What is the meaning of "shark upon the ships" in following statement? Does it say something more than "people are very bad in Port Said"?

"Some nice-looking faces in the streets, but a good many ruffians ; not so bad though as Port Said, where the people simply exist to shark upon the ships."

From Adam's Peak To Elephanta (1892)


To shark:

  • To take advantage of others for personal gain, especially by fraud and trickery. (AHD)
  • The passage refers to people who behave like "sharks" when they are embarked on ships.
  • I don't think this is right. I think it refers to people who behave like sharks, not when they are embarked on ships, but when they sell things to or buy things from ships or sailors. – Peter Shor Oct 13 '16 at 13:32
  • @PeterShor - yes, that makes sense, probably we need more context. – user66974 Oct 13 '16 at 13:37

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