Pirates have always been a part of the shipping world. Even today, they are celebrated in pirate festivals across North America and immortalised in such films as the Pirates of the Caribbean series. But there is a class of real-life pirates that seafarers have to...
“Power can be held in the smallest of things,” declared a 2001 movie poster for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. The maxim applies to magical rings as well as to tugboats. What would the shipping world be without the latter? Tugboats were on hand to...
Imagine for a moment that the International Maritime Organization is a coffeehouse. The name is too long, so it will have to be called IMOcafe, IMOcha or something similar, a short and catchy name. Enter, and you immediately realise that this is no ordinary...
Marine Café Blog stopped using maritime press releases long ago. There is just too much of them. They come rushing like the waves in Winslow Homer's 1891 painting Watching the Breakers (pictured above), flooding the in-box of journalists to subsequently see the light...read more
With so much talk about seafarers' rights, one might miss the bigger picture and overlook other cases of human exploitation. Not the least is child labour, which French painter Fernand Pelez (1843–1913) poignantly depicted in A Martyr – The Violet Vendor, 1885...read more
Every seafarer should have a personal copy of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). After all, it is the bible of the merchant marine. Seafarers are obliged to meet the STCW's minimum standards on...read more
No, it is not the desire for money that really drives the shipping world. It is the desire for power. Those who want to make more money than they can possibly spend in a lifetime are really after power. For power means, not only standing above the rest, but being able...read more
Academic papers usually make for dull reading. The Mental Health of Seafarers, written by one Robert T.B. Iversen and published in 2012, is no exception. It starts with the typical abstract and ends with a list of references (57 in all). Even the title is fittingly...read more
menagerie: a collection of wild animals that are kept privately or to show to the public (Cambridge Dictionary)Those who have read my e-book, Close Encounters in Maritime Manila (2018), may recall that I used the term “menagerie” in the Preface. No, I was not...read more
Marine Café Blog is now on its 11th year, having turned a decade old on 25th August 2019. Instead of looking back, I would much rather talk about things to come. As H.G. Wells said in his 1902 philosophical lecture, The Discovery of the Future: “It is possible to...read more
Hokusai's Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also called The Great Wave, (pictured above) does more than delight the eye. It is an eloquent expression of the traditional Japanese attitude towards the sea as something to be admired and feared at the same time. The woodblock...read more
The international maritime community has strong vocal chords. It can create quite a noise when it wants to, as evidenced by the current blabber and bluster about wellness training for seafarers. Ironically, the folks who are voluble on such faddish issues are silent...read more
“Never let yourself be diverted,” the famous British mathematician and philosopher, Bertrand Russell, said in a 1959 BBC interview, "either by what you wish to believe, or what you think could have beneficent social effects if it were believed; but look only and...read more