Time to resuscitate the term “seaman”

Marine Café Blog recently took the bold step of completely dropping the use of the term “seafarer” in favour of “seaman” or “seawoman”. Not many, I’m afraid, will follow suit. The International Maritime Organization has virtually buried the word “seaman” with the entire shipping industry only too happy to attend the funeral. Total Share: 11163100

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The anomaly of the Day of the Seafarer

Call me a grinch, a spoilsport. But I have never felt the urge to observe the Day of the Seafarer (25th of June). It’s not just the empty slogans and tributes from the very people who have commodified seamen that dampen my mood. I am dismayed by the mere fact that the annual celebrations are spearheaded by the International Maritime […]

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Unsolved glut of Filipino maritime schools

Not too long ago, Philippine schools for ship officers numbered close to 90. In an environment of official complacency and corruption, they had been allowed to proliferate like the mushrooms in American artist Jamie Wyeth‘s 1963 oil painting titled “Mushroom Picker” (pictured aboved). Have the reforms instituted by Manila addressed the problem? Total Share: 3021000

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Shortfall of respect for ship officers

We’ve always thought of ship officers as belonging to an elite class. So it perturbs us whenever we see Filipino captains or chief engineers who report to their manning agencies in Manila treated gruffly, if not rudely, by office security guards. Shouldn’t management impose a policy of utmost courtesy to all visitors, especially ship officers? Total Share: 10522100

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Doña Paz disaster: a deficit of memory

It is five days before Christmas. In the collective delirium of holiday shopping, few Filipinos will remember that today, the 20th of December, is the 28th anniversary of the Doña Paz ferry tragedy. And yet, the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster will forever haunt mankind like the Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship which American artist Albert Pinkham Ryder depicted […]

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A cat’s view of Christmas and things maritime

It’s been more than seven months since our last interview with Frankie the Philosopher Cat. What better time to chat with him again than at Christmastime in Manila? ‘Tis the season to be jolly – a time for brushing aside the problems which bedevil the maritime industry and make some folks age faster than they can make money. Total Share: […]

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ICTSI versus waterfront union power

Officials of International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) must be feeling a sense of moral victory. For the second time in 10 weeks, the US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled on 30th November 2015 that the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU International) and ILWU Local 8 had violated federal labour law by engaging in coercive activity against […]

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