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Tribute to seashells: Three verses, one music video

Like countless people around the world, I am fascinated no end by seashells. Just looking at them is a source of great pleasure. It can even be therapeutic. Someday, I might write a poem on the subject. In the meantime, let me share the following three verses and a haunting song about seashells. Relax and enjoy.

Immortal rivers in traditional Chinese art and poetry

Rivers are a popular theme in traditional Chinese art and poetry. This should come as no surprise. According to the first national census of water, China had 22,909 rivers which had catchment areas of at least 100 sq. kilometres at end-2011. The longest of the seven major rivers — the Yangtze River (6,397 kms.) and the Yellow River (5,464 kms.) — were cradles of Chinese civilisation. Thousands of rivers are thought to have disappeared before the 2010-2011 census was taken. The culprits: rapid economic development, misuse and climate change. But China’s rivers will never really die. They have been immortalised in paintings and poems.

Waterfront photos from the distant past that will captivate you

Why anyone would want to linger inside a mall mystifies me. Malls are cold and boring, even dispiriting. There is more life, more energy on the piers and wharves as the following old photographs show. Time has taken its toll on some of these pictures. Yet each one still speaks volumes about the vibrancy of commerce on the waterfront and the sedulous stevedores who keep the cargoes moving.

Why not scrap EMSA inspections under the STCW?

The coronavirus pandemic has forced the European Maritime Safety Agency to suspend its inspection visits to non-EU countries supplying crews to EU-flagged vessels. Between 2005 and 2019, EMSA had racked up a total of 75 such visits… Wouldn’t it be better if the EMSA inspections were scrapped altogether? Shouldn’t each EU member state be allowed, as a matter of sovereign right, to decide whether seafarers from outside the EU are up to standard and to hire them according to their needs?

A letter to the readers of Marine Café Blog

Dear Friends and Followers, Marine Café Blog will turn 10 years old this August. It is one of the most popular maritime blogs around with a broad–based readership. The blog continues to be guided by the belief that the greatest challenge faced by the shippiing world...

Fabulous feminist quotes for the shipping industry

In June 1916, the Minerva Café opened in the headquarters of the Women's Freedom League (WFL) in Holborn, London. It served as the meeting place for suffrage activists and anarchists. The name of the coffeehouse was significant. In ancient Rome, Minerva was the...

A dozen great quotes about sailors and life at sea

“Like your body, your mind also gets tired so refresh it by wise sayings,” according to the caliph Ali bin Abi Talib. My mind is not tired, but I thought I would share some quotations about sailors and the sea. Except for two quotes (from the Japanese writer Yukio...

Maritime awards: what do they really mean?

International awards in the maritime industry will never equal the prestige of filmdom's Oscar Awards — nor the pomp and glamour of the ceremonies that attend the latter. Still, they are noteworthy because of their sheer number. A slosh of high praise and accolades...

10 maverick quotes about Philippine manning

The world's ship manning capital has such a unique, albeit impaired, culture that it inspired me to publish my second e-book, 'Close Encounters in Maritime Manila', in April 2018. The following are brief excerpts from the volume. I hope this smattering of quotes will...

Crewing agents as money changers

All manning agents in Manila wear two hats: crew supplier and money changer. The second function is an incidental adjunct to the first. It is not wrongful or illicit per se, but it has given rise to a silent scam that has gone on for decades. Under government rules,...