Ship Spotter Spotlight: Vladimir from South Korea

in Ship Spotter Profiles, Community by

In 2021, we started to put the spotlight on our passionate ship spotters. Each month, we showcase a different photographer of FleetMon.com. In January 2022, you’ll meet a maritime enthusiast from South Korea (User name: Lappino) who joined FleetMon in 2019 and has been very active ever since.

What is your maritime background?

I am a 51-year old naval architect working for a major classification society as a ship surveyor, currently living and working in South Korea.

When did you start to take photos of vessels?

While I took photos of vessels for my job’s purposes ever since I started working in the field, I became a ship spotter back in 2010.

What is your motivation for being a ship spotter?

With my private and professional life reaching some sort of regularity, I had to find myself a proper hobby. I tried to resurrect my childhood fascination with trains, but it didn’t work. Then suddenly I’ve found myself visiting ports and taking photos of ships even when it was not job-related – and then I realized that I’ve found myself a hobby…

Special Vessel Shot

Container ship MILANO BRIDGE one day after crane incident at Busan New port

Lappino’s comment on the photo of MILANO BRIDGE: “Photo taken 24 hours after the incident at Busan New port, with portion of the gantry crane that was destroyed still embedded in her aft container lashing bridges.”

How often are you on tour to shoot vessels?

While I do my ship spotting “tours” at least once a week, I take photos of ships basically every day.

Which technical equipment do you use to capture vessel moments?

The best camera is the one you’ve got with you. So, many times I take photos with my mobile phone (currently it’s Samsung Galaxy S9). Otherwise, I don’t like changing lenses on my cameras, therefore I’ve got Canon 60D with Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM lens, and then Canon 80D with Canon 70–200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens.

Which vessel types do you like to take photos of the most and why?

Every vessel type is worthy of a photo; I don’t discriminate. :) But, there are scenes that especially interest me, and they are ships under construction, or in distress, or being broken up. I also like seeing older vessels, as I am mostly dealing with (very) new ones.

How many pictures of different vessels have you collected since you started?

I haven’t counted exactly, but I’ve got more than 500,000 photos of ships, and I guess there are more than 10,000 different vessels…

Where is your favorite ship spotting location so far?

I’ve visited more than 20 different countries specifically for ship spotting; Japan is the closest destination, and in Japan, I like Kanmon Straits best, for the amount of traffic it gets. There are some other locations, with beautiful scenery, like Vancouver, Canada or Hawaii, USA, but they don’t get much traffic, therefore Hong Kong is my favorite spot, just opposite Lamma Island (Aberdeen, or Victoria Road).

Which worldwide ship spotting location would you like to visit if you had the chance to?

Blankenese, Hamburg Altona, Germany. I’ve been there before, but not as a ship spotter…

Which is your best shot on FleetMon.com? Please tell us about the moment when you took it.

Not an easy answer, but I’ve decided to go for a picture of MSC CATANIA. I’ve visited Bangladesh for some training purposes in 2014 and had tremendous luck to be able to visit some of Chittagong’s shipbreaking yards…

Vladimir’s favorite vessel photo of Container ship MSC CATANIA at a ship-breaking yard in Chittagong, Bangladesh

Is there anything you would like to improve when it comes to uploading photos to FleetMon.com?

You’ve got the most user-friendly uploading feature of all ship spotting sites; you should just keep it that way.

(Well, thank you very much, Lappino. We do our best to keep it that way.)