I was a bit shocked when I recently watched the RT television report about German boat captain Pia Klemp facing charges in Italy for aiding human traffickers. She and her crew are credited with rescuing more than a thousand North African migrants who tried to reach...
I remember reading the paperback edition of Sigmund Freud's Introduction to Psychoanalysis when I was only 13 years old. My interest in psychology has never left me. As a maritime writer and commentator, I try whenever possible to relate certain issues to the mind —...
To be honest, I have never celebrated the ‘Day of the Seafarer’ as the whole shipping world does every 25th of June. I have always felt that the event is fraudulent, an anomaly. I explained why in June 2018 in my blog post, A refusal to observe ‘Day of the Seafarer’:...
It amazes me that a whole industry has been built on the simple question of how to become a good manager. Conferences, workshops, books, videos — self-styled management gurus are raking it in. It's a neat racket, if you ask me. There is more wisdom, I would like to...read more
“Like your body, your mind also gets tired so refresh it by wise sayings,” according to the caliph Ali bin Abi Talib. My mind is not tired, but I thought I would share some quotations about sailors and the sea. Except for two quotes (from the Japanese writer Yukio...read more
Seafarers have had the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) fighting for their rights since its founding in 1896. ILO Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, aims to advance the same rights. And lest anyone forget, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights...read more
Mention the Netherlands (or Holland) and some things immediately come to mind. Windmills, canals and dykes, tulips, clogs (called klompen by the Dutch and immortalised by Vincent van Gogh in his 1889 painting), and cheese. The list of Dutch cultural icons would not be...read more
Wage earners throughout the Third World are very often exploited and abused: miners, farmhands, factory workers, janitors, security guards, waiters, etc. What makes seafarers unique is that they earn in US dollars and are generally better off than ordinary land-based...read more
Many have been awed by the Notre-Dame de Paris (pictured above in a 1912 painting by American artist Florence Vincent Robinson). Who wouldn't be? This most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages wears the badge of antiquity (almost 200 years in the making,...read more
Forget the malls and the museums. There is hardly any place in a town or city more interesting than the waterfront. It is here where one encounters life in the raw with all its piquant energy. Serdar Bayram (pictured above) has captured this quality in his photographs...read more
Never mind the occasional lapses in grammar or the awkward style of writing. What is unforgivable is when maritime journalists and their editors put out articles that contain inaccurate or false statements. For this is a clear sign that they have not bothered to...read more
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has made so many inspection visits to the Philippines that I've actually lost count. I had to double-check the official EMSA list to confirm the number: seven visits from 2006 to 2017. This is more than the figure for any...read more
Anyone with half an eye for beauty would admire the burkini (pictured above) — a woman's swimsuit that covers the entire body except the hands, feet and face. It is snazzy and sleek, a fashion statement. Halima Aden, the young Somali-American supermodel, paid tribute...read more