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Cutlass used in the crossing the line ceremony on board the mv GLOBAL MARINER

Date: 1999
Overall: 690 x 100 x 30 mm
Medium: Wood, string
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from M V Global Mariner
Classification:Ceremonial artefact
Object Name: Cutlass
Object No: 00031802

User Terms

    HistoryThe International Transport Workers' Federation operated a floating museum, the MV GLOBAL MARINER, to promote awareness of ships operating under flags of convenience and the poor working conditions aboard them. The ship was in use as a Museum from the mid 1990s till in sank in 2000 off the Venezuelan coast after colliding with a container ship.

    The ceremony is an initiation for those people on board who are crossing the equator for the first time. The ritual is conducted by crew members dressed as Neptune, his wife Amphitrite, a barber, a surgeon, guards, nymphs (or mermaids), and bears. The novices are treated by the surgeon (usually involving smearing with sticky unpleasant ointments which are later hard to remove). They are lathered and shaved by the barber, and tipped backwards into a bath or pool, to be ducked. They are now permitted into Neptune's kingdom. Variations include the presence of Davy Jones, the spirit of the sea.
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