The first stamp in the new commemorative stamp series titled SLOVENIAN SHIPS features the Martin Krpan general cargo motor ship. This fairly small vessel (lenght 46,5 m, breadth 7,3 m), which has a deadweight capacity (DWT) of 525 tons (GT 398, NT 261), is extremely important for Slovenia's maritime history. It was the first ship owned by the Slovenian shipping company known as Splošna plovba from 22 October 1954 onwards (previously known as Val and Slovenijalinije). Martin Krpan also had a different name at first: Sirob, which is Boris spelled backwards (the name of the first director of Splošna plovba, Boris Šnuderl).
Martin Krpan was built in 1910 by the Lindholmens M.V. shipyard in Gothenburg, Sweden, and her first captain, Baldomir Podgornik (1913–1989), was sent to sail her home from Rotterdam. Podgornik then also took charge of much larger cargo ocean liners owned by Splošna plovba which were even more important for Slovenian shipping and will be presented on other stamps in the series.
The arrival of Martin Krpan to the Port of Piran was a historic milestone and is portrayed in the background of the stamp. With the purchase of Martin Krpan, Slovenians began to fulfil and demonstrate their maritime ambitions and skills, which also required the establishment of maritime educational institutions in Portorož and the development of much needed maritime infrastructure, including the Port of Koper. The symbol of the Slovenian shipping company Splošna plovba became well-known throughout the world's seas.