Beyond the EU thumbs up on Filipino STCW compliance
On 31st March 2023, the European Commission decided to continue recognising seafarer certificates issued by the Philippines. At long last it deemed the country to be in compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). This is good news, of course, for the Filipino ship officers currently working on board EU-flagged vessels. The question is, what next?
A trio of superb poems about steamboats
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The reverse can be true. A poet who is not banal can paint, with just a line or two, a picture that is worth a thousand words. Such a poet can even convey certain sounds that a mute painting or photograph cannot.
A May Day salute to maritime workers
Forget the slogans and speeches. They tend to be hollow and even insincere, especially if they come from bureaucrats. On May Day (International Workers’ Day, 1st of May), let’s have some art to honour the maritime workers whose daily struggles and honest toil often go unnoticed.
Fire or ice? Robert Frost on how the world will end
The torrid temperatures this April reminded me of a 1920 poem by Robert Frost titled ‘Fire and Ice’. Using the contrasting images of fire and ice, the beloved American poet muses on how the world will end. He speaks of the cataclysmic event in a colloquial tone, which makes the poem somehow more chilling.
Two poems and a song about stevedores
There is no dearth of artworks depicting stevedores (or dockers, as they are called in the UK). In contrast, poems by famous authors about these waterfront workers are few and far between. In fact, I have found only three…
Sailors and retirement: Some words of wisdom
To stop sailing is no problem for those who are still young. They can find gainful employment on shore or put up their own business. But for some mariners who can no longer go to sea because of age or some disability, retirement can be a real challenge.
Eye-catching steamboat models from the 19th century
19th-century models of steamboats are such a delight to look at. They may not have the elegant craftsmanship of present-day models. Some may not have been built to scale. Yet, they have a special charm that makes one feel that their makers loved boats and loved their art.
Some Titanic quotes never to be forgotten
Incredibly plenty has been written about the sinking of the Titanic on 15th April 1912. So, rather than repeating the facts that most of the world already knows, I am sharing the following quotes from some of the people who were directly involved. One hundred and eleven years after the disaster, the words still reverberate.
‘Meditation by the Sea’: Thoughts on a mindful painting
It may not be dramatic like J.M.W. Turner’s famous Fighting Temeraire, but ‘Meditation by the Sea’ is my favourite marine painting. As a writer and observer of the shipping world, I can identify with this work. I even see myself in it.
Three short but powerful poems about water
Like the lens of a camera, poetry can put reality into sharper focus and prod us to see the world with fresh eyes. The following poems written by three famous poets are about water, a subject many people tend to take for granted. They are notable for their effective use of rhythm, diction and imagery to deliver a philosophical message.
Spotlight on boatswains in vintage photography and art
The important role played by the boatswain (often called “bosun”) cannot be gainsaid. He is the senior crewman of the ship’s deck department — the major-domo, as it were, in charge of planning, scheduling, and assigning work to be carried out by the other deckhands.
14 great tips for maritime expats in Metro Manila
Several things make Manila and the adjoining cities in the metropolis a congenial place for expats. A friendly people who understand and speak English…beautiful women…great variety of food and entertainment…a relatively safe environment. However, Filipinos have certain quirks. Understanding them and their culture can make life more pleasant for the expat.