Names of ships are fascinating

I’ve always been fascinated by the names of ships, ever since I felt the Bible belt getting a little tight and I shipped out to find my fortune at sea. Always an outlier, I’ve been attracted to names that reflect a sense of weariness or even ennui about life. The more well-known ship names do often evoke a sense of sadness and tragedy: Lusitania, RMS Titanic, Andrea Doria, the Arizona, the Indianapolis. etc.  

Sometimes the names, like those given to race horses, only make sense to the owners, but often they tell an intriguing story. Some of the more interesting apps available today for cellphones enable one to track ships underway, merchant or military, all over the world. They link up, via satellite technology, with the automated identification system carried on most modern ships and provide real time data on name, position (latitude and longitude), course, speed, destination and often a recent photograph of the ship itself. The sites also show the ship’s national flag, although it’s usually a “flag of convenience” for tax purposes and not really representative of the ship’s actual registration or homeport.

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