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Filipino seafarer deployment posts historic plunge

Filipino seafarer deployment posts historic plunge

The overseas deployment of Filipino seafarers plummeted by 54% from 469,996 in 2019 to 217,223 in 2020, according to official government figures. This is the biggest drop ever for a single year. Hardest hit were hotel personnel for passenger ships (classified as ‘non-maritime’ but officially considered as seafarers). Their numbers declined by 64%. Deployment of ratings was down 44% with officers doing much better (only 0.48% lower). Is the bell tolling for Philippine manning?

Seascape paintings: Behold the clouds above!

Seascape paintings: Behold the clouds above!

The sea is the star of the show, so to speak, in a seascape painting. However, the area of the artwork that shows the sky and the clouds in particular is just as important. For the viewer not to give these elements enough attention is to do the painting and its creator a huge disservice.

Based on their shapes and colours, clouds indicate the atmospheric condiitions under which the sea moves and changes its appearance. They also serve as a kind of time stamp on the scene depicted. More importantly, from the aesthetic perspective, clouds and the rest of the sky contribute to the atmosphere of the work — that is, its pervading tone or mood.

Verbs that speak loudly about the abuse of seafarers

Verbs that speak loudly about the abuse of seafarers

It’s interesting how the plight of seafarers can be encapsulated in a single word. The following list of transitive verbs (or action words with a direct object) provides good examples. The words tell some of the ways seafarers are exploited or mistreated. For each one, I have given a definition with specific reference to those who work at sea and for whom so many words of sympathy are spun by the bleeding hearts in shipping.

[UPDATED] A litany of sins against seafarers, on land and at sea

[UPDATED] A litany of sins against seafarers, on land and at sea

Updated on 12th July 2021 with additional items to the lists and some editing. The original article appeared in Marine Café Blog on 13th April 2021.

There is never a dearth of news reports about seafarers being cheated, taken advantage of, oppressed and otherwise maltreated. The whole thing goes on and on, in spite of the many bleeding hearts in shipping. The following is a list of the myriad ways in which the rights of mariners are violated, both on land and at sea. Ironically, some are being overlooked or ignored by the maritime press and by those who profess love and compassion for seafarers.

The wonder of water: A celebration in song and art

The wonder of water: A celebration in song and art

“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water,” wrote W.H. Auden in his poem First Things First. This is such an obvious truth that one wonders why the seas are strewn with tonnes of plastic waste and rivers are polluted till they become dark and ugly. The following song and works of art are a tribute to life-giving andl life-sustaining water. They are a reminder as well that water is a precious resource that ought not to be taken for granted.

Popeye the Sailor and macho culture in the 21st century

Popeye the Sailor and macho culture in the 21st century

Pugnacious and wisecracking, Popeye the Sailor has endeared himself to millions of cartoon fans. Britannica calls him “an international folk hero”. His appeal stems partly from his no-bullshit manner of talking (“I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam,” he loves to say). But mostly it comes from his image of the aggressive male and of musculine strength, which unfailingly breaks out after he eats a can of spinach. It is an image that many men as well as women apparently find attractive.

Windjammers and steamers: Alfred Wallis’ delightful art

Windjammers and steamers: Alfred Wallis’ delightful art

The paintings of Cornish artist Alfred Wallis (1855–1942) are often called “naïve art”. Tate, the venerable British art institution, defines the term as art that “is simple, unaffected and unsophisticated — usually specifically refers to art made by artists who have had no formal training in an art school or academy”. Whilst the label is technically correct when applied to Wallis, it is woefully inadequate to describe his art. It does not do justice to the man.

Light in the harbour: The Statue of Liberty in old photographs

Light in the harbour: The Statue of Liberty in old photographs

As Americans celebrate the 4th of July, I thought I would share some old photographs of the Statue of Liberty. Well over a century after its inauguration in October 1886, the colossus continues to shine — a symbol of freedom and hope, not only for Americans but for the rest of humanity. I am including a poem by the American Jewish poet and activist, Emma Lazarus (1849 – 1887). The poem is inscribed on a plaque at the entrance to the statue’s pedestal.

Lighthouse photos that bid you to pause and have a look

Lighthouse photos that bid you to pause and have a look

There are so many pictures of lighthouses online — probably thousands — that one can grow tired of looking at them. It’s a kind of ocular fatigue summed up in the expression “when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”. Once in a while, though, one comes across a lighthouse photograph that has a certain quality, a certain atmosphere, that is hard to ignore. One sits up and takes notice. The following are some examples:

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