A hulk is a ship that is afloat, but incapable of going to sea. Although sometimes used to describe a ship that has been launched but not completed, the term most often refers to an old ship that has had its rigging or internal equipment removed, retaining only its flotational qualities. The word "hulk" is also used as a verb: a ship is "hulked" to convert it to a hulk.
Although the term "hulk" can be used to refer to an abandoned wreck or shell, it is much more commonly applied to hulls that are still performing a useful function. In the days of sail, many hulls served longer as hulks than they did as functional ships. Wooden ships were often hulked when the hull structure became too old and weak to withstand the stresses of sailing (i.e. their planking would admit too much water when moving in rough seas).
More recently, ships have been hulked when they become obsolete (such as when motorized ships replaced sailing ships) or when they become uneconomical to operate (such as some large oil tankers).
Other articles related to "ships, hulks, hulk":
... Writing of the fate of the clipper ships William L ... up, only down-- down to the category of coal hulks.. ... famed clipper Red Jacket ended her days as a coaling hulkin the Cape Verde Islands ...
Famous quotes containing the word hulk:
“To anybody who can hold the Present at its worth without being inappreciative of the Past, it may be forgiven, if to such an one the solitary old hulk at Portsmouth, Nelsons Victory, seems to float there, not alone as the decaying monument of a fame incorruptible, but also as a poetic approach, softened by its picturesqueness, to the Monitors and yet mightier hulls of the European ironclads.”
—Herman Melville (18191891)