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Why an alternative maritime dictionary? Firstly because language is a living organism, constantly evolving and adapting to the times. Secondly because existing definitions of certain words and phrases may not exactly correspond to reality. In fact, they sometimes contradict it. Here are some entries (not arranged alphabetically) in Marine Café Blog’s New Maritime Lexicon:

seafarer — A person who travels by sea and has a big bundle of training certificates

training certificate — A seafarer’s meal ticket; a piece of paper often substituted for sea experience

COP — Acronym for Certificate of Proficiency but could also mean Certificate of Payment since the document can sometimes be obtained if the price is right

Day of the Seafarer — An annual event during which tributes are made to seafarers by people who exploit them the rest of the year.

maritime conference — A multiple-day event where they serve more clichés than coffee

manning agent — The equivalent of a meat packer who makes more money than a meat packer can dream of


In the Marine Café Blog archives:


What’s with ‘the human element’?

shipowner — A person who owns a ship or shares in a ship but sometimes acts as if he also owned the crew

depression at sea — A complex mental condition amongst seafarers which maritime charities try to simplify by handing out self-help pamphlets

seafarers’ rights — A source of livelihood for those who advocate them professionally or as their main activity in life

utility — Used by Filipinos to refer to a cadet who is utilised as slave labour by a manning agency, in some cases for months on end; a kinder term is “maritime flunkey”

family allotment — In the Philippine context, the dollars sent home for the sustenance of the seafarer’s family as well as the sustenance of thievish manning agents who disburse the money

maritime press — An echo chamber for the maritime establishment and public relations firms

maritime award — an award given by maritime publications and other organisations primarily to promote and market themselves 

~ Barista Uno

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