According to esteemed Professor Steve Mackay of University of California – Sta. Cruz and I quote, seafarers themselves do not want to narrow their roles to simply material provision, but seek multiple ways to emotionally connect with their wives and children.
Below is an excerpt from his research study entitled ‘So they remember me when I’m gone’ which supports his statement.
One 29 year-old seaman said in anguish, “I do not get to see my family often because we are on sea for nine months and are on vacation only for a few months. I feel that I am growing old but I am not growing old with them. I miss them. It feels like I am left out. They are all there, growing old together, and then I come home and see them and I feel like a part of me is missing.”
Another 41 year-old seaman with one daughter explained: “I could say that I have spent more time on board than with my family. … …my child was one year old…. when I was in the ship, whenever I hear the voice of my daughter, I might be in tears. When I went home last December, I’m really excited when I saw my family. But when I was calling her she would not look at my face. She would not come with me. It took one week before I became near her. Whenever we would sleep at night, she would cry, so I would sleep outside the mosquito net… Perhaps [after one week] she understood that I’m really her father.”
Finally, a 30 year-old officer with one child explained:
“I often miss my child. When I left, he was only crawling and when I returned home, he was already running. He did not want to come near me because I had a mustache. I thought then, “what if I went on-board again and when I go home he is already married?” You are not here monitoring your children while they are growing. That is something. Yes, you are earning this kind of money but there is a negative effect. That is the negative side of seafaring.”
Will you agree that Pinoy seafarers perform – as best they can- their roles as a father?
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