Friday, May 27, 2011

Touching the Adventures and Perils

Soon I will be sailing on a ship, a BIG ship.  Big ships used to be my business, mammoth behemoths so big that they were never referred to as mere boats.  These were VESSELS.  Ocean-going, bluewater hulls, plying the seas with cargoes of every imaginable type.  Great Lakes vessels, moving ore and other bulk between ports in that insular environment.  OBOs, Ro-Ros, Lo-Los, container ships.  Passenger ships.   Fascinating stuff, even though I worked the insurance end of it.  Unlike the rest of insurance, this marine insurance was great stuff, steeped in history, and replete with the high-falutin' phraseology of another era.

File:United States and America.jpg
The SS United States and the SS America

The stately policies, used all over the world, owed their classy-sounding language to the great-granddaddy of all insurers, Lloyds of London.  "Touching the adventures and perils which we the assurers are contented to bear and do take upon us in this voyage: they are of the seas, men of war, fire, enemies, pirates, rovers, thieves, jettisons, letters of mart and countermart, surprisals, takings at sea, arrests, restraints, and detainments of all kings, princes, and people, of what nation, condition, or quality soever, barratry of the master and mariners, and of all other perils, losses, and misfortunes, that have or shall come to the hurt, detriment, or damage of the said goods and merchandises, and ship, &c., or any part thereof."

Turns out the inclusion of "pirates and rovers" in the perils clause was more than just a nod to olden times, but back in 1981, the idea of pirates plying their anti-social trade across the high seas was merely amusing.  Pirates in this day and age?  And those letters of mart, countermart, and K-Mart?  Sure, we were young and silly and enjoyed a good giggle.  Now that I am old and decrepit and dead serious, I do worry about Pirates of the Exotic Western Caribbean sneaking up behind us in line at the midnight buffet.  That would surely put a damper on what promises to be a swell time.

Arrrrr ....

No comments:

Post a Comment