Every seafarer should have a personal copy of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). After all, it is the bible of the merchant marine. Seafarers are obliged to meet the STCW's minimum standards on...
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...
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...
This is a new version of an article originally published in Marine Café Blog on 27th February 2015. I have retained much of the original. ~ BU The shipping industry talks incessantly of seafarers’ rights. The maritime unions and charities have made a fetish of it. How...read more
Isn't it sad? Many young men and women are responding, not to the lure of the sea, but to the siren call of the dollar. Surely, there is more to seafaring than just money or the chance to travel the world. A sailor's life can be fulfilling in many ways, but it is also...read more
The following is a true story. It happened many years ago. I am narrating it to throw light on a scam, which, although not as widespread as the theft of millions from the dollar remittances of Filipino seafarers, is nonetheless outrageous. To protect the privacy of...read more
How many sailors and maritime professionals would spare some time to read poems? Not many, I suppose. Poetry won't fill anyone's pocket any more than viewing Ivan Aivazovsky's sublime 1874 painting, Brig Mercury in Moonlight (pictured above), would. But it can do...read more
My article, How to steal millions from seafarers and get away with it, stirred so much interest that I thought I should follow it up with some quotes about stealing. Maritime thievery is not limited to dishonest manning agents. The shipping world is peopled by all...read more
How can one steal from seafarers big time and not be held accountable? In Manila, it is surprisingly easy. Many have been doing it for decades, not secretly but right before the eyes of seafarers and their families. You just have do three things. One, own a manning...read more
The seascapes of Ivan Aivazovsky or J.M.W. Turner, both Romantic painters from the 19th century, are unquestionably beautiful. They captivate and mesmerise the viewer. However, they fail to portray the true beauty and character of the sea, which lie deep under the...read more
The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) has visited what I call the Filipino seafarer factory seven times from 2006 to 2017. Those following the visits must be growing tired by now. Will the inspections go on ad infinitum? When will the European Commission, on...read more
Dear Friends and Followers, Marine Café Blog will turn 10 years old this August. It is one of the most popular maritime blogs around with a broad–based readership. The blog continues to be guided by the belief that the greatest challenge faced by the shippiing world...read more
The sea — this truth must be confessed — has no generosity. No display of manly qualities — courage, hardihood, endurance, faithfulness — has ever been known to touch its irresponsible consciousness of power. Thus wrote the Polish-born author and merchant ship...read more