Filipino sailors

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pages: 402 words: 98,760

Deep Sea and Foreign Going by Rose George

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Admiral Zheng, air freight, Albert Einstein, bank run, cable laying ship, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Costa Concordia, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Filipino sailors, global supply chain, Google Earth, intermodal, London Whale, Malacca Straits, Panamax, pattern recognition, profit maximization, Skype, trade route, UNCLOS, UNCLOS, urban planning

I unearth the unused backgammon set in the officers’ saloon and begin to play Marius daily, with him maintaining throughout a deliberately destabilizing commentary that conveys his level of fatigue better than an academic survey could: not too tired, extremely irritating. Exhausted, he is tolerable. The Filipinos play computer games and sing. It is common to climb the accommodation house stairs to the faint caterwauling of a Journey song in a Tagalog accent. Perhaps other entertainment happens behind cabin doors too: in a paper entitled ‘The Filipino Seafarer: A Life between Sacrifice and Shopping’, the Norwegian academic Gunnar Lamvik revealed the alarming practice among Filipino seafarers of slicing open their penis with a razor and implanting ball-bearings or coffee beans. The implants are called bolitas, and the logic behind their use is flexible. Either they keep wives from straying by enhancing their sexual pleasure, or they are useful for attracting Brazilian prostitutes. This ‘secret weapon of the Filipinos’, wrote Lamvik, has something to do with the fact that ‘the Filipinos are so small, and the Brazilian women are so big’.

There are only 20 men and one woman – Pinky the cook – employed on Kendal, a fact that would baffle anyone working on a military ship, where thousands can live. I’m surprised to find a woman on board when only two per cent of seafarers are female, but I’m glad to see her too. The officers’ nationalities are mixed, but the crew – non-officers – are all Filipino. This is to be expected: Filipinos make up more than a third of all crews worldwide. A quarter of a million of them are at sea. They are popular, a Filipino seafarer once told me, because ‘we are cheap and speak good English’. They are the new Malays, who were the new lascars – Asian seafarers widely employed up until the Second World War – and they will probably be replaced by the next wave of cheaper English-speaking crews. Introductions: the bo’sun is Elvis. A marine factory foreman, he rules the realm of manual labour in which all the crew work. Beneath him is Julius Jefferson, a muscled able seaman (AB) named after the US President, Ordinary Seaman Dilbert, an electrician named Pedro, and Denis the painter, whose job is to chip rust, then paint, chip rust, then paint.

Sometimes seafarers give him fistfuls of dollars and send him off to shop for them. The faith is two-way. His is a ministry of small gestures with great impact. A SIM card, a battery, a gift for a man who has spent yet another Christmas at sea. At Christmas, Immingham’s centre delivers 1300 shoeboxes of donated gifts to seafarers. In mid-January there are boxes still left over from the Christmas deliveries, so Colum approaches a group of Filipino seafarers sitting near the fountain. The fountain has toy penguins perched on its edge. They were in the Christmas crib, says Colum, as if that is normal. He asks who was at sea for Christmas, then gives a box to a seafarer named Jude, who seems pleased. He has time to talk, and as is usual with seafarers, big things arrive quickly into the conversation, so that Jude tells us he has yet to meet his youngest son, Elijah, born four months ago.


pages: 399 words: 120,226

Dangerous Waters: Modern Piracy and Terror on the High Seas by John S. Burnett

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British Empire, cable laying ship, Dava Sobel, defense in depth, Exxon Valdez, Filipino sailors, illegal immigration, Khyber Pass, Malacca Straits, North Sea oil, South China Sea, transcontinental railway, UNCLOS, UNCLOS

Brian Orrell, NUMAST General Secretary, claimed that often “captains are a convenient target in the absence of owners, operators, or charterers who can hide behind brass-plate companies many thousands of miles from their own countries.” The Prestige was owned in Greece through Liberia, registered in the Bahamas, classed in the United States, chartered by a Swiss-based Russian company with offices in London, crewed by Greek and Filipino seafarers, sailing from Latvia to Singapore, sank off Spain, and also polluted beaches in France. NUMAST Telegraph, December 2002. 13 The complete report can be found at the State of Alaska’s website: http://www.oilspill.state.ak 14 Following 9-11, the International Maritime Organization recommended that ship operators appoint a ship security officer who would assess the potential threat in ports, terminals, and sea areas on ship’s voyages.


pages: 270 words: 81,311

In the Devil's Garden: A Sinful History of Forbidden Food by Stewart Lee Allen

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anti-communist, British Empire, clean water, East Village, European colonialism, Filipino sailors, Golden Gate Park, haute cuisine, trade route

It started one day in August when some cops found five headless dogs lying in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. As the officers stood puzzling over the situation (now if I were a dog, where would I hide my head?), they noticed a number of Asians armed with bows and arrows wandering about. The dogs, it seemed, belonged to the Laotians in the gustatory sense. The incident appeared in the papers, and overnight Californians realized that a tribe of quasi-cannibals had invaded their state. Filipino sailors were accused of sneaking into suburbs for nocturnal dog hunts. A lady in Sacramento discovered her children’s favorite pooch hanging by its tail at a neighborhood barbecue, skinned, flayed, and waiting for the kiss of the smoking grill. A San Francisco man found his spaniel in a Chinese neighbor’s garage under suspicious circumstances. A law protecting pets was immediately proposed. Politicians fumed, immigrant groups rationalized, and a brown-and-white springer spaniel named Ringo appeared before the California Assembly wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “I’m for Loving NOT for EATING!”


pages: 473 words: 154,182

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn

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carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Exxon Valdez, Filipino sailors, Google Earth, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, intermodal, Isaac Newton, means of production, microbiome, Panamax, post-Panamax, profit motive, Skype, statistical model, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman

Wolfgang Rosenthal, a scientist at the European Space Agency, which studies sea conditions via satellite, estimates that two “large ships” sink every week on average. Most of these, he says, “simply get put down to ‘bad weather.’ ” “The shipping industry is decades behind the airline industry” in its management of risk, says Geoffrey Gill, the maritime attorney I’d spoken with. Why? “Because there are no passengers, and because most merchant mariners these days are Filipino. A lot of people don’t seem to care if twenty-five Filipino sailors drown.” And drown they do. How many, exactly? Nobody knows for sure, but the number of accidental seafaring fatalities appears to exceed one thousand lives per year, and the number-one cause of death is believed to be drowning. Maritime losses—of cargo, vessels, digits, limbs, life—are enough to fill a few pages of the Lloyd’s List weekly Casualty Report. There are accounts of collisions, of fires, of piracy.


pages: 1,020 words: 339,564

The confusion by Neal Stephenson

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correlation does not imply causation, dark matter, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, out of africa, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, spice trade, urban planning, web of trust

The Tsar, having settled that much, brushed past the Doctor on his way to greet George Louis. Book 4 Bonanza Japan MAY 1700 DAPPA EXCHANGED MALABAR-WORDS with three black sailors who had just hauled in the sounding-lead, then turned toward the poop deck and gave van Hoek a certain look. The captain stretched out a mangled hand towards the bow, then let it fall. A pair of Filipino sailors swung mauls, dislodging a pair of chocks, and the head of the ship pitched upward slightly as it was relieved of the weight of the anchors. Their chains rumbled through hawse-holes for a moment, making a sound like Leviathan clearing its throat. Then chains gave way to soft cables of manila that slithered and hissed across the deck for quite a few moments, gathering force, until everyone abovedecks began to doubt if the Malabari sailors with the sounding-lead had really gotten it right.

Yours affectionately, Leibniz Book 4 Bonanza The Pacific Ocean LATE 1700 AND EARLY 1701 Such are the Diseases and Terrors of the long Calms, where the Sea stagnates and corrupts for Want of Motion; and by the Strength of the Scorching Sun stinks and poisons the distrest Mariners, who are rendered unactive, and disabled by Scurvies, raging and mad with Calentures and Fevers, and drop into Death in such a Manner, that at last the Living are lost, for Want of the Dead, that is, for want of Hands to work the Ship. —DANIEL DEFOE, A Plan of the English Commerce M INERVA DROPPED ANCHOR below the burning mountain of Griga in the Marian Islands on the fifth of September. The next day the Shaftoe boys and a squad of Filipino sailors went ashore and ascended to the rim of a secondary cinder-cone on the western slope of the mountain proper. They established a watch-post there, within sight of Minerva. For two days they flew a single flag, which meant We are here, and still alive. The next day it was two flags, which meant We have seen sails coming out of the west, and the day after that it was three, meaning It is the Manila Galleon.


pages: 945 words: 292,893

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

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clean water, Colonization of Mars, Danny Hillis, double helix, epigenetics, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Filipino sailors, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, kremlinology, Kuiper Belt, microbiome, phenotype, Potemkin village, pre–internet, random walk, remote working, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, statistical model, Stewart Brand, supervolcano, the scientific method, Tunguska event, zero day, éminence grise

But by the same token she hoped it would seem impressive to the new arrivals, who showed up right on time for their appointment. They had arrived several hours ago on a passenger capsule launched from Cape Canaveral: long enough for their antinausea meds to kick in and for them to pull themselves together a little bit. It was a small contingent from the Philippines: a scientist who had been working on genetically modified strains of rice, a sociologist who had been working with Filipino sailors who spent their whole lives on cargo freighters—she’d be working with Luisa, presumably—and a pair of Arkies who, judging from looks, were from ethnic groups as different as Icelanders were from Sicilians. One of them was carrying the inevitable beer cooler. As Moira knew perfectly well—for she did this at least once a day—it contained sperm, ova, and embryos collected from donors scattered around the country of origin—in this case, the Philippines.