Monday, January 15, 2007

The romance of asphalt.


A few days ago, I was sitting here at the computer when the blast of a ship's whistle from the East River made me grab my camera and rush downstairs and across the street to the Brooklyn Heights Promenade (see here). The passing ship, heading south into New York Harbor, proved to be Asphalt Seminole, a small (108 meters length, 9,400 deadweight tons) liquid asphalt carrying tanker. A little Google research showed her owner to be an Isle of Man corporation belonging to the Sergeant Group of companies, headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and her registry to be Irish (as "Dublin" below her name on her stern - click on the photo to enlarge - indicated). She was built in a Croatian yard, and her trading range is shown on her owner's website as Caribbean/South America/West Africa/Europe, so this voyage had her a bit outside her usual stomping grounds.

What intrigues me about this ship is her Irish flag. Has the Celtic Tiger become a "flag of convenience"? I also found in my research a piece about a new container ship owned by the Evergreen group, of Taiwan, which flies the British flag. Has the whole flag of convenience game taken a new turn?

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