A ship’s bell is rung usually in celebratory spirit, such as when ships are fixed, when a milestone is reached, or upon the finalization of a new customer onboard.
Historically a ship´s bell is a bell on a ship that was used for the indication of time as well as other traditional functions. The bell itself is made of brass or bronze and sometimes can have the ships name engraved onto it.
Ringing a ship´s bell has also been used in the past for safety in foggy conditions – which remains their most important use aboard smaller vessels.
On US naval vessels, bells are also rung as for officers and dignitaries coming aboard or leaving the ship, in a number equivalent to the number of sideboys to which the visitor is entitled.
At midnight on New Year’s Eve, historically 16 bells would be struck, eight bells for the old year and eight bells for the new. In the past, when a sailor died, he or she would be honored with the sounding of eight bells, meaning end of watch. The term eight bells can also be used in an obituary, as a nautical euphemism for finished.
How do they do it at a shipping company?
In the Hafnia offices, the bell is customarily rung by a commercial team member when an attractive fixture is made, a trainee has made their first fixture, or if a new member has joined the Hafnia Pools or Bunker Alliance.
Aboard their ships, it is the horn that is used to mark foggy conditions, emergencies and to mark 12pm. Bells aboard would today mostly be used for decorative purposes or special occasions like crew birthdays.
In 2022, the Hafnia commercial team made a total of 2281 fixtures across 67.978 voyage days (average of 9 fixtures a day). Hafnia Pools launched three new segments (LR2, Chemicals (Handy and MR), welcoming an impressive 37 new vessels under our management, with Hafnia Bunkers bringing on 10 new members to its Alliance, totaling the number of vessels supplied to, to over 1000.