Maersk Valiant crossing the line

The Maersk Valiant crossed the line on the afternoon of the 3rd of May 2014 at longitude 89° 40’ East.

The following day, a Sunday, a ceremony was held to mark the event and to present crew members who had not visited the Great Southern Ocean before to King Neptune, Pelagic Protector and Ocean Omphalos.

The candidates were summoned onto the forecastle head of the ship to face various trials before meeting the King and being subjected to questioning as to their fitness as subjects of the Main.

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Needless to say, these trials and tests were of a type to reduce the participants to a state of suitable humility, entering the forecastle through a nautical doorway, symbolized by a cargo net in this case, and then having to wallow in some indescribably corrupted water. The candidate was then ordered in no uncertain terms to “kiss the baby”. This involved removing a grape from the “baby’s” belly button. I can only assume at this point that having “wallowed” it was going to be a case of “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, although several candidates did baulk at the prospect, everyone did eventually suck up and digest the grape.

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After an interview with the Monarch, the final act consisted of a ritual salt water wash-down under two fire hoses specially rigged for the purpose. This part of the ceremony seemed to come as a relief to most.

Once all candidates had undergone their trial, the ceremony was brought to a traditional end by the ringing of eight bells on the ship’s bell. Everyone who took part was then issued a certificate printed out at great expense on genuine antiqued A4 paper with the signature of “Neptunus Rex” prominently displayed along with the ship’s official stamp for verification.

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It should be noted that no crew members were actually hurt in the making of this ceremony – though some may well have been deeply offended – but that’s all part of “crossing the line” and good fun was had by all!

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