Wherefore the Day of the Seafarer?
Posted on Tuesday 24th June 2014

WinslowHomer-Eight_Bells_1886
Eight Bells, oil on canvass by Winslow Homer, 1886

It’s been our custom to write about the Day of the Seafarer, which is every 25th of June. How could we not? Is it possible to ignore the chorus led by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) as they sing paeans to the world’s mariners? And yet, we have never really joined in the celebrations. The slogans and speeches just sound too hollow to our ears. This year, we find it more difficult to celebrate for two reasons.
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Anger and despair over officer training
Posted on Monday 16th June 2014

man_despair_problem

We wonder if any ship officer who’s still sailing has gladly welcomed the ever-increasing training requirements introduced in the name of maritime safety. Certainly not Jill Friedman of Houston, Texas. A holder of unlimited master, 1600/3000 master and DPO unlimited licences, Captain Friedman recently kvetched over having to re-take the Basic Safety Training (BST) course in her feisty and engaging blog, Capt Jills Journeys.
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Merseyside maritime rocking & rolling
Posted on Friday 13th June 2014

Liverpool_Beatles

The Beatles are no more but Liverpool, the birthplace of the English rock band, is still rocking and rolling as a hub of maritime activity. That point was highlighted this week as Merseyside’s maritime sector welcomed visitors to the Maritime, Logistics & Energy segment of the two-week International Festival for Business. The City of Liverpool is one of five boroughs comprising the metropolitan county of Merseyside in North West England.
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Fathoming the pain of piracy victims
Posted on Wednesday 11th June 2014

PicassoGuernica

On 7th June the remaining 11 crew of the MV Albedo finally tasted freedom after being held captive for 1,288 days by Somali pirates. No doubt, they’ll be sought out by journalists for interviews. An enteprising author might even write a book about their ordeal. But who, except the victims themselves, can ever fathom the pain and anguish they suffered and give justice to their story?
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Boat shoes in a non-boating society
Posted on Sunday 8th June 2014

sperry_boat_shoes

We will never in this lifetime own a boat. We simply don’t have the werewithal to buy one. But yesterday, the 7th of June, we got the next best thing: a pair of new Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes (pictured above). A gift from our beloved daughter, they are the handsomest casual shoes we’ve ever owned – well crafted, with soft leather and non-slip soles. It’s not only the aesthetics and the workmanship but the story behind these shoes that fascinate us.
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Sea captains: espresso versus decaf
Posted on Thursday 5th June 2014

captains_and_coffee

We’ve met or personally known quite a number of sea captains. Some have hugely impressed us; others, hardly. The latter includes what one could call “decaf captains” or simply “decafs” – those who hold a master’s licence but lack experience as a shipmaster or who never had command of a vessel. These terms seem more precise than “paper captains,” some of whom have enough style to make up for a lack of substance. They sound more elegant in Spanish: capitanes descafeinados.
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No EU deadline on Filipino STCW reforms
Posted on Wednesday 4th June 2014

EUdeadline_phils

The European Maritime Safety Agency’s (EMSA) inspection visit to the Philippines scheduled for October may or may not be the last. Maritime Industry Authority head Maximo Mejia Jr confirmed during our recent interview that, unlike in 2013, they haven’t been told that the forthcoming audit would be final. No deadline has been given either.
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5 maverick maritime phrases for the times
Posted on Tuesday 3rd June 2014

typewriter_old_retro

This blog has been running for almost five years now. Over the course of time, we’ve had to resort occasionally to inventing new terms or expressions in the discussion of certain maritime issues. No, it was not out of whim. We were at a loss for words to convey exactly what we thought and felt. Necessity forced us to use our imagination. Here are five examples.
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Max Mejia’s road to maritime reform
Posted on Friday 30th May 2014

maximo_mejia_jr

A year after he was appointed as head of the Philippines’ Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), we got to meet Maximo (“Max”) Mejia Jr for the first time last 20th May. The man is no ordinary bureaucrat. He’s a US Naval Academy graduate who had taught graduate studies at the World Maritime University in Malmö, Sweden. And now he is leading the reforms to bring the country into full compliance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW). We were pleased to hear the progress made by Mr Mejia especially on two fronts.
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An early homage to old sea dogs
Posted on Sunday 25th May 2014

old_seadog_captain

It’s still a full month before the Day of the Seafarer (25th of June), but we decided to celebrate it today, 25th of May, and not wait for the usual din of slogans and speeches. We’d like to honour in particular the viejos lobos de mar, the old sea dogs, by sharing “Cool Change” – a hit song by the Australian rock group, Little River Band, released in 1979. Listen carefully to the lyrics as sang in 2007 by Glenn Shorrock, the band’s lead singer, and be moved.
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A cat’s view of Manila’s manning sector
Posted on Wednesday 21st May 2014

frankie_the_philosopher_cat

Readers may recall the first time we featured Frankie the Philosopher Cat. Recently one morning, he asked if he could go out for some fresh air and have a look-see at the world of Philippine manning. It’s been singeing hot inside our house, so we consented. Besides, Frankie is a homebody. A stroll around would be good for him. He came home in the late afternoon and did he have some things to share!
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Critical role of maritime pilots in focus
Posted on Wednesday 14th May 2014

Pilot_Brindisi_Harbour

We’re glad to see the importance of maritime pilots underlined in two videos from TRAININGLink (a member of the KVH Media Group) and Maritime Training Services (MTS). Pilots do their work quietly, away from the public eye. When they retire, they just fade away – unsung and perhaps even completely forgotten, like an uncle of ours who had served as harbour pilot for many years in the Port of Cagayan in northern Mindanao. Yet, what would shipping be without pilots?
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