Autonomous Ships Driving Change
Source: BBC Click television program December 2018
A shipping company in Finland is testing an autonomous car transporting vessel. A female Finish Chief Officer is contributing to the project. She has family commitments and it has been difficult for her to balance the two. In fact, female seafarers make up only 2%* of the maritime industry. The vessel has been retrofitted with sensors and cameras, so that it can be controlled remotely. In future, operators will be able to control multiple vessels all at once, meaning that people will no longer be required to live away from their families for an extended period of time. Rolls Royce predicts that in 20 years’ time most of the ships crossing our shores will be autonomous. However, this raises concerns over safety. Although technology such as radar and GPS have markedly improved and aided safety, they have not been a substitute for the human senses.
Q: Why may we see fewer seafarers on board ships in the future?
Scroll down to the end of this section to see answer
Nautical English: Make up leeway, All hands on deck, Go like the clappers
It is nearly the end of the fiscal year. Many offices in Japan will preparing all the necessary documents in time for the end of the financial year. This is a busy time of year, and it would therefore seem appropriate to talk about idioms that reflect this.
To Make up Leeway
To get back into a good position or situation after one has fallen behind.
(Merriam Webster Dictionary)
This idiom is commonly used when one is to make up for lost time:
A: How was your holiday?
B: It was great, but I had to make up leeway with the mountain of paperwork that has accumulated on my desk.
Our team fell so far behind in the marathon that we were unable to make up leeway even though one of our runners was one of the fastest in the event.
This term has is origins in the bygone days of sailing, when a vessel is sent off course towards the side by downwind and it is said to not be making leeway. Thus, time is needed to make up for the lost time. This is where the term originally comes from. Its first usage was recorded in the mid-17th Century.
All hands on deck
This term is used when everyone is to come together and work hard as one team, usually in a time of emergency or something of great importance:
Manager: OK. We will be opening the new store in 30 minutes, so I want all hands on deck to make sure that it is ready to welcome our first customers.
It is clear to see that this term has in its origin in the maritime industry. Deck referring to a ship’s deck, and hand referring to those that work on board. When a ship was to make a manoeuvre that required the whole crew to participate or there was a dangerous situation or something of that nature, the master would call “All hands on deck”.
Go like the clappers
Although rather an aeronautical idiom than a nautical one, this is one of my favourite terms. If something is going like the clappers, it is moving at great speed:
A: How is your new Tesla Roadster?
B: Oh, it goes like the clappers. It can do 0-60mph in 1.9 seconds.
This term can also refer to someone who is having to work extremely hard and fast.
I had to go like the clappers to get to get that report done on time.
This term is believed to have originated during the early 1940s among RAF pilots as a form of slang. If a pilot was being chased by another plane, they would fly like the clappers to escape. It is likely that the term came from clappers found in bells, and that pilots would say “Go like the clappers from hell”. The word hell may have been adopted because it rhymes with bell. Many RAF pilots came from public schools, and a bell would have been rung just before the start of class or chapel. As the bell was rung faster and faster, in the last minute or two, the boys would run to make it in time: they were going like the clappers.
Because it will be possible to control the vessel remotely from land.
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