Fifteen Funnels for Fun (vol. II)

Distinctive yellow barrels, funky and classic Japanese funnels, German functionalism from the eighties, attractive simplicity with a heritage and much more in this second gallery about funnels.

Composition of a Costa funnel and a passenger wearing a light blue shirt, unfortunately not in the correct Costa-blue colour. Above: A line-up of distinctive barrel-formed Costa-funnels at the company´s Mediterranean main hub, the North Italian Port of Savona.

About my series “Funnels for Fun”
As shipping over the coming decades must deliver significant CO2-reductions to cut the industry’s negative contribution to the greenhouse gas-powered heating of the planet, new types of fuels and new types of propulsion will be introduced. Not least, electric hybrid systems that largely consume green electricity bunkered from land or produced by fuel cells on board.

This is how it should look, but regrettably doesn’t look anymore. Despite many years as part of the American Carnival Group, P&O Cruises until recently managed to maintain the company’s great heritage in its livery. Something which made ARCADIA by far the best-looking of all the Carnival Vista-sisters from Fincantieri. Here the beautiful sculptured funnel of ORIANA, that specially on a grey day match perfectly with the write superstructure end green-glassed windows.

Therefore, the exterior design of ships is changing as well. Especially passenger ships that directly market themselves against the wide population view, why ships funnels, as we know them, can become a design element that faces major changes.

Partly because the funnels now no longer have to serve the practical purpose of preventing soot from stain the outside decks and partly because the absence of a funnel or a minimalizing of it can be used as a statement to underline that this ship is a green non-polluting ship – an expression of modernity in the coming decades, where everyone’s focus is on the climate and the state of the Globe.

Japanese Sea
The Japanese design language on ferries differ in many ways from the one we know in Europe. But this funnel on Shin Nihonkai’s ro/pax-ferry AZALEA could easily have been mounted on a European-built ferry.

Two world-renowned historic merchant ships, which both introduced new ways of propulsion in their respective eras; the first major diesel engine-powered merchant ship SELANDIA from 1912 and the world’s first major nuclear-powered merchant ship SAVANNAH from 1963, used the absence of visible funnels as a statement of modernity.

Shin Moji, Japan
A typical Japanese pagoda roof at the Hankyu Ferries terminal at Shin Moji.

Currently, Scandlines’ two diesel electric hybrid-powered ferries BERLIN and COPENHAGEN from 2016 use part of the same strategy with significantly underplayed funnels in the same white colour as the rest of the ship. The same does Molslinjen’s HAMMERSHUS from 2018, which feature a world premiere on Wärtsilä’s new W31 engine range, considered the most energy efficient medium speed motor on the market now.

Shin Moji, Japan
Another Japanese scene from the wetland off Shin Moji.

As a maritime photographer, who has always been inspired by the aesthetics of ships, I have had a special focus on passenger ships funnels as one of the most important design elements. Something that, once it has fulfilled its technical purpose, can acts as a creative dot for the ship’s designer to complete the profile.

I have over the years shot many photos of funnels, but almost always as a by-product in a much broader photo session, but where the funnels emerged as a subject of obvious compositions along the way – “Funnels for Fun”; Either independently with its structure and lines – or with its interaction with the surroundings.

Off Kobe, Japan
XIN JIAN from Chinese CHINJIF pass under the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge, linking the city of Kobe on the Japanese mainland of Honshu to Iwaya on Awaji Island.

Once, passenger ships’ funnels were an expression of power as in the transatlantic liner era. Through in the time I have documented them, they have been less value-laden and more just a design element with a practical purpose. But that can change in the decades to come!

Takamatsu, Japan
A futuristic and funny-looking funnel, which lead your imagination towards jet propulsion, or something like that. It belongs to one of the small commuter ferries from Japanese Olive Line, who connect the inland-sea island Shodo Island with Takamatsu.
Back in Europe again; The Destination Gotland’s SF 1500 ferries VISBY and GOTLAND have an excellent exterior design, which of course also include their funnels.
Together with DFDS, Brittany Ferries have the most awkward and ugly scrubber installations on some of their ships. Here a pre-scrubber photo from the ro/pax-ferry MONT ST. MICHEL.
I’m not a fan of this kind of decoration on a funnel, but I could easily live with it back in 2009, when I travelled on the legendary MONA LISA (originally the last KONGSHOLM from Swedish America Line).
Fjord Line meant it seriously when they with the help from Norwegian Falkum Hansen Design rebuilt their quite gloomy ro/pax ferry BERGENSFJORD to the tax-free day cruiser OSLOFJORD. Especially the new funnel design acts as a visual link to the two purpose-built flag-sister ships STAVANGERFJORD and BERGENSFJORD.
The funnel of P&O Ferries’ PRIDE CANTERBURY.
And here another funnel construction made by the German Schichau Seebeckwerft in the eighties.
Sunshine, but soon a shower at the WDR terminal in German Dagebüll.

1 Comment

  1. Hello again

    and thank you for another batch of fun and fascinating funnels. I do enjoy the way you see and record these sights, and thank you for sharing them.

    Best wishes. Ann


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