Completed Theses

 

The Occupational Socialisation of Merchant Cadets in the Philippines - Abila, S

Seafarers and Growing Environmental Concerns: risk, trust, regulation, and workplace culture and practice – Abou-Elkawam, M

Filipino Seafarers and Transnationalism - Acejo, I

Global Environmental Regulation and Workers in the Shipping Industry - Akamangwa, N

New Technologies, work, skills and identity: the case of maritime industry - Anand, N

The Impact of the ISM Code on the Management of Occupational Health and Safety in the Maritime Industry - Bhattacharya, S

Indian seafarers' experiences of ill-treatment onboard ships - Dutt, M

Navigating Lives: The Spatiotemporality of the Gender Identity and Subjectivity of Filipino Seamen's Wives - Galam, R

Globalisation, state strategies and the shipping labour market: the UK response to declining seafaring skills - Gekara, V

Accidents at Sea: The Social Construction of Marine Accident Investigation Reports (posthumous award) - Ghanem, M

An Ethnographic Exploration of Ship-Shore Communication - Kataria, A

Women Seafarers and their Identities - Kitada, M

Understanding the Seafarer Global Labour Market in the Context of a Seafarer 'Shortage' - Leong, P

Values and beliefs: Chinese seafarers in an age of transition - Li, L

Filipino seafarers on-board cruise ships: Shared viewpoints on working lives - Llangco, M 

Navigating the Seas, Negotiating the Sex: exploring risky sexual behaviours and relationships of seafarers - Lucero-Prisno, E

Labour supply arrangements in the Philippine seafaring industry - Pia, J 

Seafarers' claims for compensation following workplace injuries and death in China - Shan, D

Coping with Separation: Chinese Seafarer-Partners in Cyberspace - Tang, L

"Bugabug ang Dagat": Local Life in a Fishing Community in the Philippines - Turgo, N

Communication and its role in influencing shipboard occupational health and safety management in Chinese shipping - Xue, C

Romance of the Three Unions: A Comparative Study of the Identity Discourses of Three Indian Maritime Trade Unions - Yang, P

The human resource strategies of Chinese state crewing agencies with special reference to labour export and the experience of Chinese seafarers - Zhao, Z

 

Sanley Abila

Thesis Title:  The occupational socialisation of merchant cadets in the Philippines

Abstract:

This thesis explores the occupational socialisation of Filipino merchant marine officer cadets through their experiences of maritime education and training (MET). The socialisation of the cadets is contextualised within the broad aim of the global and national regulations of MET to develop competent seafarers. In the international seafaring labour market, there is an increasing trend of labour participation of seafarers coming from the ‘new labour supplying countries’ (NLSCs). The Philippines is seen by industry insiders to be one of the top NLSCs for officers. However, the academic literature is silent about the experiences of officer cadets of their education and training especially those coming from NLSCs. Using multi-modal data collection tools such as in-depth interviews, field notes and document analysis, this qualitative study examines the experiences of the current and former cadets under the sponsored cadetship programs (SCPs) in the Philippines in order to analyse first-hand experiences of MET. The key findings of this thesis are: (a) SCPs are officer training platforms developed mainly by shipping companies to meet their sea-based labour needs and intended to comply with the Philippine standards of MET; (b) there are a variety of SCPs from which four models are described in this study; (c) SCPs utilise a ritualistic socialisation of cadets in college campus as key mechanism of training; and (d) there is a diversity of shipboard training experiences of cadets ranging from well-planned training programs to the complete absence of programs. The thesis concludes the following: (a) the quality of training experienced by the cadets is characterised as a highly regulated and reinforced professionalization process intent on producing certificated officers; (b) the SCPs are routes for migrant work for mainly male Filipinos being guaranteed a post-collegiate sea-based employment by their shipping patrons; (c) the socialisation of the cadets is influenced by processes of globalisation embodied in the global standards of MET enforced locally, and the role of international shipping companies in funding the recruitment and training of cadets as well as offering them post-training employment; and (d) in spite of global and local standards of MET, there is no common or shared understanding of the notion of seafaring competence among the trainers, which have affected the way competencies were taught and assessed.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top


Mohab Abou-Elkawam

Thesis TitleSeafarers and growing environmental concerns: risk, trust, regulation, and workplace culture and practice

Abstract: 

This research study offers a contribution to the field of framing environmental policies in several ways. First, it makes explicit the ways in which a nomadic professional group such as seafarers frame and interact with the growing demand to protect the environment in general and the marine environment in particular. Due to the nature of their profession, this group is able to roam the world and compare the effectiveness of environmental regulations in various countries. The shipping industry is composed of different types of shipping companies, some of which can be described as more environmentally aware than others, an issue which would affect the frames of seafarers regarding compliance to environmental regulations as discussed in this study. Moreover, this research opens up a social qualitative inquiry in areas scarcely attended to by previous scholars especially when focusing on the relationships and tensions between seafarers and their personal and professional commitments to their global work place; the marine environment. This study argues that such differences not only impact on the social construction of seafarers regarding environmental protection but also affects their framing of daily compliance practices as well. This allows us to review the institutional and instrumental policies carried out by different ship owners in different parts of the world and verify how this impacts on the compliance practices of this professional group in the context of a demanding and challenging regulatory environment.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Iris Acejo

Thesis Title:  Filipino seafarers and transnationalism

Abstract: 

The study explores Filipino seafarers’ integration and cross-border practices using a transnational paradigm. As seafarers’ lives span the ship and the shore, a transnational framework entails looking at whether belongingness is manifested simultaneously and the extent to which this can be possible. The study’s multi-sited approach considers both the everyday realities in the community and on board the ship including the transnational linkages they maintain and deploy to remain part of both realms. The analyses show that seafarers’ repeated reincorporation and conformity in the community reflects how belongingness is largely constituted as aspirational at home. Integration on board, largely work-oriented and subject to a racialised hierarchy, favours less the social aspect of integration. The limited involvement in both contexts mutually reflects fringe belonging. Under conditions of high mobility, cross-border practices are constrained inasmuch as they are facilitated through access to communication technologies. The ties of reciprocity under extensive kin relations similarly accentuate the strain affecting connection at home. Such conflicting outcomes undermine the connectivity and continuity of social relations that is purportedly enhanced by linking across borders. Such ties are nonetheless employed as a strategy of counteracting labour insecurities despite the burden arising from such tenuous links. This thesis concludes that seafarers evince a form of transactional transnationalism such that they inhabit both worlds only if on board.

Click here to view full thesis. 

Back to top


Ngwatung Akamangwa

Thesis Title: Global Environmental Regulation and Workers in the Shipping Industry

Abstract:

This thesis explores the practice of complying with environmental regulations in the global shipping industry and examines the impact on workers. Using a case study example of a large and reputable ship management company, I discuss the understandings that onshore and sea-going staff at the company have of policies and practices in relation to environmental protection. The case study approach used here involves ethnographic fieldwork aboard two container ships and at the company premises. Three research techniques are employed: semi-structured interviews, observations and documentary analysis. Specifically, and based on the operation of five key components of the company’s environmental programmes on board the ship: garbage; sewage; ballast water; oily wastes; and atmospheric emissions, the research examines seafarers’ practices of implementing the programmes and whether ship staff and their shore-based managers perceive the practices as damaging. Two significant findings emerge: that while environmental compliance has increased the workload on board, ship staff do not consider this change to affect the quality of their work and life on board the ship; and that seafarers are more likely to suffer from stress when complying with environmental regulations but are disinclined to worry about the potential for occupational exposures. The study also found a correlation in the understandings of both managers and seafarers at the company about the relevance of environmental requirements in general and of the company environmental management system in particular, which played a critical role in terms of how these requirements were operationalized aboard the ship. This study contributes to current understandings of the practice and impact of corporate compliance with environmental regulations.


Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 Nippin Anand

Thesis Title: New Technologies, work, skills and identity: the case of maritime industry

Abstract: 

This thesis is an empirical investigation of the implications of new technologies for work, skills and identity of workers in the maritime sector. The research question is focused on how employers and seafarers understand the changing nature of work and skills as a result of technological advances. This question will be answered within the wider context of global competition and the competitive reasons to promote new technologies in workplaces. The methods of data collection involve qualitative interviews with shipping company managers, training staff and seafarers. The findings reveal a significant mismatch between the competitive reasons to implement new technologies and its (un)intended consequences on the professional identity of workers. More specifically, the thesis highlights the tensions between management strategies aimed at profit maximization, cost control and safety concerns and the myriad perceptions of workers based on their understanding of the seafaring profession. The thesis provides a fresh perspective of the existing theories of technology in the context of global competition.

Click here to view full thesis.  

Back to top

Syamantak Bhattacharya

Thesis Title: The impact of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code on the management of occupational health and safety in the maritime industry

Abstract:

This thesis investigates the impact of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code on the management of occupational health and safety in the global maritime industry. The Code - which introduced regulated self-regulation to the industry in 1998 - is seen as a major instrument to safeguard seafarers from workplace hazards and a mechanism to counter the consequence of economic globalisation on the regulation in the maritime industry. However, its effectiveness has been widely debated. A case study approach is used in this study to examine the operation of the Code in two shipping organisations involving ethnographic fieldwork onboard ships and at company offices using semi-structured interview, observation and documentary analysis as the research techniques. The study specifically looked into the factors that influenced the perceptions of the managers and seafarers on the operation of three central elements of the ISM Code: risk assessment, incident reporting and audit and review. My findings showed significant differences in the experiences of operation of the Code of the managers and seafarers in the organisations studied and revealed that although the two organisations implemented the ISM Code in theory there was a considerable gap between its purpose and what it achieved in practice. Significantly it indicated that seafarers' fear of job security, low-trust work environment and lack of organisational support were some of the main impeding factors for seafarers' participation in the management of occupational health and safety. Further analysis revealed that the organisational context and the employment relations affecting seafarers, as well as their social relations onboard ships and between the managers and seafarers in the companies studied were not conducive to a participatory style of management of occupational health and safety. The thesis argues that to be effective self-regulation of occupational health and safety management - such as envisaged by the ISM Code - requires a participatory approach. However, the thesis demonstrates that the preconditions that have been shown to be necessary to achieve this in land-based workplaces are much reduced or absent from the maritime situation which undermines the potential for the effective operation of the ISM Code.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Manasi Dutt

Thesis Title: Indian seafarers' experiences of ill-treatment onboard ships

Abstract

This thesis investigates seafarers’ experiences of ill-treatment onboard ships. A sociological approach to ill-treatment is adopted, with a focus on characteristics of the work environment onboard which affect seafarers’ experiences of and responses to ill-treatment. A qualitative approach was employed to understand seafarers’ perceptions of ill-treatment. Semi-structured interviews based on the Negative Acts Questionnaire were conducted with seafarers and managerial personnel from one multinational and one Indian company. The seafarers were drawn from all ranks. Thematic analysis of the data revealed that seafarers’ perceptions, experiences and responses to ill-treatment were heavily influenced by characteristics of the work environment, including industry and company norms such as short-term contracts, the hierarchy, onboard, distance management and HR policies and training. Seafarers encountering ill-treatment can choose to exit their situation, raise their voice or remain silent. The findings showed that while support structures such as grievance procedures and union membership existed for seafarers experiencing ill-treatment, the majority of seafarers chose to remain silent because of complex interactions between a variety of workplace features. Fears included job insecurity, concern for career advancement, fear of blacklisting and personal financial concerns. Those seafarers that did choose to escape their situations found that there could be repercussions on their finances and their career ambitions, or that exercising their voice resulted in a reshuffle of seafarers but nothing of import changed. The professional socialisation process and culture onboard the ship are very important in influencing seafarers’ perceptions of ill-treatment, and play a role in the occurrence of preventative behaviour and use of coping mechanisms. In addition, the industry norms of short-term contracts, the purported manning crisis and a race to the bottom mentality force seafarers to be highly insecure in their jobs and encourage them to accept their situation until they can escape it.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Roderick Galam

Thesis TitleNavigating Lives: The Spatiotemporality of the Gender Identity and Subjectivity of Filipino Seamen's Wives

Abstract: 

This thesis looks at international labour migration from the point of view of those who are left behind‘. It focuses on the experiences of Filipino women married to Filipino seamen and specifically examines the spatiality and temporality of their gender identity, agency and subjectivity. Through the concept of social imaginary, it reconceptualises the role of these women in migration and considers them to play a more active role in migration processes than is suggested by the label 'left behind'. How the women were constrained by and creatively responded to their material and social relations not least those obtaining in the alternating absence and presence of their husbands is approached from a generative theory of subject formation. The spatiotemporality of these women‘s gender identity, subjectivity and agency is elaborated through critical analyses of aspects of their experiences and lives: on being on their own‘, routine and the temporal organization of family life, imagined communion‘ and intimacy, and autonomy. These analyses show the embeddedness of the women in material and social contexts including ties of reciprocity and indebtedness. They demonstrate the mutual implication of space and time, show their navigation of the spatial and temporal dimensions of their lives, as well as link the women‘s subjective and personal experiences to wider social and political narratives. The thesis concludes with a synthesis of and further reflection on the implications of the main arguments of the study. This includes a discussion of some specific strategies employed by the women to negotiate their spatiotemporal locations: waiting game‘, mental choreography‘ and gender negotiation‘. Finally, it reflects on the study‘s theoretical, empirical, methodological and policy contributions.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top


Victor Oyaro Gekara

Thesis Title: Globalisation, state strategies and the shipping labour market: the UK response to declining seafaring skills

Abstract:

The acceleration of economic globalisation, over the past few decades, has put the role of the state, as an important actor in the management of the global economy, in the spotlight. The question that continues to dominate the globalisation debate is whether or not individual states, operating within a neoliberal paradigm, are in a position to effectively regulate the economic activities of powerful multinational capital, manage domestic economies and protect labour. The main aim of this thesis is to assess how effectively nation states can respond to globalisation and mitigate negative impacts such as the decline of domestic industries and local labour markets while maximising the benefits. Shipping is one of the most globalised industries and one where capital is highly mobile. The challenges facing nation states in their attempt to manage domestic economies and protect local industries are therefore well illustrated in the relationship between the state and multinational shipping capital. The UK, along with other Traditional Maritime Nations, has been dramatically affected by the globalisation of the industry. Following a huge decline in the UK's merchant shipping fleet, the UK government has attempted to respond, by way of a tonnage tax. This is primarily a tax incentive to encourage ship-owners to register and operate their ships in the UK. The tonnage tax regime contains within it a training commitment by which the ship-owners undertake to recruit and train UK cadets. An assessment of the performance of the strategy reveals that, whereas it has boosted significant growth in UK registered tonnage, it has achieved little success with regard to increasing the number of qualified junior officers. It is this paradox that comprises the focus of this study. Using interview data collected from key stakeholders in the UK shipping industry the thesis analyses the form and impact of the tonnage tax. The main conclusion is that, having initially committed to the advocacy of the neoliberal agenda and the concept of free capital markets, states are no longer capable of effectively responding to globalisation and the consequent negative impact on domestic economies. Because of the growing influence of corporate capital and the fear of capital flight, the limitations of state policies is especially evident in the British shipping industry in relation to the decline of local seafaring labour.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Aditi Kataria

Abstract: 

Shore based monitoring, communication, coordination and management of vessel traffic in ports worldwide is a real world problem. Informed by ethnomethodological studies of work, this thesis explores the ordered in situ work of Vessel Traffic Service Operators (VTSOs); the coordination of vessel traffic; the fine grained artful performance and achievement of safe fairway navigation and the challenges faced by the VTS operators in the daily accomplishment of their institutional role. An important source of data in this ethnographic study is the naturally occurring interaction on the main working Very High Frequency (VHF) radio channel of the port, which helps explore institutional talk at work deployed to facilitate interaction, negotiation and the accomplishment of safe navigation. Three additional research techniques are utilised for data generation – observations, semi structured interviews and unstructured interviews. The case of a major Indian world port is utilised to explore the daily work of marine traffic coordination and the (pro)active interactional accomplishment of channel navigation. Research takes place against the dynamic backdrop of the harbour – a complex space with a myriad of social actors populating the scene – the VTS operators atop their tower; shipboard seafarers negotiating restricted waters; pilots rendering pilotage services; Dock Master commanding the station; seafarers aboard small local craft and lively fishermen who at times pepper the marine radio with colourful language. Two categories of findings emerge – port interaction order, institutional talk and the contingent practices that accomplish the safety/time critical work and the technological, organisational and social constraints that shape, affect and inform the work of the VTS operators. This study fills a gap in ethnomethodological studies of work with its focus on the VTS work site – a centre of coordination; it explores social order and contributes to the understanding of the local practical achievement of traffic coordination and channel navigation in restricted waters. It also contributes to our understanding of the constraints faced by the workers in the safety critical VTS work setting. Also discussed are the status of VTS operators and occupational hierarchy in the world port. The thick description of in situ VTS’ work informs maritime safety, particularly relevant in safety critical, congested and restricted sea areas.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top


Momoko Kitada

Thesis Title: Women Seafarers and their Identities

Abstract: 

The research employs qualitative feminist methods, particularly in-depth interviews, in order to examine the identity management strategies of women seafarers. The analysis then focuses on patterns of identity management strategies: how women changed strategies chronologically as well as multi-dimensionally (e.g. across space as well as time). The project concludes with several suggestions for future research. The findings of this study emphasise the need to increase the employment of women seafarers in the industry in order to improve living conditions of life on board for both male and female seafarers.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 


Priscilla Leong

Thesis Title:Understanding the Seafarer Global Labour Market in the Context of a Seafarer 'Shortage'

Abstract:

There is a prevailing view that the seafarer labour market provides an exemplar of a global labour market (GLM). The broader literatures suggest that labour markets when examined in detail are characteristically segmented in various ways. There is some evidence to indicate that the maritime industry may be somewhat similar. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which the maritime labour market is striated and thus, the extent to which it may be considered truly global. Using the lens of perceived shortage of quality officers within the industry, this study examines whether the seafaring GLM can be understood to be a homogeneous space in which seafarers are freely employed on a global basis. A qualitative research methodology was utilised consisting of interviews with representatives from maritime associations and organisations, executives from shipping companies and seafarers. The study also analysed over 200 articles from the electronic archives of ‘Lloyd’s List’, a maritime newspaper. The analysis of the data revealed that jobs and seafarers are divided into market segments that can function relatively independently. Segments occur because seafarers and jobs do not fit smoothly via a common market mechanism, instead demand and supply processes separate jobs and workers into divisions. The segmentation of the labour market is marked by quality, trade sector, geography, and international regulations and industry requirements, and market striation occurs along both horizontal and vertical dimensions.dimensions. 

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Lin Li

Thesis TitleValues and beliefs: Chinese seafarers in an age of transition 

Abstract: 

China has been in a period of dramatic economic and political change for thirty years. Because human values reflect society people grew up and live, the change should have impacted on the values of the Chinese. Exploring Chinese seafarers' values and particularly focusing on a specific value, religion perceived and practiced by them, this investigation helps us shed some light on the changes China has been through as well as the trajectory of Chinese society and culture. In particular the study provides information on the relationship between economic growth and wellbeing. A qualitative research approach was applied and Chinese seafarers were asked to attend semi-structured interviews. The findings reveal significant differences between the implication of western writers and the values Chinese seafarers showed. Unlike the prediction for western societies, the factors of affluence at both individual and societal levels in China were not enough for Chinese seafarers to show the straightforward correspondence. The religious values Chinese seafarers revealed were far more complex than the way Christianity is perceived and practiced. The cause of such differences was the path China has taken to reach its affluence. This route made these Chinese seafarers studied feel insecure despite an affluent society and has arguably delayed the prediction.

Click here to view the full thesis.

Back to top

 

Mark Oliver Llangco

Thesis Title: Filipino seafarers on-board cruise ships: Shared viewpoints on working lives 

Abstract:

Cruise ship workers and cruise ship employment are commonly described in popular literature as the stories of either ‘perfect workers in a dream job’ or ‘exploited workers on sweatships’. However, these popular portrayals tend to overlook the social and economic complexities of the work and the diversity of subjective experiences amongst cruise sector seafarers. To address this gap, this study investigates the social representations of the working lives of seafarers on-board cruise ships. Using the case of Filipino seafarers, one of the nationalities with the largest proportion of workers in the cruise ship sector, this study explores how workers in a globalised industry make sense of their employment experiences in relation to their lives. Q-methodology, a systematic research approach combining quantitative and qualitative methods in studying perspectives, was used to identify shared viewpoints on the working lives of cruise ship employees. Participants were asked to rank-order a set of 48 statements, which represent a range of occupational, organisational and work-related issues that they faced throughout their employment experience, along a fixed grid of agreement/disagreement taking the shape of an inverted pyramid grid (Q-sorts). Participants were also interviewed to elicit the rationales and narratives behind their sorting decisions. Factor analysis of 99 completed Q-sorts yielded four factors which were interpreted as ‘work-views’ or shared and holistic viewpoints on working lives. The accounts of ‘Good-fit’, ‘Troubled’, ‘Professional’ and ‘Ambivalent’ workers capture a more nuanced social representation of the working lives of cruise ship employees than those commonly presented in popular literature. These accounts of the working lives of cruise sector seafarers are discussed, in terms of the concept of work orientation, to highlight the workers’ multiple motivations and expectations of cruise ship employment, and to illustrate the embeddedness.

Click here to view the full thesis. 

Back to top 

 

Eliseo Lucero-Prisno

Thesis TitleNavigating the Seas, Negotiating the Sex: exploring risky sexual behaviours and relationships of seafarers

Abstract

This thesis explores the risky sexual behaviours and relationships of seafarers in the context of commercial sex relations with sex workers in ports. This study is designed to shed light on why seafarers engage in these risky activities while away from home working on board ships. The study was conceived in the context of the increased vulnerability of seafarers to STIs including HIV. The study draws upon data collected from a qualitative study conducted in the city of Santos, Brazil. This location was chosen, as it is the largest port in Latin America and has a popular red light district to seafarers. In-depth interviews were conducted with sixty seafarers and non-seafarers. Ethnographic observations were carried out in the red light district and other places frequented by the seafarers such as the port, the seamen’s mission and parts of the city. This study shows how risk is represented, perceived, negotiated and experienced by seafarers through their behaviours and within their relationships with sex workers. The socio-cultural structures they are embedded in inform and contribute to their risk perception and predicaments. A major contributing element is a gendered maritime industry that perpetuates a hegemonic heterosexual masculine regime. The way seafarers negotiate risk is shown by the way they locate and reposition the body, sex and sexuality within various forms of commercial sex transactions including the practice of condom use.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Jean Pia

Thesis Title: Labour supply arrangements in the Philippine seafaring industry

Abstract: The focal point of this thesis is the government prescribed standard employment contract (POEA-SEC) which contains the amended standard terms and conditions governing the overseas employment of Filipino seafarers onboard ocean-going ships. This thesis intends to explore the views, perceptions and experience of the relevant major stakeholders in the Philippine maritime industry such as Filipino seafarers, crewing managers, shipowners and government regulators with regard to the efficacy of the POEA-SEC in protecting the health, safety and well-being of Filipino seafarers. The interest in exploring the seafarers’ employment contracts comes in the light of global labour demand for flexible, short-term, contractual and extremely mobile labour and the emergence of the Philippines as a leading provider of seafarer workers. This thesis specifically aims to give seafarers a platform to narrate the stories as there is dearth of materials on the experience of seafarers coming from a developing country.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top


Desai Shan

Thesis Title: Seafarers' claims for compensation following workplace injuries and death in China 

Abstract:

This research explores the experiences of Chinese seafarers and bereaved families in the process of claiming compensation following workplace accidents. For a long time, issues regarding seafarers’ rights in such cases have failed to attract substantial public attention. International and Chinese studies indicate that seafarers may suffer higher risks of work-related injuries compared with land-based workers. Studies conducted in Australia, Canada and the United States show that claimants under workers’ compensation system may suffer extra psychological harm when claiming damages. However, there is little attention, in academic discourse, paid to the struggles of Chinese seafarers and/or bereaved families in the processes of claiming compensation following work-related casualties. This research aims to examine the procedures for compensation claims and to explore individual experiences of the claim process to determine whether Chinese seafarers suffer additional harm during claim processes. Two major qualitative research methods, documentary analysis and semi-structured interview, are applied in this research. The findings based on an analysis of legal claims process documents and records and interview data with the key informants, including claim handlers in shipping companies, maritime lawyers and maritime court judges in China, suggest that the compensation standards for occupational casualties of seafarers are chaotic and the current social welfare system does not provide effective assistance for the victims. The research results, therefore, show that Chinese seafarers and their families are most likely to suffer additional harm in the process, including intensive psychological pressures caused by the lack of procedural transparency and mental trauma resulting from claim suppression by their companies. Moreover, when resorting to public institutions, including labour administration and judicial authorities, Chinese seafarers are unlikely to receive timely and sufficient remedies.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Lijun Tang

Thesis Title:Coping with Separation: Chinese Seafarer-Partners in Cyberspace

Abstract:

This thesis examines a group of Chinese seafarer-partners' participation in a discussion website called Home of Chinese Seafarers. Specifically, it investigates the ways and extent to which participation in the site serves to ameliorate problems associated with separation and loneliness for seafarers-partners caused by the seafarers work patterns. The study utilised qualitative research methods. Online participant observation was conducted for a period in excess of two years and face to face and email interviews were carried out with seafarer-partner participants and the website managers. Web-based content from the site was also recorded and analysed. In analysing the data three central themes were developed: forms of participation, the production of friendship and the potential effect of participation upon the self. The findings suggest that participation in this particular website enables seafarer-partners to pool their available resources to provide each other with informational help, emotional support, and differing degrees of friendship. With these resources it appears that they are better equipped to combat the loneliness and isolation experienced as a result of their partners repeated prolonged absences. Their participation in the site also helps them to make sense of and validate their experiences and to gain a sense of security and certainty. As a result, seafarer-partners become more positive towards their lives and future, and make claims for improved well-being. The analysis of the data further reveals that seafarer-partners produce and reproduce a set of group norms and values within the website which promote understanding, supportive and self-sacrificing seafarers' wives/partners. This raises the issue of whether participating in the website is repressive or can be regarded as empowering.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Nelson Nava Turgo

Thesis Title: "Bugabug ang Dagat": Local Life in a Fishing Community in the Philippines

Abstract:

This thesis is an ethnographic study of a fishing community in the Philippines in the context of a dwindling fisheries resource and in relation to the community's contemporary social and political structures, values and local issues. It considers the everyday life of the fishing community the realms of power gender and economic relations and how these relations are played out among and between fishers and their wives, fish vendors, dealers and brokers as the community experiences dramatic changes in the local economy. While the study avers a very local orientation, it takes cognizance of the community's enrollment in a bigger polity: national and global economic and political spaces. Thus, the study focuses upon what local life means and exemplifies in the epoch of globalization and how local practices are instantiated amidst talk of a fast globalizing world. It highlights the enduring importance of the local linked in this case to the people in the fishing community's relative immobility and marginal position in the sphere of the Philippine economy in particular and the global economy in general. The thesis has eight chapters divided into three parts. The first part, chapters 1, 2 and 3, introduces the study, explains its ethnographic and theoretical import, states its significance as a piece of scholarly research and connects it with the wider literature on fishing studies, maritime anthropology, and the sociology of globalization. The second part, chapters 4, 5, 6 and 7, deals with the Philippine economy and describes the fishing community studied. Furthermore, it discusses the different ways in which fishers and their wives 'make do' in the face of dwindling catches, the changes and continuities in the community's economic roles, gender dynamics and power relations in the household and highly localized market practices in fish trading where among other factors, intimate actual and fictive relations in the community affect how fish is traded and sold among community members. The third part, chapter 8, concludes the thesis and summarizes the key arguments laid out in the second part of the study. It calls the reader's attention to the many geographies of globalization such as how some lives remain local and yet not isolated from extra-local developments, and how in this community everyday life is given material shape that is more local than global.


Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Conghua Xue

Thesis Title: Communication and its role in influencing shipboard occupational health and safety management in Chinese shipping 

Abstract: 

The thesis looks at the communication between the management shore and crew on board vessels, and examines the role of such communication in influencing OHSM in two Chinese chemical shipping companies. The study was conducted in the shore offices of two companies, as well as on four of their chemical tankers. The data was mainly collected by semi-structured interviews, supplemented by field observations, informal discussions and document analyses. By examining major areas of communication closely related to OHSM, i.e., shore to ship communication for work support, shore to ship communication for management control, ship to shore communication for safety reporting, ship to shore communication for safety suggestions, the study presents the range of purposes behind communication between the two. The study shows that communication between shore management and ship’s crew is significantly influenced by divergent interests between the two. It reveals a set of socio-economic and cultural factors that underlie their communication. As a consequence, such communication has noticeable influence on crew’s shipboard working practices as well as indirect effects on crew’s health, safety and well-being. The findings of this study show that shore-ship communication is mainly in an asymmetrical form. It was generally disengaged with the concerns of OHSM. The communication contributed to an unfavourable working environment. The study suggested that communication achieved very limited outcomes for OHSM. The study concludes by calling policy makers as well as industrial practitioners to rethink the role of communication in effective OHSM and reshape maritime regulatory strategy in promoting OHSM in the global shipping industry.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top

 

Peidong Yang

Thesis Title: Romance of the Three Unions: Identity Discourses of Three Indian Maritime Trade Unions

Abstract

Located at the intersection of an attempt to experiment a discourse analytical approach to the study of trade unions and a curiosity about the identities of maritime unions, this study comparatively investigates the discursive identity constructions of three seafaring trade unions of distinct characters in India, which is one of the most important maritime manpower supply countries. Discourse analysis, consisting mainly of analysing documentary materials and interview discoursal data, demonstrates that the three unions through their respective discursive practices construct drastically different organisational identities. Union A, the most established union with the longest his tory, constructs itself with a sense of superiority, by asserting its ‘only- ness’, ‘highness’ and seemingly sidelining its own ordinary members; Union B, the overtly Marxist union, is found to indeed construct itself along Marxist lines through the deployment of radical discourses that are critical of capital and government but sympathetic with labour; and Union C, the union exclusively for maritime officers, positions itself as an elite union above the other two ratings’ unions mainly through constructing the image of elite officers. The ideology and discourse of neoliberalism is found to transcend the identity schemas of Union A and C, and this is countered by the Marxism/anti-neoliberalism of Union B. However, despite the divergence at the discursive level, through examining the actual practices of the three unions, significantly the disciplining of members for organisational survivals, it is found that there is in fact a practical convergence which seems to render the discursive identity constructions insignificant. Yet, instead of adopting a realist dismissal of discursivity, through identifying the ways even fundamental and transcending practicalities are ‘deeply pigmented’ by identity discourses, the thesis concludes that the relationship between discursivity and practice is deeply interlocking and constitutively imbricated; in other words, discourse permeates and percolates both the ideational and practical aspects of organisations so deeply that it is neither extricable nor compartmentalisable.

Click here to view full thesis.

Back to top


Zhiwei Zhao

Thesis Title: The human resource strategies of Chinese state crewing agencies with special reference to labour export and the experience of Chinese seafarers

Abstract:

The Chinese shipping industry is one of the fastest developing sectors in the Chinese economy. However, few studies have explored the changes within it, especially concerning its human resource element - seafarers - and the newly formed crewing agencies through which they are employed. This research seeks to explore the contemporary experience of Chinese seafarers and especially how this is impacted by the management strategies of Chinese crewing agencies. In doing so, it contributes to debates about changes in Chinese society - that is, whether the economic reform has led to a new market economy in China. The idea of the emergence of a modernized, free Chinese seafarer labour market is critically examined through research into the employment and labour supply strategies of two ship crewing agencies, which have been reformed to different degrees, and the experience of the seafarers who work for them. The research utilises qualitative methods, with twenty-two managers and fifty seafarers being interviewed extensively, supplemented by documentary research. It seeks to explain why China's seafaring labour export is far lower than people have expected. It is seen that it is difficult to characterise China's seafarer labour market as a free market. The state has limited the liberalization of the market by granting foreign manning qualification to less than sixty state-owned crewing agencies. It is seen that institutions at higher levels still intervene in the operation of the agencies, with their management consequently showing a lack of market orientation to different extents, which constrains the development of China's labour export. It is also difficult to characterise the movement of Chinese seafarers in the labour market as free movement. The argument that Chinese economic reform leads to the transformation of Chinese seafarers into freelancers, which implies a substantial increase of seafarer export due to the attractiveness of working in foreign shipping companies, is too simplistic. In addition, the wages of Chinese seafarers working in the global labour market are lower than the international benchmark rates and are not necessarily higher than the payments by domestic shipping companies. This weakens the willingness of Chinese seafarers to work in foreign shipping companies.

Click here to view the full thesis.

Back to top

SIRC
Cardiff life
Activities

SIRC