The art world has not run out of praise for the 19th-century German painter, Caspar David Friedrich (shown in the above inset, a portrait by fellow German artist Gerhard von Kügelgen). Perhaps it never will. Peter Schjeldahl, art critic of The New Yorker magazine, had...
Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. ~from the Tao-te Ching (translation by Stephen Mitchell) The shipping industry is trying hard to reduce emissions from ships. Well and good. Global warming is bad enough...
It took only 55 seconds for Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg to make her opening statement before a US Congress hearing on September the 18th. The message from the 16-year-old was short and crisp. In lieu of a prepared testimony, she said she was...
No, it is not the desire for money that really drives the shipping world. It is the desire for power. Those who want to make more money than they can possibly spend in a lifetime are really after power. For power means, not only standing above the rest, but being able...read more
Academic papers usually make for dull reading. The Mental Health of Seafarers, written by one Robert T.B. Iversen and published in 2012, is no exception. It starts with the typical abstract and ends with a list of references (57 in all). Even the title is fittingly...read more
menagerie: a collection of wild animals that are kept privately or to show to the public (Cambridge Dictionary)Those who have read my e-book, Close Encounters in Maritime Manila (2018), may recall that I used the term “menagerie” in the Preface. No, I was not...read more
Marine Café Blog is now on its 11th year, having turned a decade old on 25th August 2019. Instead of looking back, I would much rather talk about things to come. As H.G. Wells said in his 1902 philosophical lecture, The Discovery of the Future: “It is possible to...read more
Hokusai's Under the Wave off Kanagawa, also called The Great Wave, (pictured above) does more than delight the eye. It is an eloquent expression of the traditional Japanese attitude towards the sea as something to be admired and feared at the same time. The woodblock...read more
The international maritime community has strong vocal chords. It can create quite a noise when it wants to, as evidenced by the current blabber and bluster about wellness training for seafarers. Ironically, the folks who are voluble on such faddish issues are silent...read more
“Never let yourself be diverted,” the famous British mathematician and philosopher, Bertrand Russell, said in a 1959 BBC interview, "either by what you wish to believe, or what you think could have beneficent social effects if it were believed; but look only and...read more
French artist Alfred Guillou depicted the horror of being shipwrecked and drowning at sea in his heart-wrenching 1892 painting, Adieu! (pictured above). Today, life is imitating art as people continue to flee from Libya to seek asylum in Europe. Thousands have died on...read more
In contrast to the ILO's policy, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) does not provide free online access to the full texts of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and other IMO...read more
The international maritime community is going gaga over wellness training. One UK-based seafarers' charity even wants to make it mandatory for seafarers. That idea is pinheaded but not really surprising. The shipping industry has a weakness for buzzwords which tends...read more