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Marine Café Blog has been guided by three basic precepts since it started in 2009. Call a spade a spade. Don’t kiss ass (it’s incompatible with honest writing). Serve it hot and flavourful like coffee. The following is a list of the blog’s strongest brews in 2020 — each one a reflection of the three rules that have sustained the blog and defined its character.

Why join the ‘wellness at sea’ and other bandwagons?
21 January 2020

“Unwittingly, the do-gooders are creating an image of 21st-century seafarers as weak and vulnerable creatures who are prey to the meanderings of their own minds. Is this how the industry wants seafarers to see themselves?”

Click here to read the article.

Waging war on rotten Filipino maritime schools
18 February 2020

“It would be a bloody war marked by lawsuits and recriminations in the press. But such a war is necessary for the sake of all the maritime students and their parents who may be paying good money for a lousy education.”

Click here to read the article

Stranded seafarers: Shipping industry’s collective failing
6 May 2020

“That thousands of seafarers are stranded because of COVID-19 shows how little it (the shipping industry) cares about the men and women who toil at sea. So much for the slogan hailing seafarers as ‘heroes of global trade’.”

Click here to read the article.

Maritime charity in the Age of Selfies
30 May 2020

“I can understand that the maritime charities need to highlight their work and keep the donations coming. The problem is that some have made a habit out of plastering selfies on Facebook and Twitter. In the process, they are making it about themselves, not about the seafarers.”

Click here to read the article.

The selling of editorial space in the maritime press
4 June  2020

“A publication is supposed to sell only advertising space. Editorial space is for news and other editorial material. When you offer it for sale, editorial integrity goes down the drain and journalism becomes hack writing.”

Click here to read the article.

‘Crew Change’: When buzzwords speak volumes
26 July 2020

“Instead of calling for crew change, why not shout “Bring them home!” and focus the discussion on repatriation? The phrase ‘crew change’ is short and crisp as slogans should be, but it reminds me of a mother or a nurse changing a baby’s diaper. It sounds rather cold and mechanical — like that infamous buzzword ‘the human element’.”

Click here to read the article.

Five things not to like about some maritime unions
19 August 2020

“Some unions see themselves as sacred cows, as being above criticism. As the champions of seafarers’ rights, they think they are entitled to everyone’s respect. This mindset often manifests itself in arrogance and oversensitivity to any kind of criticism.”

Click here to read the article.

Filipino seafarers short-changed big time on remittances
25 September 2020

“Incredibly, there has been no public outcry over the dollar short-changing despite the scale of it. The local maritime press won’t even talk about the problem. As for the seafarers, most seem to have accepted the fact that being cheated if you’re a Filipino seafarer is part of life.”

Click here to read the article.

Mega cruise ships: Glorified monsters of the sea
8 October 2020

“As part of their marketing strategy, some cruise operators paint the hulls of their ships with bright-coloured images. The artwork is like make-up that a dowdy woman wears to make herself more attractive. However, it transforms the ship into a giant floating billboard, which, to my romantic eye, is so unromantic.”

Click here to read the article.

The Doña Paz ferry tragedy: The art of forgetting
21 December 2020

“In a sense, those who perished when the Titanic sank on 15th April 1912 are fortunate. More than a century on, the whole world still remembers them. Not so with the Doña Paz victims.”

Click here to read the article.

~ Barista Uno

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