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The word ‘empathy’ and the battle for seafarers’ rights

The APA (Amercian Pschological Association) Dictionary of Psychology defines empathy as “understanding a person from his or her frame of reference rather than one’s own, or vicariously experiencing that person’s feelings, perceptions, and thoughts.” Clearly, there should be empathy if seafarers are to be treated more kindly by those who profit from them. So why is this word not used more often by advocates of seafarers’ rights?

Love, sex and the seafarer: ‘The human element’ in art

I have always objected to the use of the term “the human element” to refer to seafarers. It not only sounds as cold as the periodic table of elements invented by the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev. More important, it objectifies seafarers and detracts from their humanity. The following works of art show just how human they are — no less driven by love and libido than the maritime bureaucrats and pedants who label them “the human element”.

Timeless quotes about charity for today’s shipping world

Charity is a great thing. It uplifts the human spirit and acts as an antidote to greed. Unfortunately, charity in the shipping world has descended to the level of propaganda, corporate almsgiving and media spectacle. The maritime charities drum up a particular issue (e.g., depression at sea), and large corporations, their conscience pricked, donate money to the cause. The whole cycle is attended by publicity.

Four biggest sins of manning agents against seafarers

Ship manning agents may have wealth and influence, but they do not, on the whole, enjoy a good reputation. For this they only have themselves to blame. Many of these glorified clerks are rogues who protect their own interests and those of the shipowners they serve, not the interest of seafarers. The following are four of the most egregious acts that give the crewing business a bad name.

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