Please note: Browns Flags & Funnels is now very out of date, and should only be purchased for historical reasons.
Of the many and far-reaching developments in shipping since the last edition of this book, three in particular have had a major impact on the ninth edition.
The reduction of the United Kingdom merchant fleet to a mere 300 trading vessels over 500 gross tons, and the disappearance of the vast majority of established European and American liner companies, has meant a drastic revision of the balance of the contents, and a change in the title, since “British and Foreign” seemed no more appropriate than “Steamship”. The ninth edition attempts to give a fairly representative world-wide selection of the houseflags and funnel markings of companies which operate ships. This includes shipping companies of all types, from giants controlling millions of tons, to small one-ship companies and from deep-sea tankers. bulkers and container ships to coasters, tugs and harbour craft.
There has been a marked tendency to place vessels under managers or agents, or to operate them within a consortium or pool. The markings borne by a ship are just as likely to refer to one of these, or to a charterer, as to the registered owner. Practice is by no means consistent: some managers fly their flag on all their managed vessels, others on some, while others do not have their own colours at all. Many flag-of-convenience companies have scant use for maritime tradition, and while their funnel mark may be familiar, it has proved impossible to verify details of their houseflag, if any, and therefore to include them in this book.
The third development which has affected this edition is the emergence during its preparation, of new markings for the fleets of the former Communist nations, particularly the Russian Federation, the Baltic Republics and the former Yugoslavia. Of these, some which are sponsored or even still owned by the state, appear to use the national ensign rather than a company houseflag, and this has been shown against their funnel, with a note elsewhere.
The pace of change makes it difficult to ensure that all items are up-to-date. For example, during the time taken for the initial assembly of items for this edition, some ninety further items had become obsolete, and needed alteration. By checking against current maritime directories, every effort has been made to ensure, where possible, that companies whose markings are included were active when the manuscript was submitted for publication. Where any further changes have come to notice, they are included in the Notes & Corrigenda.
The number of markings included is an increase of more than 200 on the previous edition.