Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT)… Gross Registered Tonnage (GRT)… Net Tonnage (NT). These terms could confuse those with scant knowledge of shipping, journalists, and even seafarers. I have often encountered news reports that describe a ship that has sunk or run aground as “weighing” so many tonnes. What exactly is the reporter referring to?
The difference between wharf, pier and jetty as seen in art
How can one tell if it’s a wharf, a pier or a jetty? The question can stump non-maritime professionals. But even some seafarers may not be able to give a satisfactory answer. Dictionaries provide varying definitions, some of which can be a bit vague. The following works of art should be of help to those who sometimes or often get confused by the terms
The art of conversation: 14 wonderful quotes for the times
A conversation can be interesting and enjoyable, or it can be insipid and tiresome. The difference lies in what people are able and willing to put into it. Conversation is an art. Those who are good at it make the interaction a gratifying experience for themselves and for others involved.
Fragments of life and maritime history in old postcards
How many still send postcards by mail? People now use email and social media to send messages from near and far. Gone are the days when one would handwrite a greeting on a postcard, lick a stamp to paste onto it, and dispatch the card by mail to a friend or loved one. Come and have a nostalgic look at the lost age of postcards:
Why I am a big critic of today’s maritime press
It sounds a bit ironic. I have been firing broadsides at the maritime press in Marine Café Blog. Yet, I myself was once an international shipping and ports journalist. That was a long time ago, when the internet was in its infancy and I had to dispatch stories to my UK editors by teletype.
The upside and downside of candid maritime writing
I have been known for calling a spade a spade in Marine Café Blog, for being so candid at times as to sound irreverent. This is not an enviable reputation in a conservative shipping world. But I wear it as a badge of honour, like a tattoo etched on the forearm of an old mariner.
[Updated] Maritime players as characters in Aesop’s Fables
Imagine Aesop, the supposed author of a collection of Greek fables, living in the 21st century and writing about various players in the shipping world.A maritime edition of Aesop’s fables! That should be quite entertaining to read. The following are some individuals who would be perfect for the cast of characters:
ILO and IMO: A stark contrast in culture and values
This story highlights the stark contrast between the ILO and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in the treatment of maritime conventions that affect seafarers. Who really cares about the men and women who toil at sea?
Some great quotes about language and rhetoric
Speeches and slogans abound in the maritime world. Yet, not many have mastered the art of rhetoric — that is, the effective use of language to influence or persuade others.
Certainly not the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The reason that its buzzwords and slogans are instantly repeated throughout the shipping industry is not because of it is skilled in rhetoric but because those who echo the IMO’s words do not question their sincerity or if they even match reality.
One man’s voice (a maritime writer’s declaration)
Some people have told me that I am giving voice to the voiceless — meaning, the men and women who work at sea. I do write frequently about the rights of seafarers and how those rights are violated on a daily basis. But I cannot claim to be their voice. That role belongs to the unions and the seafarer charities, and I am not about to usurp it.
Valuable lessons from 12 years of maritime blogging
Marine Café Blog is now on its 13th year, having reached the dozen mark in August 2021. Twelve years seems a long time indeed, but every year has been worth it. The reason for my saying so is that I have learned many lessons along the way– about seafarers; the unions, charities and other players; the maritime press; the language used by the maritime community; and, not least of all, human nature in general. There are 12 things that I consider particularly edifying.
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.