Installation, C-Print, 30x40cm

International Code of Signals (ICS) is an international system of signals and codes used by vessels to communicate important messages. According to the ICS the purpose of the International Code of Signals "is to provide ways and means of communication in situations related essentially to safety of navigation and persons, especially when language difficulties arise"
Signals can be sent by flaghoist where each flag or pennant represents one character or digit.
Combinations of these alphanumeric characters are assigned as codes for various standardized messages that was deemed the most important to be communicated in 1969 when the code book was most recently revised.
I have selected some of those messages and compiled them into a poem hoisted on a small sailing boat. The decoded English equivalent can be seen below.

I will keep going ahead
I am increasing speed.
I am unable to answer your question.
What course should I steer?

No information available
I am on fire.
The breathing is weak.
Temperature is rising.
Throat is sore and red.

Fire is gaining.
You should not come any closer.
I do not see any light.
Your signal has been received but not understood.
You should stop sending.

Onset was sudden.
Nothing can be done until daylight.
I will keep close to you during the night

My cargo is coal.
All persons lost.
No change.