• 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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  • Maritime training videos are underrated

    I find it interesting that instructional videos are rarely, if ever, used in maritime schools and training centres in the Philippines, the world’s top crew-supplying nation. When I first explored the world of coffee, I learned plenty by watching films about how coffee is harvested and roasted, the proper way to store coffee beans and the different methods of brewing. […]

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Recent Posts

Filipino ignorance about EMSA inspections

Many Filipinos engaged in manning and training still harbour in their heads some fallacies about the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) and the inspections it conducts on behalf of the European Commission, which represents the 28 European Union member states. In previous posts, I had written about two major misconceptions. These are so egregious that they bear repeating on the […]

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10 wondrous paintings of the waterfront

I miss the waterfront. One of my most vivid childhood memories is boarding a ferry with my mother at Manila’s North Harbor terminal. We were bound for Mindanao in the southern Philippines. I remember watching from the upper deck tiny fishes swim alongside the ship whilst it was moored. The riot of smells from ripe pineapples, jute sacks and salt […]

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Far-out ways to vet Filipino maritime schools

I can’t blame inspectors from the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) for being rather bookish in their audit of Philippine maritime academies. By necessity, they have to go by the specific regulations of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (or STCW), 1978, in determining whether quality management systems are in place or training equipment […]

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A foray into maritime book writing

No, I have not joined a monastic order. The reason this blog was not updated for more than a fortnight is that I have been immersing myself like a 15th-century monk in an exciting new project. I am writing a book entitled ‘Close Encounters in Maritime Manila’. If all goes well, it should be available soon to the public, as […]

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