The best of times in shipping has yet to come

The best of times in shipping has yet to come

What would you consider as the best of times in shipping? The answer, I suppose, will depend on the needs and expectations of those being asked.

Shipping lines would see sustained high freight rates as a godsend; crewing agents, an ample supply of ship officers; nautical schools, a spike in enrolment; and maritime charities, a continued flow of donations. All that, however, has to do with business. I would rather look at shipping as a culture — a conglomerate of general customs and beliefs that define its essential character.

The MV Doña Paz in the deep sea of oblivion

The MV Doña Paz in the deep sea of oblivion

The 20th of December 2021 marked the 34th anniversy of the Philippines’ Doña Paz ferry tragedy. As usual, the day whizzed past with nary a tribute to the 4,341 who died on that fateful day in 1987. No, it was not because of the mad holiday rush. As I pointed out in my 2010 blog post, Filipinos have such short memories and Philippine ship operators have amnesia.

The perfect New Year resolutions for maritime players

The perfect New Year resolutions for maritime players

“The object of a New Year,” wrote the English writer and philosopher G.K. Chesterton, “is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions.”

With that in mind, I have listed down some New Year resolutions which seem perfect for certain maritime individuals and organisations. Of course, they can be broken as quickly as they are made. But as the old saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s way.

Three important maritime issues raised…and ignored

Three important maritime issues raised…and ignored

Marine Café Blog often hones in on topics that are hardly talked about by the maritime community and generally ignored by the shipping press. It was the first to raise three issues in particular which involve the rights and welfare of seafarers. Perhaps I should take some pride in this, but I don’t. The reason is that these issues continue to fall on many deaf ears. It can be bloody frustrating.

The beauty of sailboats in precious old photographs

The beauty of sailboats in precious old photographs

Sailboats have an enduring kind of beauty and elegance. A photograph of sailboats may be 100 years old or older. It may bear some bruises and blemishes from ageing, but the charm of the subjects still comes through. The photographer, who had long ago died, had made the ballerinas of the water deathless.

The Wellerman song: Putting the lyrics in context

The Wellerman song: Putting the lyrics in context

Knowing the historical and cultural context of a song can lead to a better appreciation of it. In the case of Soon May the Wellerman Come (The Wellerman, for short), it is in fact necessary . This whaling song which has gone viral (it is not a sea shanty) makes specific references to the whaling tradition of New Zealand and to whale hunting in general. To know the meaning of some of the words and phrases used is to understand what the song really tries to convey.

The nautical tradition behind some English idioms

The nautical tradition behind some English idioms

The English language is sprinkled with idioms that have a nautical origin. Some people may use them routinely without being aware of the fact. The following are 10 such idiomatic expressions. They illustrate, not only how the shipping world has impacted on everday language, but also how it has helped unify peoples across the English-speaking world.

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