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 refer to those who work on board merchant vessels:

seafarer
seaman
sailor
mariner
tar
Jack tar
sea dog
water dog
navigator
salt
old salt
mate
boatswain
deckhand
lascar
shellback
hearty

The Spanish language has several words as well for seaman or seafarer:

marinero
marino
tripulante
navegante
hombre de mar
lobo de mar

Invisible seafarers? It’s fake news, a myth. The men and women who toil at sea are invisible only to maritime bureaucrats and executives who sit in airconditioned officers, attend conferences and whip up new training requirements for ship crews. Sometimes they are not even called “seafarers” but “the human element”. For some reason, the phrase is music to the ears at IMO London.

~Barista Uno

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