World Stamps

Mediterranean-area countries issue Euromed stamps featuring boats

Aug 21, 2015, 6 AM

By Denise McCarty

Several postal administrations issued stamps July 9 showing boats of the Mediterranean.

These stamps continue the Euromed series that began in 2014.

Euromed, a regional postal union of countries in the Mediterranean area, was established in 2011. Also known as the Postal Union for the Mediterranean, its headquarters are in Malta.

While the 2014 Euromed stamps all feature the same common design showing a globe with the Mediterranean sea and the surrounding countries highlighted, this year each country selected its own design or designs based on the theme of boats of the Mediterranean.

The 5.80-kuna stamp from Croatia pictures a cargo vessel known as a bracera.

According to information from Hrvatska Posta (Croatian Post), braceras were used along the coast of the Adriatic sea to “transport wine, olive oil and other agricultural products, but also people and cattle and they were used for fishing, harvesting sea sponges and excavating sand from the sea along the whole coast.”

“The vessels were oar-powered or wind-powered which for millenniums were the main power resources for vessels.”

The one-masted bracera shown on the stamp dates from the 19th century.

The £5,000 stamp from Lebanon depicts a photograph of a harbor scene with traditional wooden boats, one flying the national flag.

Malta features a drawing of another traditional wooden boat, the ferilla (also spelled firilla), on its €3.59 Euromed stamp.

According to Malta Post, this boat was built for speed and “a firilla of four oars, manned by four rowers could cross from Grand Harbour to Gozo in two and a half hours.”

A sail also helped to increase the boat’s speed.

The ferilla originally was used to carry sea workers to their jobs, but later was used by fishermen.

The €0.64 stamp from Slovenia shows a wooden fishing boat with four men at the oars. Two tuna can be seen swimming under the boat.

A mosaic of a third-century Roman warship is shown on the 1,350-millime stamp from Tunisia. The ship is called a trireme because of its three banks of oars.

An eye is painted on the prow, presumably to help guide the ship.

Also issuing Euromed stamps July 9 were Cyprus, Greece, the Palestine Post, and Portugal.

Four boats are included on the €0.75 Cyprus stamp: a fisherman’s boat, a sailboat for leisure, and two boats used to carry cargo.

A small boat is shown on the €3 stamp from Greece, along with what looks like articles from newspapers in the background.

Other recent stamps from Greece, all released in May, also have a maritime theme.

Two of these stamps, denominated €0.72 and €0.80, commemorate the European Sea Ports Organization conference held May 21-22. In addition, the €0.80 stamp was printed se-tenant (side-by-side) with a label that could be personalized. A second €0.80 stamp honors the host city of Piraeus and European Maritime Day.

A sepia-toned photograph of fisherman with their boats and nets is reproduced on the 500-mils Euromed stamp from the Palestine Post.

Portugal issued three single €0.45, €0.72 and €0.80 stamps depicting sailing vessels, and a souvenir sheet with a €1.80 stamp showing more sailing ships, including one with an eye painted on the prow.

Other Euromed nations might be participating in this multination issue as well.