Thursday, November 29, 2007

Paquebot mail

I have received this cover some weeks/months ago already, but I haven’t shared it with you yet because I wanted to decipher it completely before. Unfortunately I did not succeed as you will see below.The cover was sent by Velu (thanks a lot Velu for this cover and others).

As you see this is a paquebot mail. What is a Paquebot mail ? The concept is based on the fact that a merchant ship on the high seas is sovereign national territory of the country whose flag she flies. Therefore mail posted aboard a ship in international waters is to be franked with stamps of the country of the ship’s registry. Then when the ship reaches the next port, the mail is handed over to the postal service. Those specific mail are marked with special postal marks (several models exist) to indicate their special status.
On the cover sent by Velu, you see clearly the PAQUEBOT MAIL – POSTED ON HIGH SEAS mark. You also have some indication on the ship (see left part of the cover) : this is the MT.MARONI, registered at WILLEMSTAD, Netherland Antilles. I could not find the signification of the remaining information, below the name of the ship There is a signature on the left bottom corner, I guess this is the signature of the captain ?
The stamp located on the right top corner is a stamp from the Netherlands Antilles (so the country where the ship is registered) : I could not identify the stamp, sorry. If somebody can help ?
You see that the stamp has been cancelled by an ugly unreadable postmark, but there is also a mark from PANAMA post : so the mail was handed over to PANAMA post on the 24th of September. I guess that this red meter mark adds some additional franking, otherwise how should we interpret the 0.45 written on it ?
As you see there are a lot of things that I could not really identify on this cover, so any help is welcome.Paquebot mails are rather rare in these modern days, so thank you very much Velu for this cover that I will keep preciously.

1 comment:

Benedikt said...

Nice cover. I'm not sure about the numbers, but I think they stand for:

GRT - Gross registered tonnage
NRT - Net registered tonnage
DWT - Dead weight tons
BHP - Brake horsepower