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Failboat or Shipment of Fail is a popular FAIL macro series featuring a large carrier vessel tipping over to the port side in the Pacific Ocean. Considered an epic subcategory of FAIL macros, Failboat images are typically accompanied by one of these following captions:
“Your Shipment of Fail has arrived”
“All aboard the Failboat”
“The Failboat has arrived”
The earliest known instance of Failboat image macro appeared on 4chan’s /b/ board in June 2007; the earliest reference to Failboat on /b/ can be found in an anonymous post made in April 2007 (both links are extremely NSFW).
The image was first documented as a notable instance of Epic Fail at Urban Dictionary on August 15, 2007:
Failboat (n.): A subcategory of FAIL images. Failboats are pictures of a boat that has something seriously wrong with it, usually from a severe act of stupidity, but not necessarily.
Failboat (n.): A failed organization or a group of idiots. Doomed to failure and full of ineptitude, they still continue to sail away on the sea of stupidity. In extreme circumstances, a single individual can be categorized as a failboat in and of his/herself.
In the following year, a FAILblog contributor “Russell” uploaded the original Failboat macro in January 2008. Astonished by the sheer scale of its fail-dom, readers responded by contributing an extensive series of image macros depicting similar maritime accidents.
The Ship: MV Cougar Ace
The ship depicted in the image is MV Cougar Ace, one of the largest cargo carriers currently under operation. On July 23, 2006, the ship listed onto her side in the Pacific Ocean while en route from Japan to North America. All of 23 crew members onboard were subsequently rescued by the US Coast Guard and the vessel was towed away to Dutch Harbor in Alaska, where she was righted. Due to the sheer number of new cars that Mazda had to scrap in the process (nearly 5000 brand new models), the Cougar Ace incident was extensively covered by the automotive press and Blogosphere.
Since becoming an iconic image of epic scale failures, Failboat macros have been numerously featured on forum threads, single topic blogs as well as popular imageboards in the English-speaking web and non-English communities. Today, Failboat undoubtedly remains one of the best known FAIL derivatives.
- On FailBlog.com, the user submission button reads: “Send in the Fail Boat.”
- In 2009, a FAIL-type single topic blog called ShipmentofFail.com was created, a rather obvious reference to the Failboat.
- The original Failboat image has been also used as an exploitable template, featuring an official logo placed over the ship’s front facade to symbolize its epic failure:
Presence on FAILblog
Artist Leigh McCarthy explains her series Art of Maritime Disaster, 2011 : “I cannot tell you why I am drawn to shipwrecks. I can just tell you that the pull is strong for me. A ship run aground resembles a beached whale; a massive vessel which reveals its vulnerability. All is not lost, the boat teeters between the dual possibilities of catastrophe and recovery.”