The years I’ve spent as an international maritime journalist and subsequently as a blogger have taught me many things. The world of shipping is beautiful, and there is no shortage of decent, respectable maritime folks. But this world that we all love has its bad side, which some do not see or try not to see. The truth hurts, as the saying goes.

1. Most seafarers from developing countries hesitate to stand up for their rights, much less protest openly about abuses, for fear of repercussions.

2. Maritime charities make heavy use of social media, but they do not engage with others who also advocate the rights and welfare of seafarers. They seem hopelessly enclosed in their own little worlds.

3. Many maritime professionals hanker for recognition. They are quick to post online photos of themselves receiving an award or even a simple certificate.

4. Cut-and-paste maritime journalism is widespread. Rarely does one read an article that is original and offers a fresh perspective on what is happening.

5. Power tends to intoxicate maritime union officials. Some are overweening and hypersensitive to criticism.

6. The International Maritime Organization has done absolutely nothing to make life easier for seafarers.

7. Maritime bureaucrats are just cogs in the wheel, but many act like they were the wheel.

~ Barista Uno

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