The flow of civilization, of national power, and of commerce over the sea lanes of the world has been charted by historians, economists, political scientists, and novelists. At times, these writers have captured the essence of merchant shipping and its impact on the world; but, in the main, because of their objectives, shipping has not been for them an entity. The world's merchant marine, or its shipping industry, has seldom been the subject of a book.
POINT OF VIEW
Ocean shipping is an industry characterized by great complexity and by a magnitude of interests. These interests include the designers of the ship, the shipbuilder, the vessel owner or operator, the cargo owner, the holder of the mortgage on the ship, the creditor of the cargo owner, other creditors, agents and trustees, and the consignee. To these must be added the men who serve the ship afloat and ashore -- the officers and crew and shore labor -- both of which groups bear a somewhat different relationship to the shipping process than do workers in a manufacturing industry. Furthermore, there is the interest of government, for governments have been interested in shipping ever since ships began to sail the seven seas. Not only is there nothing more international than a ship engaged in foreign trade, but no industry is more vital to the welfare of nations and international good will or more essential in time of emergency or war.
The vital core of the shipping industry, however, is the ship, and, at least in certain respects, the vital interest is the shipowner or operator. Although his interests coincide or overlap at times with other interests, it is not possible, within the scope of such a book as this, to present the point of view of the many interests involved.
It therefore seems expedient to concentrate on the ship and on ship operation and management primarily from the point of view of the ship operator. Naturally, activities auxiliary to ship operation affect the owner, but their presentation has been determined by their relationship to ship operation and management. As a result, such matters as admiralty law, marine insurance, and freight rates have been discussed primarily . . .