The marvel of seashells in monochrome art

The marvel of seashells in monochrome art

Modern eyes have been spoiled by colours. Who would still want to use a mobile phone with a black & white screen? Even old films are being colourised to suit the contemporary viewer. Seashells, however, are just as captivating in a monochrome print or drawing as they are in an oil painting. Undistracted by colour, one can admire even more their wonderful contours and textures.

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Sunless days at the beach in vintage photographs

Sunless days at the beach in vintage photographs

Who would go to the beach when the weather is cold, damp and dreary? People go there to bask in the glory of the sun. Yet, there is something special — even beautiful — about a beach on a sunless day. Far from the motley crowd of sunbathers and alone near the mist-covered sea, one may come to realise the complex and perplexing nature, not only of the sea, but of life itself.

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Behold the ghost ship! (in poetry and art)

Behold the ghost ship! (in poetry and art)

Yes, there are real ghost ships. Phantom ships they are usually called, drifting at sea with their crew missing or dead. Amongst such mysterious vessels was the schooner Carroll A. Deering, which was found run aground off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina in 1921 minus its crew. But equally mysterious are the ghost ships of legend and folklore, the most famous being the Flying Dutchman. These spectres of the sea live on through the works of writers and artists.

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Have you ever met the ideal ship manning agent?

Have you ever met the ideal ship manning agent?

Some seafarers are undoubtedly satisfied with their manning agents. So long as the pay is good, the vessel is seaworthy, the shipowner complies with the Maritime Labour Convention, and one’s contract is renewed when it ends, what is there to complain about? Surely, though, seafarers deserve much more. The following, in my view, are seven things that make for an ideal manning agent:

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Great quotes about empathy (what shipping needs now)

Great quotes about empathy (what shipping needs now)

One of the best definitons of empathy comes from the Psychology Today website: “Empathy is the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person, animal, or fictional character.”

Sounds simple enough. Yet, what can be regarded as one of the noblest of human traits is in short supply in the shipping world. One only has to look at the continued objectificaton and abuse of seafarers amidst — quite ironically — all the talk about their rights and welfare. The following quotes should remind us all about the value of empathy in the cold, mechanistic world of shipping.

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Fabulous hand fans: Fanning the love for marine art

Fabulous hand fans: Fanning the love for marine art

Time was when hand fans were in vogue. A woman who waved a fan seemed to look more graceful and elegant. Those who crafted this fashion accessory made sure that it was as beautiful as the woman’s dress. The following are some fans from the 18th and 19th centuries which depict maritime scenes. Those who think that men should take no interest in the subject should remember that Japan’s samurai used folding fans both as a fashion accessory and as a weapon.

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The ship of fools and seafarers’ rights and welfare

The ship of fools and seafarers’ rights and welfare

The ship of fools is an allegory first used by Plato in Book VI of his Republic to highlight the problems of governance in a system that is not based on expert knowledge. The ship has a dysfunctional crew, each one pretending to be smart and trying to play captain. Well, there’s a brand new ship of fools with various characters on the deck of seafarers’ rights and welfare. Take a look:

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The force of habit and the culture of maritime safety

The force of habit and the culture of maritime safety

Tighter regulations and increased training requirements will not lead to a culture of safety. The MV Rena (2011), Costa Concordia (2012) and SS El Faro (2015) incidents offer the best proof. Sadly, the list of 21st-century maritime disasters is far from finished.

On the other hand, who can deny the fact that shipboard safety is a matter of habit? All living creatures are “bundles of habit”, wrote Ameican psychologiest and philosopher William James in his 68-page treatise simply entitled ‘Habit’.

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