Tag Archives: ships

The Battle of Trafalgar 200th Anniversary

Originally published February 10, 2012.

One of the most defining naval actions in history, the Battle of Trafalgar asserted the Royal Navy’s and Great Britain’s dominance of the seas.  Fought on the 21st of October 1805, off Cape Trafalgar between the combined French and Spanish Fleets against Britain’s Royal Navy.

Battle of Trafalgar Bicentenary Stamps Issued by Great Britain October 18. 2005

Under orders from Napoleon to attack the British fleet, Admiral Villeneuve and the combined fleets of France and Spain departed from Cadiz on the 19th of October.

French and Spanish Ships putting to sea from Cadiz

Under the Command of Admiral Horatio Nelson, the British Fleet abandoned orthodox tactics and attacked the combined Franco-Spanish Fleet head-on, in 2 columns,  in an attempt to split the enemy line into three groups.

British Fleet Attacking in Two Columns

This would in create  3 main advantages for the British fleet.  First, it would allow the fleets to close as quickly as possible reducing the chances of the enemy fleet withdrawing without fighting.  Secondly, it would allow for more ship to ship fighting where the British had a distinct advantage.  Lastly, it made more difficult for the combined fleet to come to its own defense and opened them up to British broadsides.

British Cutter Entrepreante attempting to rescues crew from French Achille

The battle was a huge success for British, two-thirds of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet was lost with no British ships being sunk.

The Cutter Entrepreante with dismasted Britsh Belle Isle


Casualty rates were tremendous on both sides.  The British had hundreds wounded and lost around 405 men among them Admiral Nelson.  Approximately 2,700 men were lost in the French and Spanish fleets.
 Wounded Adm Horatio Nelson on the deck of HMS Victory

As a result of the battle, the Royal Navy was never again seriously threatened by the French fleet.  It ensured British dominance of the world’s oceans well into the twentieth century.  It put into perspective the famous patriotic song Rule Brittania, specifically the lines “Rule Brittania, Brittania Rules the Waves”.

cutter and HMS Pickle

Wikipedia, Battle of Trafalgar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trafalgar

Wikipedia, Order of battle at the Battle of Trafalgar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trafalgar_order_of_battle_and_casualties


North Korean Ships

Originally published December 29, 2011.

On May 5, 1978, North Korea issued 5 stamps to commemorate their maritime heritage.  The stamps depict 5 ships and various aircraft and other modes of transportation (A very topical minded issue ;).  The stamps were perforated 13.25 and were also issued in a Sheet of 5 plus 1 label.

Sheet of 5 plus label.

The first ship identified is the Cargo Freighter Man Gyong Bonk.  Google provided that the ship may be misidentified in the Scott Catalogue and should be the Man Gyong Bong.  Not to be confused with a ship with the same name constructed in 1992, this one was recently touted as possible the worst cruise ship in the world.  You can read the article here: http://www.news.com.au/travel/holiday-ideas/is-north-koreas-man-gyong-bong-the-least-luxurious-cruise-ship-in-the-world/story-e6frfqf9-1226127814789

2ch Man Gyong Bong

The 5ch value depicts the freighter Hyok Sin.  Originally the Kyokuyo Maru completed in 1957, she was sold to North Korea in 1974.

5ch Hyok Sin

The next ship is the freighter Chong Chon Gang on the 10ch value.  Completed according to one source in 1977, as of 2009 she was still registered to a North Korean owner.

10ch Chong Chon Gang

The tanker Son Bang is featured on the 30ch value.  I have yet to get further information on this ship, if you have some please email me and let me know.

30ch Son Bang

The last stamp features the freighter Tae Dong Gang.  Completed in 1976 she was built in North Korea and as of 2009 was still in service.

50ch Tae Dong Gang

The designs of the stamps are visually appealing and as stated earlier appeal to a wide variety of thematic or topical collectors.  Not worth very much in terms of catalogue value, as far as I am concerned they are a nice addition to my general worldwide and ships on stamps collection.


Ships that Served Grenada

Originally published October 23, 2010.

Issued on November 3, 1976, Grenada commemorated ships that were connected to the development of the island nation.  The seven stamps were printed by lithography and perforated 14½.  Depicted on a green sea with a light blue background, each design is framed by rope work with a bowline on the right and an anchor on the left.

The S.S. Geestland was built by Scott’s Shipbuilding and Engineering of Greenock.  Launched in February of 1972, she was delivered to her owners Geest Industries in June 1972.

Used as a liner the Geestland travelled mainly between the Caribbean and UK.  Laden with general cargo outbound from the UK, she returned with Bananas and other tropical fruit.

Gross Tonnage: 5,871; Length: 489’ 7”; Breadth: 63’ 2”; 6 Cylinder Sulzer oil engine delivering 12,00 BHP for a speed of 21 knots.

The M.V. Federal Palm was built by Port Weller Dry Docks of St. Catherines Ontario in 1961. She was delivered to her owners near the end of that year.

Built with accommodation berths for 50 passengers and 200 on deck, the Federal Palm was also equipped with Cranes and derricks to offload herself. She was also equipped with whaleboats to shuttle cargo ashore where needed.

Gross Tonnage: 3,171; Length: 298’; Breadth: 51’ 8”; 2 Fairbanks-Morse locomotive engines delivering 3,400 BHP for a speed of 15 knots.

HMS Blake a Royal Navy Tiger Class Cruiser was completed in 1961 at Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co. Ltd.  She was the last cruiser built for the Royal Navy.

Converted to a command and helicopter cruiser, the Blake was equipped with modern command, control and communications equipment and was used as a flagship.

Displacement: 12,080 tons; Length: 555 & ½’; Breadth: 64’; Four Admiralty-type 3 drum boilers and 4 shaft Parsons steam turbines delivering 80,000 SHP for a speed of 31½ knots.

Built by Swan Hunter and Wigham Richardson at Wallsend in 1973 the MV Vistafjordwas built for the Norwegian America Line. She was delivered to her owners in May of 1973.

With accommodation for 830 passengers, the Vistafjord left on her maiden voyage for New York City from Oslo on May 23, 1973. After her arrival in New York, she was used for world cruises. She appeared in a German television series as the ‘Traumschiff’ (Dreams).

Gross Tonnage: 24,292 tons; Length: 626’ 11”; Breadth: 82’; 2 Sulzer diesels delivering 17, 650 KW of power for a speed of 20 knots.

The SS Canberra is known as one of the most beautiful ships in the world. Built by Harland and Wolff in Belfast. Operated by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company., she was named after the Capital of Australia.

Launched March 16, 1960, the Canberra sailed the world’s oceans for many years. Nicknamed the Great White Whale, the Canberra served with the Royal Navy during the Falklands War in 1982 as a troopship. She survived the Falklands War but was sent to the scrappers in 1997.

Gross Tonnage: 45,270 tons; Length: 818’; Breadth: 102’; 2 Steam turbines powering 2 electric engines producing 85,000 hp for a speed of 27½ knots.

The SS Regina was built as the Panama in 1939, she was acquired by the US Army in 1941 to serve as a troopship and renamed the USAT James Parker. After the war, she returned to service as the Panama. In 1957 she was sold to the President Lines and renamed President Hoover.

She sailed under this name until 1964 when she was purchased by the Chandris Line and renamed Regina. The Regina sailed the Caribbean in the winter season making Nassau her home port.

Gross Tonnage: 10, 021 tons; Length: 493’ 7”; Breadth: 64’ 3”; 4 Steam turbines producing 9,150 SHP for a speed of 17 knots.

The Arandora Star was built by Camel and Laird at Birkenhead and completed in 1927. In 1929 she was converted to a cruise liner.  She sailed to many destinations. She was nicknamed the ‘Wedding Cake’ or the ‘Chocolate Box’.

At the outset of World War II, she was used a transport ship and carried evacuees from Norway and France.  On her last voyage, she was destined for Canada carrying Axis nationals and prisoners of war when she was torpedoed and sank off the North West coast of Ireland.

Gross Tonnage: 12,847 tons; Length: 512’; Breadth: 68’; 4 Steam turbines driving 2 screws for 16 knots.


Famous British Ocean Liners

Originally published February 6, 2009.

On April 13, 2004, Great Britain issued a set of stamps commemorating six British built Ocean Liners. The stamps were designed by John Gibbs, printed by De La Rue in gravure. Sheets of 25 and 50 were produced. The stamps are perforated 14 ½ x 14.


The Queen Mary II is pictured on the two, 1st class stamps (one is water activated one is self-adhesive). She was ordered on the 6th of November 2000 and launched on March 21, 2003, by Chantiers de l’Atlantique and named after the earlier Cunard liner the Queen Mary. She was Christened on the 8th of January 2004 by Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen Mary II’s maiden voyage was on the 12th of January 2004 when she departed Southampton for Fort Lauderdale. At the time of her completion, she was the world’s largest passenger ship.

R.M.S. Queen Mary II – Technical Details
Tonnage: 148,528 GT
Displacement: 76,000 tonnes
Length: 345 m (1,132 ft)
Beam: 41 m (135 ft) waterline, 45 m (147.6 ft) extreme (bridge wings)
Height: 72 m (236.2 ft) keel to funnel
Draft: 10 m (32.8 ft)
Decks: 13 passenger decks[3] Installed power: 117 MW (157,000 horsepower) CODAG
Propulsion: Four 21.5 MW electric propulsor pods: 2 fixed and 2 azimuthing; Speed: 29.62 knots (54.86 km/h/34.09 mph)
Capacity: 2,620 passengers
Crew: 1,253 officers and crew


The European rate stamp pictures the S.S. Canberra. Ordered on the 20th of December 1956 the SS Canberra was constructed by Hartland and Wolff in Belfast for the P&O Orient Line.
She was launched on the 16th of March 1960. the Canberra’s final voyage was between the 10th and 31st of October 1997.

The Canberra served as a troopship during the Falklands War.

S.S. Canberra Technical Details
Tonnage: 1961: 45,270 gross tons
1962: 45,733
1968: 44,807
1994: 49,073
Length: 249.9 m (818 ft)
Beam: 31.2 m (102 ft)
Draught: 9.97 m (32.7 ft)
Propulsion: Main: Two British Thompson Houston (AEI)
synchronous three-phase, 6,000 volt air-cooled electric motors
providing 85,000 horsepower; power supplied by two 32,200 kW
steam turbine driven alternators; twin screw Auxiliary: Four
steam turbines, each driving a 1,500 kW, 440 V, 3 Phase, 60 Hz
alternator and a tandem driven 300 kW exciter for the propulsion alternators
Speed: Trials: 29.27 knots (54.3 km/h)
1961-1973: 27.5 knots (51 km/h)
1973-1997: 23.50 knots (43.5 km/h)
Complement: 1961-1973: 548 First class, 1,690 Tourist class, 960 officers and crew
1973-1997: 1,737 passengers, 795 officers and crew.


The 42 pence stamp features the R.M.S. Queen Mary. Ordered from John Brown and Company, by Cunard White Star Line on the 3rd of April 1929, the Queen Mary was launched on the 26th of September 1934. Her maiden voyage was on the 27th of May 1936 under the command of Sir Edgard T. Britten. She served as a troopship during the Second World War and was taken out of service on the 1st of December 1967. She now serves as a restaurant, hotel and museum in Long Beach, California.

R.M.S. Queen Mary Technical Details
Tonnage: 81,237 GT (gross tonnage)
Displacement: 81,961 tonnes
Length: 1,019.4 ft (310.7 m) oa
965 ft (294.1 m) B.P.
Beam: 118.5 ft (36.1 m)
Height: 181 ft (55.2 m)
Draft: 39 ft (11.9 m)
Propulsion: 160,000 shaft hp Parsons double reduction steam turbines max. 200,000 shaft hp steam turbines, 4 shafts
Speed: approximately 28.5 kn (52.8 km/h/32.8 mph) service speed.
Capacity: 2139 passengers: 776 first (cabin) class, 784 tourist class, 579 third class
Crew: 1101 crew


On the 47p stamp, we have the R.M.S. Mauretania. Cunard Line ordered the Mauretania from Swan, Hunter & Wigham Richardson in 1903. She was launched on the 20th of September 1906. The Maury’s maiden voyage took place on the 16th of November 1907. She was built as a sistership to the Lusitania. During the first World War, she served as a troopship transporting troops to the Gallipoli campaign. She was also used by the Canadian and US Governments as a troopship. The Mauretania was withdrawn from service during September 1934 and scrapped in 1935.

R.M.S. Mauretania Technical Details
Tonnage: 31,938
Length: 790 ft (240.8 m)
Beam: 88 ft (26.8 m)
Propulsion: Direct-action Parsons steam turbines (two high pressure, two low pressure), 68,000 shaft horsepower later increased to 90,000 SHP, designed speed 25 knots (46 km/h), Quadruple screws (Triple bladed at launch changed in 1908 to four bladed). Astern turbines available on inboard shafts only
Service speed: 26 knots (48 km/h) Maximum speed recorded 28 knots
Passenger Capacity: 2165: 563 first class, 464 second class, 1138 third class
Crew: 802


The S.S. City of New York is featured on the 57p stamp. Constructed by John Brown and Company for the Inman Line, the SS City of New York was launched on the 15th of March 1888. On the 1st of August she began her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York. She was later operated as the S.S. New York by the American Line, the U.S.S. Harvard and USS Plattsburg by the US Navy. She was scrapped in 1922

S.S. City of New York Technical Details
Tonnage: 10,508 gross tons (29,755 m^3)
Displacement: 17,270 tons (17,550 metric tons)
Length: 560 feet (171 meters)
Beam: 63 feet (19.3 meters)
Power: Triple expansion reciprocating steam engines; 28,000 horsepower.
Propulsion: Twin screw
Speed: 20 knots
Number of Passengers: Total of 1290


The last stamp in this set is the 68p value. The P.S. Great Western was built by William Patterson for the Great Western Steamship Company, the Paddle Steamer Great Western was launched on the 19th of July 1837 and completed the 31st March 1838. Her maiden voyage commenced on the 8th of April 1838 from Bristol to New York. She also served as a Royal Mail Packet Steamer and as a troopship, transporting personnel to the Crimean War. The Great Western was broken up in 1856.

P.S. Great Western Technical Details
Type: Oak-hulled paddle-wheel steamship
Tonnage: 1340 GRT, later 1700 GRT
Displacement: 2300 tons
Length: 71.6 m (234.91 ft), later 76.8 m (251.97 ft) long
Beam: 17.59 m (57.71 ft) across wheels
Installed power: 2-cylinder Maudslay steam engine 750 HP
Propulsion: Two paddle-wheels
Speed: 8.5 knots
Capacity: 128 passengers in 1st class + 20 servants
Crew: 60


Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary_2
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Canberra
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Queen_Mary
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RMS_Mauretania_(1906)
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_City_of_New_York
Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Great_Western