Ahoy! About 90% of world trade is handled by merchant shipping. Our smartphones, our computers, the raw materials for them - they all come by ship. But what happens in the meantime? What does everyday life look like on a modern container ship? How do the seamen live aboard? What are their working conditions? Why is it considered progress that they now have an 80-hour week under their employment agreements? Which law applies on board? These were the questions we explored in Hamburg during a weekend in April of 2019.
Next, the group embarked on a launch for a tour through the container port and a pastor from the seamen's mission provided the perspective of short-term guests from the Philippines, India, or Russia on the way to the Hamburg seamen's club. In the club, Wikipedians started writing articles and consulted sources next door to sailors who spent their few ours on land calling their families or just enjoying each other's company playing pool.
On Sunday, the group visited the Hamburg Maritime Museum, where we had the museum library at our disposal and took photos of the objects in the exhibition. By the end of the weekend, the group had produced at least 53 Wikipedia articles and more than 400 pictures for Wikipedia. We learned more about the conditions under which the computers we are working on arrive at our homes. We brought this knowledge online.
One Wikipedian participated remotely from the United States. We would like to thank the participating institutions for their kind support.
In Hamburg's container port
Wikipedians during the boat tour
A seamen's pastor demonstrating his work attire for visiting sailors aboard
Learning about international maritime labour law
de:Seeleute-Ausweis (seafarers' identity document): one of the articles created during the project