected the photograph of LUCIE, thinking it to be the VIKING, a local six-meter. Apparently, someone in the postal ministry realized the error but decided that nobody would ever notice. In fact, nobody did until VIKING’s owner took out his magnifying glass…



Robert Fulton; 1765-1965

American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing the first commercially successful steamboat.  In 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the Nautilus, which was the first practical submarine in history.

Raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania,  young Fulton showed an early interest in mechanical things. He learned to sketch early on and by age 17 he decided to become an artist.  Fulton gained many commissions painting portraits and landscapes, which allowed him to support himself, but he continually experimented with mechanical inventions.

While in Philadelphia, he met Benjamin Franklin and other prominent Revolutionary War figures. At age 23 he decided to visit Europe. He published a pamphlet about canals and patented a dredging machine and several other inventions. In 1797 he went to Paris where his fame as an inventor was well known…

Robert Fulton on wikipedia


US Postage Stamp, Fulton on the Hudson, 1909 Issue, 2c


Boston Tea Party; United States Bicentennial Year, issued 1976


historic Russian cruiser Aurora
issued by Bulgaria on October 29, 1957 to commemorate
the 40th anniversary of the Russian Revolution


Aurora is a 1900 Russian protected cruiser, currently preserved as a museum ship in St. Petersburg.

One of the first incidents of the October Revolution in Russia took place aboard this vessel.

During the First World War the ship operated in the Baltic Sea. In 1915, her armament was changed to fourteen 152 mm (6 in) guns. At the end of 1916, the ship was moved to Petrograd (the renamed St Petersburg) for a major repair.

A revolutionary committee was created on the ship, with most of the crew joining the Bolsheviks during the 1917 February Revolution.

According to the Soviet account of history, on 25 October 1917, Aurora refused to carry out an order to put to sea. At 9.45 p.m on that date, a blank shot from her forecastle gun signaled the start of the assault on the Winter Palace. +

inset above rt: Order of the October Revolution


Port side view of the cruiser Aurora in 2008


British Guiana c. 1889
ship image and Latin inscription is The Great Seal of British Guiana
motto “Damus Petimus Que Vicissim” (We give and expect in return)

Guiana was discovered by Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer. The area was originally settled by the Dutch at the start of the 17th century as the colonies of Essequibo, Demerara, and Berbice. These three colonies were captured by the British in 1796; returned to the (Dutch) Batavian Republic in 1802, but were then again captured by British forces a year later  (upon resumption of hostilities with France in the Napoleonic Wars in 1803) and were officially ceded to the United Kingdom in 1814.

The economy of British Guiana was completely dominated by sugarcane production until the 1880s; accounting for nearly 50% of exports.  After the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, bauxite deposits proved more promising and would remain an important part of the economy.

Guyana went on to become independent of the United Kingdom on 26 May 1966.

British Guiana is famous among philatelists for its early postage stamps which were first issued in 1850. These stamps include some of the rarest, most expensive stamps in the world, including the unique British Guiana 1c magenta from 1856, which sold in 1980 for close to $1 million. +

see also: Five cent Stamp British Guiana 1913 and here


Vessels loading Greenheart from Sproston’s Timber Flats at Demerara
Fine unused old British Guiana postcard, circa 1908 (more)


York boat on Lake Winnipeg, 1930; Walter J. Phillips – (detail)


Joseph E. Bernier

imageJoseph-Elz̩ar Bernier (1852 Р1934) was a Quebec mariner who led expeditions into the Canadian Arctic in the early 20th century.

At the age of 14, he became a cabin boy on his father’s ship. Three years later, he became captain of his own ship and commanded sailing ships for the next 25 years.

From 1904 to 1911, he explored the Arctic archipelago on annual voyages in his ship the CGS Arctic and officially claimed the islands for Canada.

During World War I, Bernier commanded a ship which transported mail along the eastern coast and carried goods in convoys across the Atlantic. He returned to patrolling the arctic after the war’s end.

He published Master Mariner and Explorer: A Narrative of Sixty Years at Sea… in 1939.

above rt:
CGS Arctic, Captain J. E. Bernier; pre-1914 barquentine rig from
A History of the Canadian Coast Guard and Marine Services


Voyage of the Nonsuch; 1668; Canada

The HMS Nonsuch was the ketch that sailed into Hudson Bay in 1668-1669 in the first trading voyage for what was to become the Hudson’s Bay Company two years later.

The ship was at the time considered smaller than many others but was specifically selected because of its small size so that when she arrived in the Hudson and James Bays, she could be sailed up-river and taken out of water so the thick ice wouldn’t crush her.



lifeboat Louis Marchesi of Roundtable;
Baliwick of Guernsey, British Channel Islands

The Waveney class lifeboat was the first class of lifeboats operated by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) capable of operating at speeds in excess of 10 knots. Based on an American hull design, 22 were in operation between 1964 and 1999 at the RNLI’s stations around the coast of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Powered by a pair of diesel engines, it has an operating radius of 95 nautical miles.

Louis Marchesi of Round Table, built in 1977, was later sold to New Zealand.


left: Operation Drake (raft)rt: Eye of the Wind (ship)

Operation Drake (1978–1980) was a round-the-world voyage with the participation of young people from many countries. The voyage was centred around the brigantine Eye of the Wind. She left Plymouth in October 1978 and returned to London two years later, in December 1980. +


hospital ship Jutlandia from Denmark, issued in 1951

MS Jutlandia was contracted by and built for the East Asiatic Company (EAC) in 1934, as a combined passenger and cargo ship at EAC’s Nakskov Shipyard, Denmark. Following an extended operational life in which she also served as a hospital ship and a royal yacht, she was finally decommissioned in 1965.

Jutlandia was in dry-dock when Germany attacked and occupied Denmark on April 9, 1940. Due to a shortage of diesel oil, the Germans never bothered to seize the ship.  It remained laid up on a nearby island until the end of the war. Declared seaworthy again on August 11, 1945, she re-entered commercial service between Europe and the East Coast of the USA.

During the Korean conflict, owners agreed to place the ship at the disposal of the Danish Government who refitted her as a civilian hospital ship with four hospital departments, 356 beds, X-ray eye and dental clinics as well as laboratories and a dispensary.

The Danish Red Cross was manned, organized and ran the hospital and the ship’s owners supplied the crew. Captain Christen Kondrup, Jutlandia’s skipper through many years, stayed on board as the ship’s master.  She sailed with a crew of 97, and a hospital staff of 91.



Ice breaker rescuing a freighter, designed by Torsten Ekström

issued by Finland on March 2, 1977 to commemorate the centenary of the opening of winter navigation between Finland and Sweden by the steamer Express


Finnish icebreaker Murtaja in the Finnish Swedish-language magazine
“Land och Stad” (Nya Pressen) on 16 April 1890

Built in 1890 by Bergsunds Mekaniska Verkstads AB in Stockholm, Sweden, she was one of the first purpose-built icebreakers in the world. Murtaja remained in service for 68 years until she was decommissioned and broken up in 1958 .

imageThe history of winter navigation in Finland dates back to the 17th century when mail was carried year-round between Turku, Finland and Grisslehamn, Sweden, over the Sea of Ã…land.

During the winter season, the postmen used ice boats, a ruggedsleigh-boats that was pushed over the ice until it gave in under the weight. Once in the water, the men began rocking the boat back and forth until it slowly began to break the ice and proceed towards open water. This mail route was often called the most dangerous in Europe.

above right: Ice-breaker “Express II” (1877) issued 1986

Murtaja, the largest and most powerful European icebreaker at that time, was completed on 30 March, 1890. She left the shipyard on the following day and headed to Helsinki, where she was welcomed by a large cheering crowd on 2 April 1890. However, she lost a large number of cast iron propeller blades and while the replacement blades could be installed at sea by trimming the vessel so that the propeller shaft was near the water surface, the heavy task took several days.

She could break level ice up to 47 centimetres (19 in) thick in continuous motion as long as there was no snow, in which case even 25-centimetre (10 in) ice required backing and ramming.  In this method the ship was reversed two to four ship lengths before ordering full ahead, after which the ship could break new channel up to six ship lengths, almost 150 metres (492 ft).

read more

see also (Suomi Finland)

see also:  Canadian Coast Guard Heavy Arctic Icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent  icebreaker and flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard; Heavy Arctic Icebreaker named after the twelfth Prime Minister of Canada. It is the largest icebreaker and flagship of the Canadian Coast Guard. Built in 1969 it has been extensively refitted and is now expected to remain in service until 2017.


stamp depicting SS France, designed and engraved by Claude Hertenberger
issued by France on January 11, 1962 to publicize the ship’s maiden voyage

SS France (1961) – French Line flagship from 1961 to 1974; constructed by the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard at SaintNazaire, France.  At the time of her construction in 1960 she was the longest passenger ship ever built, a record that remained unchallenged until the construction of the 345 metre RMS Queen Mary 2 in 2004.

Charles de Gaulle decided that it would be better for French national pride  to construct a grand ocean liner as an ocean-going showcase for France, in the tradition of the SS Normandie. Construction would be publicly funded, and this lead to raucous debates in the French parliament.

Rather than constructing a skeleton which was then covered in steel hull plating, large parts of the ship were prefabricated elsewhere. She was also built with a unique double bottom that enabled her to carry 8,000 tons of fuel – enough for the trip to New York and back. France undertook her sea trials on 19 November 1961, and averaged an unexpected 35.21 knots (65.21 km/h; 40.52 mph).

imageOn 14 December 1962, France carried the Mona Lisa from Le Havre to New York, where the painting was to embark on an American tour.

Too large to traverse the Panama and Suez Canals, she was forced to sail around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope. She sailed the North Atlantic run between Le Havre and New York for thirteen years.

After the 1972 destruction by fire of the Seawise University (former RMS Queen Elizabeth) in Hong Kong, the France became the largest in-service passenger ship in the world.

above right: France aground at the breakers in Alang (c) 2008 SS FRANCE, SS NORWAY on Maritime Matters

The Oil Crisis hit in 1973 and the price of oil went from $3 US to $12 US per barrel. When the French government calculated that keeping the France running would cost an additional ten million dollars a year,  they opted instead to subsidise the then developing Concorde. A press release issued in 1974 announced that the ship would be withdrawn from service in October of that year.

The soon-to-be-unemployed crew decided to take matters into their own hands.  The ship was commandeered by a group of French trade unionists who anchored her in the entrance to the port of Le Harve, thereby blocking all incoming and outgoing traffic. The 1200 passengers aboard had to be ferried to shore on tenders, while approximately 800 of the crew remained aboard. It took over a month for the stand-off to end.

The ship sat in the same spot for approximately four years, with the interiors, including all furniture, still completely intact. She was later purchased by Norwegian Cruise Line in 1979, renamed SS Norway and underwent significant modifications that better suited her for cruising duties. She was sold to be scrapped in 2006, which  was completed in late 2008. +


SS France embarking passengers for a night time departure
to the West Indies from New York’s Pier 88 in 1971


final departure from New York, on September 5, 2001
SS Norway with the Twin Towers of The World Trade Center in the background

see also: SS FRANCE of 1962 on Cruise Ships and Liners


Greece returns to its past with this issue on
18 April 2011 showing ships from bygone ages


Three men launching a fishing pirogue, engraved and printed by Thomas De La Rue & Co., and issued by Guinea (formerly French Guinea) on June 15, 1959


Guinea Bissau 1976 2p; HMS AGAMEMNON
Built 1852, Royal Naval Dockyard, Woolwich (London)
Length 266 ft Breadth 55 ft Depth 24 ft Gross tonnage 3100

90-gun ship of the line which fought in the Crimean war. Fitted with twin screws as well as sail. Loaned by the Royal Navy to lay the half of the 1857 and 1858 Atlantic submarine telegraph cables

Cableship Stamps
History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications


Taisei Maru (Cadet Ship) / Japan 1976

see also: Tenyo Maru (Liner)


View of TAISEI MARU, a Japanese government training ship at anchor
Australian National Maritime Museum

other images in the TAISEI MARU section


Set publicizing the fishing industry, designed by Icelandic artist Þröstur Magnússon
issued by Iceland on June 8, 1983


PERU steamship; The Pacific Steam Navigation Company c. 1857

The Pacific Steam Navigation Company (Spanish: Compañía de Vapores del Pacífico) was a commercial shipping company that operated in the Pacific coast of South America, and was the first to use steam ships for commercial traffic in the Pacific Ocean.

The company was founded by William Wheelwright in London in 1838 and began its operations in 1840 when two steam ships Chile and Peru were commissioned to carry mail. In 1852, the company gained a contract for British Government mail to posts in western South America.

The Royal Mail Steam Packet Company purchased the entire company in 1910.

Pacific Steam Navigation Company on


new issue from Monaco issued on 20 April 2012 to celebrate the return of the PlanetSolar

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, known under the project name PlanetSolar, is the largest solar-powered boat in the world. The vessel was designed by LOMOcean Design, built by Knierim Yachtbau in Kiel, Germany, and launched on 31 March 2010. In May 2012 it became the first ever solar electric vehicle to circumnavigate the globe.

read more


PlanetSolar moored in the Old Port of Marseille, May 2012
(4416×2944 px)


ORP Piorun (G65) – issued in Poland 1970

Built by John Brown & Company of Clydebank, Glasgow. She was laid down in July 1939, launched 7 May 1940 and completed on 4 November 1940. Initially commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Nerissa, she was later transferred to the Polish Navy as a replacement for the destroyer ORP Grom, which had been lost off the Norwegian coast on 4 May 1940.

Based in Great Britain, in mid-March 1941, while undergoing repairs in John Brown’s shipyard, she took part in the defence of Clydebank against air raids by the Luftwaffe. A memorial to the crew of the ship was later erected in Clydebank.

Piorun took part, along with British destroyers, in the search for the Bismarck.  According to one report, the captain transmitted the message “I am a Pole” before commencing fire on Bismarck. +


Polish destroyer ORP Piorun returns to Plymouth after the
heroic struggle against German battleship Bismarck

image Canoeing, designed by Russian artist Vasili Vasilievich Zavialov (1906-1972)

issued by Russia (USSR) on August 1, 1960 as one of a set of ten stamps publicizing the Games of the XVII Olympiad held in Rome


Russia (1973)


Discovery of the New World commemorative

right: Jorge Juan y Santacilia

imageJorge Juan y Santacilia (1713 – 1773) was a brilliant Spanish naval officer, mathematician, and scientist.

In 1734, King Philip V of Spain asked Jorge Juan and fellow scientist Antonio de Ulloa to join the French Geodesic Mission organized by the French Academy of Sciences.  Jorge Juan, aboard the ship El Conquistador,  traveled to Quito in present-day Ecuador and after nine years of careful study, determined that the Earth is not perfectly spherical but is oblate. He also successfully measured the heights of the mountains of the Andes using a barometer. On his return to Spain, King Ferdinand promoted him to captain. +

see also: cinderella from Spain with an airmail cancel


The Suez Canal Company set up a postal service to prepay correspondence internally within the company’s territory between Port Said and Suez and intermediate points. However, the stamps were in use for less then six weeks, before the Egyptian Government suppressed the service.

COMPANY STAMP on David Feldman Auctions
part of the Samir Fikry Collection of Postal Services in the Suez Canal Zone.


Regatta, designed after a photo by Swedish press photographer Thore Leykauff

engraved by Majvor Franzén-Matthews, and issued by Sweden on June 7, 1974


stamp depicting an ancient Carthaginian galley

designed by French artist Louis-Jules Dumoulin (1860-1924), engraved by Jules-Jacques Puyplat, issued for use in Tunisia in 1906


Nauru. The Silver Jubilee of George 5th

Nauru – officially the Republic of Nauru and formerly known as Pleasant Island, is an island country in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbour is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 300 kilometres (186 mi) to the east. Nauru is the world’s smallest republic, covering just 21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi). With 9,378 residents, it is the second least-populated country after Vatican City.

The British sea captain John Fearn, a whale hunter, became the first Westerner to visit Nauru in 1798, naming it “Pleasant Island”. From around 1830, Nauruans had contact with Europeans from whaling ships and traders who replenished their supplies (particularly fresh water) at Nauru. Around this time, deserters from European ships began to live on the island.

Republic of Nauru on wikipedia


stamp depicting a Barong Panau

“barong’ means boat, and “panau” refers to net fishing; displaying the former (pre-1973) coat of arms of Sarawak, designed by J.D. Hughes, engraved and printed by Bradbury, Wilkinson & Co., Ltd., and issued for use in Sarawak on October 1, 1957

Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. The eastern seaboard of Borneo was charted, though not settled, by the Portuguese in the early 16th century. Sarawak was thus an independent kingdom from 1841 until 1888, when the state was placed under British protection.

Japan invaded Sarawak and occupied the island of Borneo in 1941,  holding both territories for the duration of World War II until the area was secured by Australian forces in 1945. Charles Vyner Brooke (the White Rajah) formally ceded sovereignty to the British Crown on 1 July 1946.

Sarawak was officially granted independence on 22 July 1963, and joined with Malaya, Sabah, and Singapore, in the federation of Malaysia.


Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Islands; 1882 issue

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island country in the Lesser Antilles chain, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean. +

featured: Royal Mail Steam Packet Orinoco (West Indies Mail Service)
built 1886  – 4,434 tons


Huguenot-Walloon Tercentenary 1624-1924
United States


New Amsterdam
pen-and-ink view of New Amsterdam, drawn on-the-spot in 1648 and
discovered in the map collection of the Austrian National Library in Vienna in 1991

Huguenot/Walloon Tercentenary:
(or, Big Apple Established to Facilitate Export of Beaver Assholes)

imageThe territory of New Netherland, containing the Northeast’s largest rivers with access to the beaver trade, was originally a private, profit-making commercial enterprise focusing on cementing alliances and conducting trade with the diverse Indian tribes. They enabled the surveying and exploration of the region as a prelude to an anticipated official settlement by the Dutch Republic, which occurred in 1624.

In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was founded. The mouth of the Hudson River was selected as the ideal place for initial settlement as it had easy access to the ocean while also securing an ice free lifeline to the beaver trading post near present day Albany.

The threat of attack from other European colonial powers prompted the directors of the Dutch West India Company to formulate a plan to protect the entrance to the Hudson River. In 1625, many settlers were moved from Noten Eylant (Governors Island) to Manhattan Island (Fort Amsterdam).

see also: 300th Anniversary of New York City


postage stamp: US Merchant Marine 1946 issue

see also: Postal Service salutes U.S. Merchant Marine on four stamps


stamp depicting SS Normandie, issued by France on June 7, 1935

imageSS Normandie was an ocean liner built in Saint-Nazaire, France for the French Line Compagnie Générale Transatlantique.

She entered service in 1935 as the largest and fastest passenger ship afloat; she is still the most powerful steam turbo-electric-propelled passenger ship ever built. She was not a commercial success and relied partly on government subsidy to operate.

During service as the flagship of the CGT, she made 139 westbound transatlantic crossings from her home port of Le Havre to New York. Normandie held several Blue Ribands for the fastest transatlantic crossing.


At 02:45 am on 10 February 1942, USS Lafayette (troop transport AP-53) capsized and sank under the weight of  6,000 tons of water used to douse an on-board fire while she sat in New York Harbor. LIFE magazine photo.


Aircraft carrier and support vessels, commemorative stamp designed by British-born American sailor and artist Richard Atherstone Genders (1919-1991), engraved by Richard M. Bower, and issued by the USA on June 10, 1957 for the June 11-13 Hampton Roads – International Naval Review on the 350th anniversary of founding of Jamestown, Virginia, involving 113 ships from seventeen nations


Trawler (surrounded by hungry gulls in the frame)
designed by French artist Georges Gimel (1898-1962),

engraved by Jules Piel – issued for use in Saint Pierre and Miquelon on December 5, 1932


“Treasure ship”issued by Japan on January 11, 1972 to publicize the New Year lottery


Winslow Homer


The Virginia of Sagadahock, Maine

Virginia of Sagadahoc: The First Ship Built in America

In Case You Missed It:
Maritime Monday for February 11th, 2013: RMS Philately I

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