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Pinoy seafarers top ITF's Life at Sea 2023

Pinoy seafarers top ITF's Life at Sea 2023
Yashika F. Torib October 4, 2023

John Robert Maraño’s ‘12 Degrees’ (left) won first prize, and Mikael Cesar Bureros’ ‘Converging Forces’ was second. PHOTO COURTESY OF ITF
TWO Filipino seafarers topped the Life at Sea 2023 photography competition organized by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) in time for World Maritime Day.

John Robert Maraño's "12 Degrees" won first prize.

At first glance, the photo seemed a clever trick of gravity, but an inclinometer in the background reveals that the ship is pitching 12 degrees.

"Michael Jackson? No. This is me trying his moves while balancing myself as the ship's rolling reaches 12 degrees. This prevents me from getting dizzy with the ship's heavy rolling. This was taken during our drifting in Fremantle, Australia," Maraño said in his caption.

According to Paddy Rodgers, director of Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG), which comprises the National Maritime Museum, among others, "We think of the floor as solid, but seafarers will tell you that aboard a ship, the floor is very movable. The pendulum in the background of the image shows the swing of the ship, that it's not a trick, that the photographer is doing something quite clever with the angle of the camera."

Maraño's photo underscores the complex working environment of seafarers, which is constantly rolling beyond their control.

Maraño won 1,000 pounds (P61,850) for his photo.

The second prize went to Mikael Cesar Bureros for his photo "Converging Forces," a dramatic image of a container ship about to be engulfed by a sandstorm blowing out of Egypt.

The photo evokes a feeling of seeing great billowing clouds of sand heading inexorably toward the photographer on board.

"In this captivating clash of land and sea, the seafarer's indomitable spirit shines through, a testament to their unparalleled courage and unwavering determination to conquer nature's most formidable storms," Bureros said in his caption.

Patrice Terraz, a photographic artist currently living and working in Marseille, said, "Looking through the photos, you realize no one but a seafarer could take this photo; so many of the photos put you immediately into the view of the crew."

The third place went to Reza Sajedifar for "Serenity," a colorful view shot over the side of a tanker ship showing a Muslim fisherman at prayer on a small boat alongside.

The ITF's photography contest has opened a window into the real-life experiences of seafarers at sea and highlighted their vital, often unnoticed, role in the global economy.