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Photographer's Note

The barquentine Mercator lies at anchor in Ostend, Belgium. She was named after Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594), Flemish cartographer. She was designed by the Antarctic explorer Adrien de Gerlache (1866-1934) as a training ship for the Belgian merchant fleet. She was built in Leith, Scotland and launched in 1932.


Mercator at sea
painting by Yasmina (Oostende, Belgium)Besides being a training a ship, she was also used, mainly before World War II, for scientific observations, or as ambassador for Belgium on world fairs and in sailing events. She participated in several races, winning the Oslo-Ostend race. She brought back two Moai (giant statues) from Easter Island. In 1936 she brought home from Molokai, Hawaii, the remains of Father Damien. During World War II she was commissioned into the Royal Navy as HMS Mercator. Based in Freetown, Sierra Leone, she was the support ship for submarine forces in the area.

Her last trip was to Lisbon for the commemoration of the quincentenary of the death of infante Henry the Navigator.

In 1961 she became a floating museum, first in Antwerp, and finally from 1964 in the marina of Ostend, just in front of the city hall.

During all this time, she has become perhaps the best-known ship of Belgium.

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Photo Information
  • Copyright: john vantighem (john1) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 385 W: 0 N: 531] (4028)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2009-05-10
  • Categories: Architecture
  • Exposure: f/4.8
  • More Photo Info: view
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2009-05-15 0:50
Viewed: 1904
Points: 0
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