“I don’t know how to tell you this… [your brother] passed away this morning.” I had to read the message several times before I processed it. Then my legs stopped holding me up.
There’s never a good time to hear that your brother has died. I’m on a ship, but he was in Australia. My crew can't go home because of COVID. Should I go?
In this time of Covid-19, we need supplies to survive under lockdown. But we've forgotten about the seafarers who transport them.
How to motivate someone to prove you wrong Photo of a professional man looking at paperwork, from LifeofPix The examiner stared at his papers, silently rearranging them, avoiding my eyes. I forced a slow, deep breath, determined not to let him see how tense I was. The clock behind me ticked, meting out the seconds. A... Continue Reading →
Sack of potatoes, by Torstan Detlaff from Pexels “Hey, Johnny, what’s for dinner?” I peered into the galley window. John had a truly enormous lump of frozen mince wedged into the top of a cooking pot and was attempting to pour a sack of muddy potatoes around the sides. “Spuds and mince, good Irish meal,” he... Continue Reading →
I was the newbie on board. While ten years working on square-rigged sailing ships had taught me many things, it hadn’t taught me the finer points of working on a shorthanded coastal cargo ship. Despite that, as I dived out of the way of another lump of falling scrap steel as it crashed down from... Continue Reading →
Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash The staring was starting to become awkward. I glanced down, checking that my clothing was in order: faded orange boilersuit, covered in grease and cargo, and a pair of scuffed steel-capped boots. I reached to my waist and confirmed that I’d remembered to leave my belt knife on board. I... Continue Reading →
Photo by Jakub Skafiriak on Unsplash I stared at the third mate. “Is this a joke? Because it’s Christmas, you know, not April Fool’s Day.” He shrugged. We stared down at the night orders. The first part was reasonable enough: follow the cargo plan, pump ballast when necessary, don’t break the ship in half, don’t blow... Continue Reading →
The captain stared down from the bridge and pulled out his radio. “Aft, bridge: what on earth is going on down there?” I was doing my best not to look at the one Australian and twenty Chinese men standing in the snow, urinating on the aft mooring winch. I pulled a glove off and fumbled... Continue Reading →
Photo by Sarah Noltner on Unsplash I gritted my teeth as the company training officer showed yet another “funny” video, this time about a woman who removed the lock-out from an electric breaker so that the could use her hairdryer, and the electrician was electrocuted. My company had sent this person on board to run a... Continue Reading →