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Homesickness highlighted in Life at Sea photography competition

30 September 2022

Homesickness was a winning theme in this year's ITF Seafarers' Trust Life at Sea photo competition, which aims to capture the vital often unnoticed role of seafarers in the global economy.

First prize worth £1,000 went to seafarer San Ko Oo for his photograph titled 'Home Sick'. The judges said they were 'moved by this striking image' of a young seafarer looking at his mobile phone, missing home.

'The combination of tough tattoos and vulnerability reflect the ambiguity of seafaring – on the one hand a hard, macho profession and on the other hand an environment that can be very lonely and isolated'.

The third competition is the result of a photography project, which began in 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and now boasts a collection of some 5,000 digital images showing seafarers proudly at work on deck, in the engine room and galley; up ropes, or wielding hoses and paint brushes; having solitary moments missing family and enjoying the camaraderie on board.

In early September Trust presented the shortlisted photos to the International Congress of Maritime Museums at their 50th anniversary congress in Halifax, Canada. The intention is to continue the competition annually and create collections and resources for museums around the world and share the perspective of contemporary seafarers with the general public.

Head of the ITF Seafarers' Trust Katie Higginbottom said: 'I'm hugely impressed by the quality of the submissions this year – they just get better and better' We are really looking forward to developing new exhibitions and innovative ways to highlight the creativity of seafarers and share their experiences.'

This year's judges were British author Rose George; maritime coordinator of the International Transport Workers' Federation Jacqueline Smith, MD of Western Shipping, Singapore and chairman of the International Maritime Employers' Council Ahmed Belal; and secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping Guy Platten.

  • view a selection of the winning photographs from among the over 1000 entries. An exhibition of 30 shortlisted images will be displayed at Crew Connect in Manila in November 2022.