I’m happy to announce that we’re soon bringing back a feature that had been a mainstay of the magazine for many years, plus we’re also adding a brand-new column to our pages.
Starting with the April issue, we plan to have a vessel feature in each issue of Pacific Maritime, focusing on a new or newly updated marine craft in the maritime operations sector.
Writing most of the profiles will be a newcomer to the magazine, Seattle area-based writer Norris Comer. Norris, who regularly contributes to Pacific Northwest-based and national magazines on a variety of topics, is a sometimes-mariner whose debut book, a memoir titled Salmon in the Seine: Alaskan Memories of Life, Death, and Everything In-Between, will be released in March.
For his first Pacific Maritime article, Norris will profile Athena, one of Crowley Maritime’s newest chartered ship assist tugs.
Also, we’re launching a column by Capt. Mike Anderson, the regional director of the Inland Boatman’s Union (IBU) in Hawaii.
In his new monthly column, Cap’n Mike will write about various maritime workplace issues. His first piece, he’ll provide an overview of the job market in the marine towing/general commercial industry, plus elaborate on the need for up-and-coming qualified personnel.
He also plans to touch on how it can be daunting to someone who is not versed in the industry on where to start and how to become “employable” as a commercial mariner.
Welcome aboard, Norris and Mike! We’re glad and grateful that you’ve agreed to become part of the Maritime Publishing family.
These are some very interesting times we’re living in.
In another sign that COVID has turned the world upside down, there are now reports that some of the lowest-paying jobs in the maritime industry are suddenly becoming some of the better compensated jobs in the maritime industry.
“Several of the world’s largest shipping lines, worried they will be unable to recruit and retain workers, have begun offering unprecedented incentives for a job known for notoriously bad working conditions and low pay,” according to a story by tech reporter Nicolas Rivero, published Jan. 25 on the global business news and insights website Quartz.
“To dissuade seafarers from leaving their jobs, global shipping lines are doling out massive bonuses that will effectively triple or quadruple some workers’ salaries for the year in hopes of retaining workers to staff many of the ships they’ve bought or ordered during the pandemic,” the article states.
Rivero goes into detail about how since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, working conditions for seafarers have progressively gotten worse.
“(D)uring the pandemic, seafarers who do everything from equipment maintenance to navigation have struggled to get access to vaccines and have been barred from disembarking at many of the world’s ports. As a result, some workers have spent more than a year at sea without a reprieve,” he wrote.
This, of course, has led to a sharp drop in job satisfaction among seafarers.
And in response to the problem, shipping lines across the world—from CMA CGM in France to HHM in South Korea, to multiple corporations across Asia—have begun offering workers and potential workers huge one-time work bonuses, with the incentives paid for by record-breaking profits received due to the massive increase in goods shipping across the world, specifically to the West Coast of North America, caused by the pandemic.
One example cited in the article is Taiwanese shipping line Wan Hai, which raised its annual bonuses to total a full year’s wages plus $36,079 USD.
The full Quartz article is an interesting, highly recommended read. It can be seen by going to qz.com and typing ‘bonuses’ in the search bar.
Managing Editor Mark Nero can be reached at email@example.com