I am deeply grateful to all the photographers who answered my call in late February for black and white photographs of boats. The two-week search yielded a good harvest of talent: some 70 entries from different countries. Choosing the best was not easy as there were...
Over the years, I have seen every malpractice imaginable in Manila's manning sector. Not the least of the misdeeds is the thievery involving dollar remittances from ship crews (see my blog post “Crewing agents as money changers”). It makes me want to puke and wish...
I have been contemplating the future of Marine Café Blog like the solitary figure in the early 1860s painting, Meditation by the Sea (pictured above). Should I write again about seamen's rights and other nitty-gritty maritime issues? Or should I just focus merrily on...
There is something about boats that has beguiled photographers for more than a century. The photo above from the Australian National Maritime Museum dates back to around 1928. It shows sloops racing on the choppy waters of Sydney Harbour. As part of Marine Café Blog's...read more
In October of 2018 I announced Marine Café Blog's shift in focus. Instead of the mundane issues that bedevil the maritime industry, I would write about marine art and other topics ignored by the shipping press, including sea-related photography and literature. For...read more
International awards in the maritime industry will never equal the prestige of filmdom's Oscar Awards — nor the pomp and glamour of the ceremonies that attend the latter. Still, they are noteworthy because of their sheer number. A slosh of high praise and accolades...read more
Together with nautical art and literature, songs of the sea have been conspicuously neglected by the maritime press. But who would be surprised? The maritime establishment, to which journalists kowtow like worshippers in a temple, cares little for such things. It is a...read more
Shipwreck paintings captivate us for the same reason that tragedy as a form of drama enthralled the ancient Greeks: they arouse pity and fear. The following artworks are some of the best on the subject. Intense and moving like the plays of Sophocles, they are a...read more
The slogan-loving officials of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) should exorcise the term “invisible seafarers”. The phrase was coined by some second-rate copywriter to add drama to the ‘Day of the Seafarer’ celebration in 2013. It sounds contrived, a...read more
There is one lesson I've learned after spending years as an international maritime journalist. And that is, one does not need any special talent to be successful in the business. News writing is not like writing a treatise or a serious novel. It does not require a...read more
It is January, so I thought I would share some paintings which depict sunrise at sea. The first month of the year derives its name from the Latin word for door, ianua, and is often associated with the Roman god Janus, who presided over doors and beginnings. I hope the...read more
It's too bad there are no fairies in the shipping world like the one depicted in John Atkinson Grimshaw's 1879 painting, Spirit of the Night (pictured above). Otherwise, I would summon their help to make the following maritime-related wishes for the new year, 2019,...read more
I recently invited photography enthusiasts to share their pictures for a special Marine Café Blog feature on coffee. It's a hectic holiday season. What better time to take a respite from the workaday maritime world? Of the nearly 50 photos submitted, six stood out...read more