(Washington, DC) – The U.S. Postal Service today issued a quartet of stamps that depict ships that helped establish the U.S. Merchant Marine as a world leader in innovation and efficiency. The stamps feature a clipper ship, an auxiliary steamship, a Liberty ship, and a containership.


“This is a proud moment for everyone in the U.S. merchant marine,” said James Henry, President of the Transportation Institute, and Chairman of the Board of American Maritime Partnership. “Ships have played a vital role in the development and protection of our nation. It was no accident that one of the first laws passed by Congress focused on fostering a U.S.-flag fleet. Since 1920, the Jones Act has been the foundation of the domestic U.S.-flag fleet and its requirement that cargo moving between U.S. ports be carried in vessels that are U.S.-owned, -built, and -crewed has produced an industry second to none.”


Henry noted that the four types of ships selected for the stamps only hint at America’s maritime credentials. “As significant as each of these vessels types has been, many other industry-transforming developments trace their roots back to the U.S. merchant marine. The self-unloading vessel, for example, was invented and perfected by the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet and revolutionized the movement of raw materials such as iron ore, coal and limestone. River flotilla towing systems made our great rivers the arteries that sustain our way of life. The articulated tug-barge, trailer barges, and many other vessels are all the result of American ingenuity on the water.”


Clippers ships ruled the waves from the 1840s through the 1850s before passing the baton to auxiliary steamships. Liberty ships, 2,700 in all, were the workhorses of ferrying supplies to U.S. troops worldwide during World War II. Containerships reinvented ocean transport in the 1950s and have remained the standard ever since.


The stamps were introduced today in a dedication ceremony at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. The school, one of seven maritime academies in the United States, graduates deck and engine officers to serve on the modern and efficient vessels that are writing the next chapters in the proud history of the U.S. merchant marine.