Gender neutral boats on the rise as Maritime Museum vows to remove all signs referring to ships as 'she'

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In 2014, Dr Pieter van der Merwe, a naval historian at the national maritime museum in Greenwich, was asked that very question.

“Old sailors used to answer this with a sexist joke: “Like a woman, a ship is unpredictable,” he replied, in an article for The Guardian. 

“A more likely suggestion relates to the idea of goddesses and mother figures playing a protective role in looking after a ship and crew,” he added, noting that Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic in a ship called La Santa Maria, named after the Virgin Mary.

Yesterday, Richard Meade, the current editor of Lloyd’s List, said: “Perhaps making them feminine was understandable in the day of wooden sailing ships that arguably had a personality, but I challenge anyone to look at a modern 400 meter-long containership and identify a gender.



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