Marine Café Blog had a post-Thanksgiving Day chat with Frankie the Sage Cat. As expected, he said a mouthful about maritime conferences, seafarer charities and other matters. For those not familiar with Frankie, he’s a real cat who understands humans in an uncanny way. He must be at least 12 years old now, but he still has a sharp mind.

Marine Café Blog: Hey, did you know that there was an international crewing conference in Manila recently?
Frankie: How could anyone not know? The speakers and delegates went on a social media photo binge after it ended. They all bragged about being present at the event.

MCB: Don’t you think that these two-day conferences help enlighten the participants about certain issues?
Frankie: Tell that to the marines. The wisest, most informed maritime professionals I know are not into attending conventions. Instead of listening to speeches, they read!

MCB: I’ll bet you’d enjoy the food they served to the conference delegates.
Frankie: Hotel food…no, thanks. I will settle for canned tuna at home and have some peace and quiet.

MCB: I think you should be happy that they held an international conference in Manila. That means the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and people are travelling again.
Frankie: It ain’t over till the fat lady sings. You know the old saying.

MCB: But, surely, things are getting better. The conference participants were not wearing masks.
Frankie: Crowded places are always a source of infections. Crews and passengers of cruise ships are still going down with COVID.

MCB: You’re being paranoid.
Frankie: Better a living coward than a dead hero.

The wisest, most informed maritime professionals…are not into attending conventions. Instead of listening to speeches, they read! — Frankie

MCB: So much for the virus. How would you describe the maritime scene this year
Frankie: Same old same old.

MCB: What do you mean?
Frankie: Maritime awards are still being handed out. Shipping reporters are still doing their cut-and-paste thing. Seafarers are still cheated by manning agents. Piracy at sea is still alive and kicking. And so on and so forth.

MCB: Surely, there have been some positive developments.
Frankie: Yes, there is at least one. The maritime charities are making much less noise about depression at sea.

MCB: Why do you think that’s a good thing?
Frankie: As Marine Café Blog has pointed out, the maritime charities have created “an image of 21st-century seafarers as weak and vulnerable creatures who are prey to the meanderings of their own minds”. Your exact words. I should add that photos of seafarers on social media all show them happy and smiling. So what depression at sea are the charities talking about?

MCB: You sound very sceptical about the work done by the charity workers.
Frankie: What work are you talking about? They make ship visits, hand out token gifts to the crew, and post pictures of themselves online.

MCB: Well, they need to show the corporate donors that they’re doing something for seafarers.
Frankie: Exactly. I wonder what issue they’ll drum up next after seafarers’ mental health.

MCB: Is there any change you’d like to see happen in 2023?
Frankie: Just one. For the shipping world to treat seafarers as people would their housecats—with genuine love. Hey, when do I get KFC for lunch?

~ Barista Uno

Did you like this article?  Buy me a coffee

Let us know what you think of this article

Don't Miss the Brew!

Sign up to be notified of updates to Marine Cafe Blog

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest