The world at large is full of dishonesty, and the world of shipping has its fair share of it. I have seen and heard enough over the years to say without hesitation that dishonesty in the maritime sphere is commonplace. It comes in many forms, in both words and deeds.

  • Manning agents skimming money from the remittances of seafarers
  • Maritime charities magnifying the problem of depression at sea to get more corporate donations
  • Seafarer unions earning from collective wage agreements with shipowners and giving back little or or nothing in terms of benefits to their members
  • The shipping press engaging in cut-and-paste journalism

I could go on and on. The following quotes, I hope, will remind readers of the importance of being honest in an industry that is driven by money and power.

“Honesty” is such a lonely word
Everyone is so untrue
Honesty is hardly ever heard
And mostly what I need from you

— Billy Joel, Honesty (1979)


Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.

— William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600-02)


The more honesty a man has, the less he affects the air of a saint.

— Johann Kaspar Lavater, as quoted in Many Thoughts of Many Minds (1862)


An honest heart possesses a kingdom.

— Seneca the Younger, Thyestes, CCCLXXX


The dishonest man stole silver; the honest man will earn his pay.

— Sumerian proverb, Collection XIII at The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, 3rd millennium BC


No legacy is so rich as honesty.

— William Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well (1600s)


If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

— Virginia Woolf, ‘The Leaning Tower’, The Moment and Other Essays (1948)


He who dares not offend cannot be honest.

— Thomas Paine, The Forester’s Letters, Letter III ‘To Cato’, The Writings of Thomas Paine (1906)


It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.

— Laura Ingalls Wilder, Letter to children (February 1947)


How happy is he born and taught,
That serveth not anothers will?
Whose armour is his honest thought,
And simple truth his utmost skill?

Whose passions not his masters are,
Whose soul is still prepar’d for death;
Unti’d unto the World by care
Of publick fame, or private breath.

Who envies none that chance doth raise,
Nor vice hath ever understood;
How deepest wounds are giv’n by praise,
Nor rules of State, but rules of good.

Who hath his life from rumours freed,
Whose conscience is his strong retreat:
Whose state can neither flatterers feed,
Nor ruine make Oppressors great.

Who God doth late and early pray,
More of his grace then gifts to lend:
And entertains the harmless day
With a Religious Book, or Friend.

This man is freed from servile bands,
Of hope to rise, or fear to fall:
Lord of himself, though not of Lands,
And having nothing, yet hath all.

— Sir Henry Wotton, “The Character of a Happy Life”, Reliquiæ Wottonianæ. Or, A collection of lives, letters, poems; with characters of sundry personages: and other incomparable pieces of language and art. (1651)

~ Barista Uno

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