The women of Spain have such captivating beauty that the great Joaquín Sorolla featured them in many of his paintings, including his 1889 Los Guitarristas, Costumbres Valencianas (pictured above). They also inspired Spanish Ladies, a traditional British naval song...
Lewis Wickes Hine (1874–1940) was an American photographer and sociologist who documented the lives of immigrants and workers in early 20th-century America. His 1920 photograph of an old sailor (shown above) is part of the vast Hine collection in the Library of...
Old age is too remote for young sailors to think about. It is a distant shore that lies beyond the horizon, invisible to the eyes of youth in love with life. The time comes, however, when strands of white hair begin to surface like little islands in the sea. They...
The art world has not run out of praise for the 19th-century German painter, Caspar David Friedrich (shown in the above inset, a portrait by fellow German artist Gerhard von Kügelgen). Perhaps it never will. Peter Schjeldahl, art critic of The New Yorker magazine, had...read more
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. ~from the Tao-te Ching (translation by Stephen Mitchell) The shipping industry is trying hard to reduce emissions from ships. Well and good. Global warming is bad enough...read more
It took only 55 seconds for Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg to make her opening statement before a US Congress hearing on September the 18th. The message from the 16-year-old was short and crisp. In lieu of a prepared testimony, she said she was...read more
The EU threat to derecognise the certificates of Filipino officers serving on board EU-registered vessels has not gone away. By all indications, the proposal is still on the table at the European Commission. It may well stay there for some time given Manila's failure...read more
Pirates have always been a part of the shipping world. They may be nasty characters but they fascinate the public. Their exploits are commemorated in films such as the Pirates of the Caribbean series and in pirate festivals in North America. But there is a class of...read more
“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...read more
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...read more
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