Plimsoll at 200: Legacy behind the Load-line

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Samuel Plimsoll, born 200 years ago, is celebrated for creating the Plimsoll Line, a critical safety mark on ships that prevents overloading and has saved countless lives. Alongside his wife Eliza, Plimsoll fought for legal reforms against overloading ships, which was a common and dangerous practice leading to many fatalities at sea. Despite resistance and challenges, including personal vilification, their efforts led to the compulsory use of the load line on ships entering British ports from 1876, with the independent setting of rules by 1890. The International Convention of Load Lines, adopted in 1966 and now signed by 162 countries, governs load lines globally. The Plimsolls’ campaign significantly reduced shipwrecks and loss of life, illustrating the importance of safety regulations in maritime and other industries. Despite modern advancements, challenges to maritime safety, such as cargo liquefaction and overloading, persist, underscoring the ongoing relevance of Plimsoll’s work in advocating for safety and risk awareness.

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