Winslow Homer (pictured above at the age of 44) is best known for his marine oil paintings. His iconic The Fog Warning and Breezing Up (A Fair Wind) have assured him a place in the pantheon of the all-time greats of American art. However, Homer's artistic gift is no...
A recent article in The Manila Times caused a ruckus by raising the spectre of the Philippines being struck off the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) updated White List. What? The top crew supplier not making it to the roster of members states that have...
In his classic 1906 essay, The Book of Tea, Japanese scholar Kakuzo Okakura spoke of the philosophy of tea as “moral geometry, inasmuch as it defines our sense of proportion to the universe”. This sense of proportion — the notion of man as being a mere part of the...
Shipwreck paintings captivate us for the same reason that tragedy as a form of drama enthralled the ancient Greeks: they arouse pity and fear. The following artworks are some of the best on the subject. Intense and moving like the plays of Sophocles, they are a...read more
The slogan-loving officials of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) should exorcise the term “invisible seafarers”. The phrase was coined by some second-rate copywriter to add drama to the ‘Day of the Seafarer’ celebration in 2013. It sounds contrived, a...read more
There is one lesson I've learned after spending years as an international maritime journalist. And that is, one does not need any special talent to be successful in the business. News writing is not like writing a treatise or a serious novel. It does not require a...read more
It is January, so I thought I would share some paintings which depict sunrise at sea. The first month of the year derives its name from the Latin word for door, ianua, and is often associated with the Roman god Janus, who presided over doors and beginnings. I hope the...read more
It's too bad there are no fairies in the shipping world like the one depicted in John Atkinson Grimshaw's 1879 painting, Spirit of the Night (pictured above). Otherwise, I would summon their help to make the following maritime-related wishes for the new year, 2019,...read more
I recently invited photography enthusiasts to share their pictures for a special Marine Café Blog feature on coffee. It's a hectic holiday season. What better time to take a respite from the workaday maritime world? Of the nearly 50 photos submitted, six stood out...read more
Money makes the world go round, the song goes. As far as shipping is concerned, it can make the world go up and down and even sideways. Money or the love of it is what fuels the expansion of shipping fleets and port facilities and the development of new...read more
As a break from things maritime, I am inviting all and sundry to share their photographs for an upcoming Marine Café Blog coffee special. The best picture on the subject of coffee will be awarded a cash prize of US$100 and featured in the blog along with other...read more
Why do officials of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) talk of seafarers being invisible? It's downright silly. How could they be invisible when the English language itself has been enriched because of them? Consider some of the words used to...read more
The sea has been Judith in den Bosch's muse since she was a little child. ”When I am there, I start making poems,” says the photographic artist from Alkmaar, The Netherlands. “I love the power...the feeling of being small, a part of the whole." Her work...read more