Saturday, November 25, 2023


 The colour "Maersk Blue", trademarked in Denmark and codified by various standards agencies (e.g. Pantone PMS 7702C) and widely identifiable around the world was originally a sky blue band on the funnels of A.P.Moller's ships. Coupled with the white seven pointed star, also showing on the company's houseflag, since 1904, it was adopted as the hull colour for ships in 1954.

I can say with (quiet authority and undue modesty) that I have been an admirer of Maersk blue since August 1957. That was when I saw my first Maersk ship, the brand new Luna Maersk in early evening, low angle sunshine, on the St.Lawrence River. I have been looking for opportunities to see that blue colour in direct sunshine ever since. 

Today's (November 25) departure of the Vistula Maersk from Pier 42, PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub was not quite so spectacular or memorable, but it did show off the colour quite nicely.

When the ship was still alongside, and reflected in the dead calm waters beside the breakwater, it was really the colour of the sky that I was seeing - but close enough.

The first of seven ships of its class, the Vistula Maersk was built in 2018 by COSCO Zhoushan Shipyard Co, as an ice class ship for Baltic service to Russia. At 34,882 gt, 40,000 dwt, it has a capacity of 3600 TEU including 600 reeefers. In 2022, following the Russian boycott, along with two sister ships, it was transferred to the joint Maersk / CMA CGM St-Laurent 1 / Canada Atlantic Express service. It made its first call in Halifax June 23, 2022 and usually calls in Halifax outbound from Montreal for Bremerhaven on Saturdays in rotation with the Volga Maersk and EM Kea and CMA CGM Paranagua. (Vayenga Maersk has been reassigned.)

Once underway the colour really did shine.

It is quite remarkable how good the paint looks - although on close inspection there are the usual tug and pilot boat scuff marks and rust streaks. The effect of the bright sun seems to distract from those blemishes.

When the ship started calling here in 2022 it carried the words "Maersk Line" in black on the hull.

Vistula Maersk 2022-10-15

The ship was looking a bit rugged in October 2022, but was due for regulatory drydocking in December 2022. When it emerged, it had been completely repainted and the hull banner had been changed to "Maersk" only. The word "line" had been painted out, and the word "Maersk" repainted. On the port side it had been repainted, but not repositioned and appeared just forward of amidships. On the starboard side it may have been repositioned however, as the "S" is directly over the Plimsoll marks.

 Vistula Maersk 2023-05-05

Shortly after that repainting, Maersk changed their graphics and have gone with "Maersk" in white, and have added the seven point star, also in white, adjacent to the name. The sister ship Volga Maersk now has this pattern, but Vistula Maersk may have to wait until its next five year survey in late 2027 or early 2028 for a repaint.

Volga Maersk 2023-10-06 with the new hull banner.

 So how ubiquitous is the Maersk blue you might ask? I figure if LEGO blocks are available in Maersk blue (and they are) then there is nowhere else to go. (Of course LEGO is also Danish.)


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