Together with nautical art and literature, songs of the sea have been conspicuously neglected by the maritime press. But who would be surprised? The maritime establishment, to which journalists kowtow like worshippers in a temple, cares little for such things. It is a...
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...
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...
Readers of Marine Café Blog should be familiar by now with Frankie. He's one smart cat. I used to call him "the Philosopher Cat". However, he requested that I change the appellation to "Sage Cat", since, according to him, a philosopher is not necessarily wise. Frankie...read more
Harmony in blue and silver: Trouville — oil on canvas, 1865, by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834–1903) Nine years after its launch, Marine Café Blog is undergoing a sea change. I have decided to shift its focus to marine art, photography...read more
Filipino mariners risk life and limb whilst working at sea. In the meantime, many crewing agents in Manila merrily help themselves to the dollars they send home every month. These white-collar thieves do not feel guilty in the least. They seem as contented as the...read more
In the profit-crazed world of shipping, who cares about poems of the sea? Not many for sure. Poetry serves no practical purpose, and it won't fill one's pockets. But, as English writer Robert Graves said in his 1963 lecture at the London School of Economics, “If...read more
By Captain Ardeshir Yousefi NOTE: The sea is one vast cemetery, as the above photo of the RMS Titanic wreck from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the US reminds us. More than a century has passed since the sinking of the British passenger...read more
Who would dare criticise the International Maritime Organization (IMO)? It is a leviathan — immense, powerful and rich. To assail its actions, one would have to be as intrepid as Musashi, the legendary Japanese swordsman shown battling a whale in Utagawa Kuniyoshi's...read more
The past is never dead. It's not even past. ~ William Faulkner (from 'Requiem for a Nun') Of late I have been enamoured with maritime photos dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is not only the long gone social milieu they depict that fascinates...read more
The world's ship manning capital has such a unique, albeit impaired, culture that it inspired me to publish my second e-book, 'Close Encounters in Maritime Manila', in April 2018. The following are brief excerpts from the volume. I hope this smattering of quotes will...read more
There must be something strangely sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the sea. ~ Kahlil Gibran (from ‘Sand and Foam’) The sea is perilous and unforgiving. Yet, fisherfolk from generation to generation wrestle with its power to earn a living and feed humanity....read more
Some maritime photos from the turn of the 20th century and earlier decades can be so dull that they make you feel that you're really looking at people and things long departed. They leave you cold. Thankfully, you may stumble on old pictures that are not mere records...read more