• Artistic tribute to Mother Earth

    Unlike the ancients, modern man does not see Mother Earth as some kind of goddess like Gaia, the ancestral mother of all life in Greek mythology. He has de-mythicized her, reduced her to an object, a specimen, to be studied by scientists and exploited by corporations for profit. But the spirit of Mother Earth lives on. On this Earth Day, […]

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  • Filipino officers on EU ships: a question of arithmetic

    You can perish the thought of the European Commission withdrawing recognition of Philippine ship officers’ certificates. No, it is not because the Filipino seaman factory is now in tip-top shape. The 28 European Union member states represented by the Commission have little or no desire to dump Filipino officers. The fact that the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) made another […]

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Recent Posts

A post-mortem on the maritime press

For sure, there are still some maritime journalists around who follow the old tenets of journalism. They take the time to gather information, cross-check the facts, interpret events and write news stories that help readers make sense of it all. But the maritime press that I knew is no more. It is deceased, decayed, done for — like the dead […]

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The silliness of some maritime awards

Corporations as well as persons thirst for recognition. So it should not surprise anyone that maritime awards have become as common — and as cheap — as Starbucks coffee. The thirst needs quenching. But what business does the maritime press have giving awards to entities it is obliged to write about objectively, indeed with a critical eye? It all seems […]

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Art and thoughts of abandoned crews

The International Labor Organization’s (ILO) database of abandoned crews makes for some interesting reading. However, it paints a rather incomplete picture. What hardships and anguish do mariners suffer when they are left by shipowners to fend for themselves, unpaid and often without provisions? I hope the following works of art, together with my ruminations on the subject, will give readers […]

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The maritime blogger as industry critic

The maritime establishment — the groups that exercise power and influence over industry policy and opinion — is not only as resistant to change as the rock in Ivan Aivazovsky‘s 1885 painting ‘Rocky Island’ (pictured above). It is also often regarded as sacrosanct. As a result, any criticism of the system is likely to draw disdain and anger from those […]

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Abandoned crews: all’s well that ends well?

The press release issued by the ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) last 13th of March was understandably jubilant: 17 crew members of the Panama-flagged Sea Honest had all finally returned home. The Indian and Turkish seamen were abandoned in Algeria, unpaid and without provisions, in July 2016. The nightmare is over. Justice has been done, according to the ITF. I […]

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