Category Archives: shipping conditions

BBC 3 Free Thinking interview with Matthew Sweet

Matthew Sweet of BBC Free Thinking was a brilliant reader of the book, having read closely and with an eye for fetching detail. We talked for about half an hour, and the interview can be heard here (my part of … Continue reading

Posted in capital accumulation, empire, imperialism & colonialism, environment, free ports/zones, infrastructure, labour, Middle East, political economy, ports, shipping conditions, transport, Travels, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recent lecture: Tankers and Tycoons

Here is a link to a talk I have given a few times, most recently at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. It is a talk I am hoping to turn into an article, but which requires a bit more … Continue reading

Posted in imperialism & colonialism, labour, logistics, Middle East, oil, political economy, shipping conditions, ships, transport, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The unbearable deaths of thousands in the deep

And yet these unbearable deaths are borne by those who turn away.  As I am left mute with horror, I shall post these poems which I think speak to the deaths of so many in this watery graveyard: from Salt By … Continue reading

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Somali Piracy

This really is the best journalism about Somali piracy I have read.  It is immensely sympathetic to the ordinary crewmen, many often belonging to the global South, who are the victims of the piracy.  But it also shows the extent to … Continue reading

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Fouq El-Nakhl: Masaculinities aboard the ship

“and in everything imposingly beautiful, strength has much to do with the magic.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick   The first incident of its kind happened last night.  Hopefully, also the last.  I was in the wheelroom in the dark, keeping easy … Continue reading

Posted in infrastructure, labour, Middle East, political economy, ports, seafaring, shipping conditions, transport | 1 Comment

A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes: The factory at sea

9 February 2015 20.00 “Going forward and glancing over the weather bow, [… the] prospect was unlimited, but exceedingly monotonous and forbidding; not the slightest variety that I could see.” Herman Melville, Moby Dick For the next few days, we … Continue reading

Posted in Allan Sekula, capital accumulation, labour, literature, Melville, Middle East, political economy, readings, seafaring, shipping conditions, transport, Travels | Leave a comment

Grace: Departing Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk-Jabal Ali:  At last at sea 5 February 2015 11.00 Occasionally in the night, the ship bumps against the berth and that is when one remembers that one is not on solid ground. I can’t wait for our ship to … Continue reading

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Es Mejor Vivir Asir: Still in Marsaxlokk

Marsaxlokk-Jabal Ali; First impressions 4 February 2015; 10.00 Malta time After what seemed like an interminable wait for the transport to take us (myself and three Croatian officers) from the hotel to the port, I am onboard the ship.  I … Continue reading

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Stand-Up Beer Hall

Stand-Up Beer Hall Walter Benjamin Sailors seldom come ashore ; service on the high seas is a holiday by comparison with the labour in harbours, where loading and unloading must often be done day and night. When a gang is then given a … Continue reading

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Ghost ships

In the last two weeks, two ships filled to the brim with hundreds of Syrian refugees have been brought in to Italian ports.  The ships seem to have left Eastern Mediterranean, and sailed parallel to the Turkish coast, picking up … Continue reading

Posted in infrastructure, literature, logistics, Middle East, political economy, ports, shipping conditions, transport, war | Leave a comment