Political correctness strikes Lloyds


Dave Gittins

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I've just heard on the radio that henceforth Lloyd's will cease referring to ships in the feminine gender. They gave the usual mealy mouthed excuse for interfering with tradition.

They know what they can do!
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Lloyds is apparently unaware that only civilian ships are correctly feminine. Warships are most definitely masculine and in years past were addressed as "he."

-- David G. Brown
 

Erik Wood

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So if we used Lloyds frame of mind we can't call ships with a female name she. Makes sense if you are a moron. I don't think you will find a sailor who will take to this. In fact it will most likely only end up on the Lloyds paperwork and that is all.

Erik
 

Pat Cook

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Ah, I can hear it now, as Moby Dick, years later, suddenly surfaces and the look out yells out, "Thar sex-unspecified blows!!"
 

Adam Leet

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I've heard of warships referred to in the feminine sense more than a few times, though I'm not certain if it's the proper reference. I do know some nations, Germany and Russia in particular, that use masculine terms to refer to their ships.

Interesting, considering most of our warships are named after men.


Adam
 
Dec 2, 2000
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keep the QE2, ban Lloyd's, particularly the nitwit(s) who came up with the idea of calling a ship "it"!

Regarding pronouns for warships, I never heard any U.S. warship being referred to as anything but "she".

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 

Erik Wood

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It should also be known the Lloyds is more of political institution then it is a maritime resource. The number associated with the name is used to track ships and what kind maitence and how inspections go. Plus they are in the insurance business.

Some of there suggestions in the past have been less then intelligent.

Erik
 
Dec 4, 2000
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Ships have always been "she" to sailors..even here on the Great Lakes where it is the curious custom to name vessels after company officials and owner's second cousins. The results can be, well, amusing--as when a sailor is heard to say something like, "The 'ol John Jones, now she was a crank."

-- David G. Brown
 

Dave Gittins

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The earliest English use of the feminine that I have handy is from one Roger Bodenham in 1550. "The Admiral of them was in a great rage because she was gone." "She" being an English ship that avoided an attack by Turkish galleys. I suspect that the usage is as old as English as we know it.

I don't know about the US, but I have plenty of references to Royal Navy ships as "she" from Captain Frederick Marryat to the present Ministry of Defence.

It was common for officers to refer to the enemy as "he", meaning whoever commanded the enemy force and in some contexts this might look like a reference to the enemy ship.
 
K

Kathy Savadel

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Sorta reminds me of when the National Weather Service revised its policy of naming tropical depressions/storms and hurricanes only with female names. They now must alternate with male and female names. I am fairly certain this was an exercise in (or should I say, attempt at) political correctness, too.

Kathy
 

Tracy Smith

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It's interesting to note that many other languages assign gender willy-nilly to all nouns. For instance, in German a pencil (der Bleistift) is "he" and a pen(die Feder) is "she". Of course, such references have nothing literal to do with sex/gender, but they do sound absurd to English-speaking ears.

Perhaps the custom of calling ships "she" ultimately stems from the same kinds of sources in which other languages use the concept of gender in a non-literal sense.

So far as hurricanes go, I've always found it odd that they have names at all, either male or female. You never hear about "Tornado Tom" or "Earthquake Ethel" or things like that
proud.gif
 

Paul Rogers

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I always thought that ships were called "she" because they cost a lot to run, need to be handled gently and with extreme care, can behave in an extremely unpredictable way, and they never show their bottom in public.

Regards,
Paul.
 

Noel F. Jones

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THE GENDER OF SHIPS

Since others in this forum seem much exercised by this topic I thought I would weigh in with my twopennyworth. It's written from the perspective of the UK but I'm sure those elsewhere can interpolate.

This morning I was assailed by radio reportage wherein it was said of the disabled HMS Nottingham that "it (sic) is being towed backwards (sic) to Newcastle (NSW) for repairs". Now that would be excusable in a report emanating from Gila Bend, Arizona but this was put out by the BBC in London, a place and port wherefrom not a few ships have been operated over the centuries. But there again,when the BBC have Lloyds List as an example, what can one expect?

I have it on good authority (that of A.R.George, Professor of Babylonian at the London School of Oriental and African Studies) that the practice of assigning the feminine gender to ships goes back four millennia, the provenance being a letter written in the Akkadian language in 2,300 BC. Furthermore, Biblical Hebrew assigns the feminine gender to Noah's Ark no less. The industry reportage protocol as I have always understood it is that a ship only relinquishes femininity in the ablative case, i.e., as a wreck site.

However, it seems that that same protocol which has passed impregnably through the maritime codes of Phoenicia, Visby, Hansa and Ol̩ron, must now succumb to the molestation of one Julian Brady. Mr Brady has acceded to editorship of Lloyds List, the 268-year-old London shipping daily. Clearly he has also sojourned too long within the philistine chauvinistic wine-bar culture of the City of London. "We are a serious business paper for shipping" prates our Mr Brady; "in standard journalistic practice ships should be referred to as 'it' Рthe world moves on" he decrees, thus confirming our impression that we have here just another hypochondriac outpatient of the Blairesque spin-doctors up the road.

Apparently we sentimentalists need reminding that in these trendy times a ship is little more than a wasting capital asset. To which we would riposte that today's ships are no more wasting capital assets than were the dromons of Byzantium etc. (they just look more like it). Indeed it could be said that the classic clippers of the 19th century were more wasting than any of today's output, having as they did lesser longevity in primary service.

Furthermore, we cannot help noticing that Mr Brady's purportedly professional vocabulary embraces the term 'cruise liner', he being embarrassingly unaware of its contradictory terms. (All these syntactical shenanigans wouldn't have done for the old Journal of Commerce & Shipping Telegraph – but then that was a Liverpool paper.)

Time was when such journalistic institutions had a stiffening of seafaring advisers who had known what it was to sign articles for two years at a time and to cower below the dodger hoping the old cow would hold together. Nowadays we have eminently terrestrial 'journos' clearly at sea with the very terminology of their own industry.

But there are serious implications for Mr Brady's petulant caprice. Charter parties, bills of lading, insurance policies, salvage agreements etc. all contain many 'its' but only one 'she' – The Ship, the paramount article in the contract. Anent differentiation therein, and more especially those amorphous case documents which can derive therefrom, taking Mr Brady's new protocol to its logical endpoint would impose an additional burden on law drafters, not to say those committed individuals who have to pore over the detail of their necessarily abstruse output.

Much more urgently, consider that a 'mayday' situation will contain many 'its', both concrete and abstract – the sea state, the set, the wind speed, the ETA, the sunrise, the helicopter, the frequency, the coast guard, the whatever! All at 0400 hrs with language differences and bad communications moreover! To cast the principal protagonist as just another neuter element in the unfolding drama is to invite untimely confusion – with possible drastic consequences.

It would be reassuring to think that such important and urgent considerations would persuade Mr Brady towards a commendable volté face but this is not in the nature of such things. Jack is firmly in office and will strut his brief authority with all the intransigence characteristic of his kidney. Mr Brady's caprice can be relied upon to run its incongruent course until wiser counsels prevail in the fullness of time. From whence his successors at Lloyds List will look back at 2002 and incredulously ask themselves "did we really do that?!"

I'm sending Mr Brady a copy of this in the hope that it will contribute in some small measure to buggering up the rest of his day.

Noel
 

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