House flag, World Wide Shipping

The house flag of World Wide Shipping, Hong Kong. A rectangular flag bearing a white 'W' on a red background with a white and blue border. The flag is made of a wool and synthetic fibre bunting. It has a cotton hoist and is machine sewn. A rope is attached.

World Wide Shipping Company began in 1955 when businessman Yue-Kong Pao bought a 27-year-old coal-burning freighter, the ‘Golden Alpha’. Pao had been in the trading business, trading such items as duck feathers, animal feed, and bean curd. In 1956, Egypt took control of the Suez Canal from Britain and shipping rates subsequently escalated. This allowed Pao to buy five more ships, and business was booming.

In the mid-1960s the company acquired its first tanker and its first VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) was purchased in 1969. By 1979, World Wide Shipping owned over 200 shipping vessels and was the largest independently-owned shipping fleet in the world. During the shipping slump of the 1980s, World Wide Shipping managed to avoid going out of business by halving its fleet over the course of three years. In 1986, the company was taken over by Pao’s son-in-law, Helmut Sohmen. After the 1980s recession, the company began working with Hyundai and Daewoo to make new tankers for the business, the first of which was the ‘World Phoenix’. In 2000, the company acquired the Swedish tanker company N & T Argonaut, adding 24 tankers to its fleet. In 2003, the gas carrier company Bergesen was acquired by World Wide Shipping, and the company was known as Bergesen Worldwide. Further reorganization in 2005 led to the company being simply named BW Group. The shipping faction of the BW Group currently operates a fleet of 21 VLCCs and manages an additional fleet of 13 dry bulk vessels.

Object Details

ID: AAA0410
Collection: Textiles; Flags
Type: House flag
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Date made: 1955-1967; 1955-67
People: World Wide Shipping, Hong Kong; Pope, Charles Meredyth
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Pope Collection. We regret that Museum enquiries have not been able to identify the copyright owner of the flag's emblem and would welcome any information that would help us update our records. Please contact the Picture Library.
Measurements: flag: 838.2 x 1320.8 mm

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