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.

My views on seafarer issues are strictly my own. They do not necessarily reflect what seafarers think and feel about those issues. Some of them, in fact, may not care at all.

This does not disourage me from going on writing on the subject. I have always taken to heart the advice given by John Steinbeck, the distinguished American author and winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature. “The writer,” he said, “must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.”

No, I am not a voice for the voiceless. I am an ordinary man who writes about the things he feels are important, free of any illusion that what he writes would ever change the world.

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