crocodileIf there’s an Air Pollution Index, a Corruption Perception Index and a Poverty Gap Index, why not a Greed Index? It is, after all, human greed that fuels the despoilation of the environment, drives government officials to steal and increases the divide between the haves and the have-nots. The phenomenon may not be as easy to quantify, but it is nonetheless palpable. One must either be blind or apathetic not to notice it in the actions of individuals and corporations – not least of all, in the maritime arena.

We see greed at play in the tragedy of 22-year-old engineer cadet Dayra Wood, whose body was kept inside the ship’s refrigerator as the vessel was allowed to sail on for two weeks. We see it in ship captains who pocket the food budget for the crew; manning agencies who short-change seafarers in the conversion of their dollars; and state inspectors who demand money from maritime schools and training centres. In Manila, greed can also take the form of a constant hunger for recognition as evident in the tendency to talk too much or cling to the presidency of some maritime association. Don’t these folks ever get tired?

Thankfully, there is also kindness and generosity. Altruism by the seafarers’ charities continues to thrive in cities like London and Hong Kong. Even in the Philippine capital, some individuals are doing admirable work on behalf of seafarers and their families – like Marissa Oca of the Gig and the Amazing Sampaguita Foundation Inc (GASFI). A Maritime Kindness Index to complement the Maritime Greed Index, a dual gauge for the two sides of shipping. Why not? ~Barista Uno

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