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‘Any port in a storm’

Responding to crisis in the world of shipping

Johanna Markkula

This article discusses crisis, and responses to crisis, in the global maritime industry. In order to stay ‘afloat’ in recession times, ship owners increasingly opt for Flags of Convenience. During research aboard a mixed nationality crewed cargo ship, I observed how a local crisis of a flag change impacted on the ambience and social cohesion onboard, and how crewmembers responded by reinforcing ties to their families back home. By showing how crises and their responses play out on multiple levels, the article argues that the ship's ‘local’ population, despite its apparent isolation, is deeply embedded in global events and processes.