Shocking report into the Asian slave labour producing prawns for supermarkets in US, UK

asian trawler image


A six-month investigation has established that large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (commonly called shrimp in the US) sold in leading supermarket  around the world, including the top four global retailers: Walmart, Carrefour, Costco and Tesco.

The investigation found that the world’s largest prawn farmer, the Thailand-based  Chareon Pokphand (CP) Foods, buys fishmeal, which it feeds to its farmed prawns, from some suppliers that own, operate or buy from fishing boats manned with slaves.

Men who have managed to escape from boats supplying CP Foods and other companies like it told the Guardian of horrific conditions, including 20-hour shifts, regular beatings, torture and execution-style killings. Some were at sea for years; some were regularly offered methamphetamines to keep them going. Some had seen fellow slaves murdered in front of them.

More details on this shocking report can be found on the Guardian’s website


The facts 

Thailand produces roughly 4.2m tonnes of seafood every year, 90% of which is destined for export, official figures show. The US, UK and EU are prime buyers of this seafood – with Americans buying half of all Thailand’s seafood exports and the UK alone consuming nearly 7% of all Thailand’s prawn exports.

“The use of trafficked labour is systematic in the Thai fishing industry,” says Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s  Asia division, who describes a “predatory relationship” between these migrant workers and the captains who buy them.

“The industry would have a hard time operating in its current form without it.”


Below is the process which demonstrates how slaves are being used to produce prawns to your plate:


the big catch - part one the big catch - part two the big catch- part three


From this report it is clear to see how, as consumers, we need to be aware when buying prawns from the mentioned retailers, we should be more conscious on how this has arrived at this outlet and if indeed there are alternative outlets we can use to avoid using these poor slaves in the production.







6th June 1944 remembered by Dr Chris Ware



With all of the statistics quoted, 6th June 1944 was a personal journey for each soldier, sailor and airman involved.  The 50th Division (Northumbrian) was tasked with assaulting Gold Beach. The center of the sector was named jig, itself split into two between jig Green and jig Red sectors.

At 07:26 as the tide was at the flood the first wave came ashore, with the infantry and Royal Marine Commandoes there were three Field Companies of Royal Engineers and amongst them a 21 old Sapper who had been called up in 1942, he had been stationed at Catterick and then Woodbridge. As his landing craft neared the shore he stepped off the ramp and disappeared into the swell up to his neck. Carrying his rifle above his head he waded ashore to be greeted by the German static defences. Once ashore he, and his comrades had to wait whilst Naval gunfire cleared the way, including part of Gold Beach HMS Warspite going into rapid fire with her 15 inch guns over open sights.

He would take part in assault on Caen and the Falaise gap, and be present at Nijmegen and the withdrawal from Arnhem. In all the years that I knew him my father spoke perhaps twice about these experiences, it was matter of fact; he got cold and wet, he never spoke of fear and of whether he might not have survived, death was only mentioned once, having witnessed the onslaught at Falaise, and this shortly before he died.

Having studied history for the last thirty some years as an historian I still find it hard to comprehend what he did and how over time he simply put it behind him, a distant memory, almost as if it were another person, of such is history made.





Hunt is on for mystery monster that ate 3m long great white shark whole

It’s easy to forget how little we know about Earth. The deep sea, for instance, remains mostly unexplored.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise when scary questions present themselves, like, “What could have possibly eaten a three meter great white shark?”

There are not many sea creatures that could hunt and devour a 3m (10ft) great white shark however after the discovery of a tracking tag washed up on a Western Australia beach with signs it had been bleached by stomach acid and its data showed rapid changes in depth, evidence of 1,900ft dive, and a rise in temperature reflecting the animal that ate it. Shark Alpha, as the beast was named, nearly reached 2000ft (609m) before her body temperature zoomed from just over 40 degrees to 78 degrees.

The shark had been part of a study in 2004 to track her movements.

Film maker Mr Dave Riggs has been investigating the discovery by speaking to whale hunters of Bremer Bay area to try to find out what sort of predator could have done this.

From a study of this data Mr Riggs was able to see that super predator has a stomach at least 1m (3ft 3in) wide. However, he discounts killer whales because the 26C (78.8F) recorded on the tag was far too low to be from inside one. Mr Riggs added “I am not suggesting a prehistoric beast is roaming out there.  This is nature at work and we’re just trying to get the bottom of something that happened years ago.  I don’t know if we will ever know what happened to that animal but if the reports are true from the whaler, we may get a glimpse of what they saw”

It has been the talk of the office here at the Greenwich Maritime Institute with our very own Chris Bellamy commenting  that the create must be cold blooded…..

However the mystery continues and it goes to show that we don’t seem to know what everything that lives in our oceans


Food, Fisheries and Tourism: New Opportunities for Sustainable Development 23rd and 24th June @ St Mary in the Castle, Hastings

fishing photo

23rd and 24th June 


St Mary in the Castle, Hastings


Don’t forget to register for this two day event on the 23rd and 24th June which will focus on how the agro-food, fisheries and responsible tourism can work together to deliver new opportunities for sustainable development along the coast and in the towns and countryside in the 2 seas area.

Are you a producer (farmer or fisher), tourism professional provider, a planner or an educationalist? Would you like to learn more about new opportunists for sustainable development by bringing together food, fisheries and responsible tourism? would you like to share your experiences and ideas with other who could work with you to develop a sustainable future for all three sectors?

If so don’t miss this opportunity to join us

Places are limited so don’t miss your chance to come to the event

Register free at

For more information please contact;

TourFish Commincations Team
University of Greenwich
Tel: (0) 20 8331 7688


Tourfish logo

“Learning the Ropes” on Board the Tall Ship Tenacious written by Yifan LIAO

Though it may be commonplace for a ship spotter to see sailing yachts or Thames Sailing Barges moving through the Old Father Thames, a tall ship in the size of Cutty Sark appearing in the narrow basin of the South Quay is still kind of a thrill. Owned by the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST), the Tenacious, a traditionally-rigged three-mast sailing ship, more than 60 m in length and more than 40 m in height above the waterline, came back to London on 18 May 2014 and stayed in the dock until 25 May. She is alleged to be the largest tall ship flying the red ensign, about 1.5 times larger than her only sister ship, the Lord Nelson.

As part of a joint sail training promotion initiative, the China Sail Training Association (China STA), a partner of the JST, invited Greenwich Maritime Institute (GMI), University of Greenwich UG) to pay a visit to the Tenacious to observe the structure of a tall ship and the particular organisation and operation of her teamwork. Four UG members, Professor Chris Bellamy, Director of GMI, Dr Minghua Zhao, Director of China Maritime Centre which is part of GMI, Mr Yifan Liao and Captain Pengfei Zhang, both CMC members, embarked on the marvelous barque in the afternoon on 19 May, 2014.

The Tenacious is the second tall ship built by the JST to meet the increasing demand for sail training. Besides the permanent crew (consisting of the shipmaster, deck officers, engineers, medical purser, cooks, etc), the Tenacious was designed to accommodate some 40 trainees (the voyage crew) as well. This function implied that the structure of the accommodation would have to be much more complicated than a conventional cargo ship. As a result the ship was constructed in a very special way. After the keel-laying ceremony taken place on 6 June 1996, during which HRH the Duke of York hammered golden rivets into the planks, the hull was nevertheless constructed up-side-down and then turned to the upright position for outfitting. She was eventually launched on 3 February 2000 and christened 6 April 2000.

While showing the GMI/CMC delegation around, the duty officer illustrated how to set sail with joint effort, what individualised watching responsibilities of the crew are and what facilities are available to help people with restricted eyesight or wheelchair users. In the Accommodation, Minghua noticed a plaque with the tricky word “Heads” hung on the door of a compartment. This is virtually a very traditional seafaring jargon stemming from Nelson’s “golden age of sail”. Undoubtedly, it is only on a sailing ship as such that everyone could smell a real salty taste of the sea everywhere, – a memory of the hardship, courage, devotion, comradeship and pride that our ancestors had once experienced in their sailing lives. To those who are still perplexed with yet interested in the meaning of this sailor’s expression, it is recommended to refer to Roy & Lesley Adkins’ “Jack Tar” (at P. 140) for detailed explanation or to go straightaway to the bow of our neighbouring Cutty Sark to see the self-explanatory facilities inside the similar chambers.

The Tenacious provides equal access to all people of mixed physical ability, able or disabled, young or aged, male or female, with or without seafaring experience. The sea-going duration varies from one day to several weeks, depending on the length of the particular sea leg, in which the intake is involved. Unlike professional nautical skill training, the highlight of the experience in going to the sea on board the Tenacious is to learn how to work efficiently together with other people with diversified backgrounds and how leadership is shaped. To the young generation who are brought up in the “greenhouse” without exposure to the sea, it is arguable that, as far as you can overcome the challenges of the voyage in collaboration with your comrades, you will be able to survive all ordeals throughout the rest of your lifetime.

JST is planning to send their tall ships to explore the South Pacific Ocean in the second half of this year (2014) with the hope to visit China in the return voyages, whilst the China STA has registered to take part in the Falmouth to Greenwich Regatta in September 2014 to inaugurate their enterprise in China, – the only major maritime nation in the world that has yet to possess its own tall ship. Evidently GMI/CMC are the unrivalled partner to support these sail training events. With the support of the China STA and the Royal Borough of Greenwich and the strong recommendation from Dr Minghua Zhao, one Chinese postgraduate student from GMI’s Maritime History Program has joined the voyage crew for the Falmouth-Greenwich passage and undertaken to steer the celebration at the destination as a goodwill gesture to the proposed maritime adventure. Dr. Zhao is also elaborating a promotional plan for the voyage to be executed through her networking in China. There remains quite a lot of work to be done by our GMI/CMC crew to broaden the horizon for the tall ship world.

 tenacious image

The Third Conference of the Black Sea Project to be held in Istanbul

The Third Conference of the Black Sea Project, The Economic and Social Development of the Port–Cities of the Southern Black Sea Coast, Late 18th – Beginning of the 20th century will take place in Istanbul.

The conference is hosted by the History Department of Boğaziçi University.

23-26 October 2014

The project “The Black Sea and its port-cities from the 18th to the 20th century. Development, convergence and linkages with the global economy” is part of the Thalis Programme “Reinforcement of the Interdisciplinary and/or inter-institutional Research and Innovation” in the context of the operational action “Education and Life Long Learning” which is co-sponsored by the E.U. and the Greek Ministry of Education.

This will be the third conference in a series of five focusing on this specific project.  Previous schedules have featured the Greenwich Maritime Insititue’s Panayotis Kapetanakis, foacusing on; The Black Sea: a new diplomatic and economic challenge to the First British Empire (1760–1802)


black sea

The aim of the conference is to convey the results of the research carried out within the project as well as invite papers related to its themes. The project seeks to trace elaborate and demonstrate the economic and social development of 25 port-cities of the Black Sea that formed an integrated market that became the larger grain-exporting area in the world in the course of the  longnineteenth century.

By focusing on the sea and its ports, the analysis offers an insight in the economic activities of the port-cities, the coastal area and the hinterland, the integration of markets and their inter-linkages with the global economy, beyond political boundaries and divisions. The global economy triggered development and convergence of regional markets. Papers are related to the subject of the project along the following six axes:

1. The Black Sea as a unit of research. Marine environment and six port systems.
2.Six maritime regions. Economic and social development of twenty port-cities.
3.Patterns of urban structure. City-planning and architecture.
4.Macro-analysis. Formation of macro-economic statistical series. Comparison to world economy.
5.Micro-analysis. Entrepreneurial elites and major Greek business families.
6.Networks linking to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.


For more information on the project please visit;




Dr Cathryn Pearce presenters ‘Jibber the Kibber, Pirate Wreckers and False Lights: Wrecking in British Folklore’

Wednesday June 4th
6.30 – 8pm

The Royal West of England Academy , Bristol



George Morland, The Wreckers, c.1791, oil on canvas, Southampton City Art Gallery.

“The rich maritime folklore of England includes enduring stories of wreckers who lured ships ashore by using false lights. These stories are so prevalent that Cornwall in particular is identified in the popular mind with the practice. Debates on the truth or falsity of the false light myth have occupied historians and laypersons from the nineteenth century to the present. However, it is my belief that these investigators have been lured by a proverbial false light of their own”.

In this lecture, Dr Cathryn Pearce will introduce a new perspective by looking at several important stories to determine how they came into the folklore, what their role was, and how they became accepted as evidence of actual practice.

Admission prices

Tickets £5, FRWA/RWA Academicians/Artist Network Members/Students £3

To book please call the RWA on 0117 973 5129 or alternatively pop into the Gallery and book at Reception.

Find out more here;

Exclusive one day short course- Britain’s Oldest True Police Force: Policing the River Thames

Saturday 13th September 2014

Led by security expert Professor Chris Bellamy, Director of the Greenwich Maritime Institute, this course tells the tale of protecting life and property and preventing crime from the foundation of the Marine Police in 1798. Now known as the Metropolitan Police Service Marine Policing Unit (MPU), it inspired Robert Peel’s creation of ‘The Met’ in 1829, and was incorporated into it ten years later.

Today, the MPU is still based on the site of its original headquarters at Wapping, and is responsible for 47 miles of the river Thames and 250 miles of canals, lakes and inland waterways within the capital. They are now supported in their rescue duties by RNLI lifeboats, a London Fire Brigade fire boat, and Coastguard services.

This course will look into the history of the MPU, the challenges it faced and its development into the force we see patrolling the River Thames today.


Location and Duration of the Course

This course will take place from 9.30am – 4.30pm on Saturday 13th September 2014 at the University of Greenwich, Queen Anne Court, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS.


How to Apply

The cost of the course is £90 per person and will include course materials, lunch, refreshments and a certificate of attendance.

All places must be booked in advance by Sunday 31st August 2014. Please use our booking website

Exclusive short course on The Glorious Revolution of 1688: The last invasion of Britain?

Friday 12th September 2014

“ A country which ignores its legal history is like the captain of a vessel at sea who neglects periodically to take his latitudinal and longitudinal position in order to be sure that he is on his true course.”

Led by naval historian Dr Chris Ware, a frequent contributor to the ever-popular Who Do You Think You Are? TV series, this course will focus on 1688 when the Dutch, under William III mounted the most useful invasion of Britain since the Normans in 1066. At the same time as the Royal Navy was becoming one of the most powerful in Western Europe, how was it that the Dutch Fleet could land unopposed with more than 40,000 troops? Was the Royal Navy split by conflict or was it the just the weather, the wind in the wrong direction, stopping the Royal Navy from sailing in time to intercept the Dutch, and why were there so many British officers aboard the Dutch fleet? This course will explore and explain one of the greatest humiliations the Royal Navy suffered and explain how it ended up co-operating with the Dutch against the French less than a year later.

man on horse

What will you study? The key topics covered will be:

•The English Fleet in 1688
•The Dutch Fleet in 1688
•The Principal Conspirators
•The Invasion in Art and Literature
•Where were the Dutch supposed to land, do we really know?
•The consequences of 1688 for the navies, the English and Dutch Fleets operating together in the wake of 1688 against the French. Grand design or happy accident?


Location and Duration of the Course

This course will take place from 9.30am – 4.30pm on Friday 12th September 2014 at
University of Greenwich, Queen Anne Court, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS. Part of the day will also be spent across the road at the Caird Library of the National Maritime Museum.

How to Apply
The cost of the course is £90 per person and will include course materials, lunch, refreshments and a certificate of attendance.
All places must be booked in advance by Sunday 31st August 2014. Please use our booking website

Exclusive short course on China’s seaborne trade and maritime defence

Thursday 11th September 2014

This short course is organised with the support of the China Maritime Centre and will be led by the Centre’s Director Dr Minghua Zhao, international shipping analyst Richard Scott and naval defence specialist David Wilkinson.

The course will investigate China’s rapid growth in seaborne trade of all types and the impact upon global maritime business; it will also examine the recent history of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (the PLAN) in the light of American and Chinese concerns.


What will you study?

The key topics covered will be:•China’s Cargo Trade: attaining global giant status
•China’s Oil and Gas Trade
•The People’s Liberation Army [Navy] (PLAN): The rise of capability and ambition

china - banner

Location and Duration of the Course

This course will take place from 9.30am – 4.30pm on Thursday 11th September 2014 at
University of Greenwich, Queen Anne Court, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, SE10 9LS.

How to Apply

The cost of the course is £90 per person and will include course materials, lunch, refreshments and a certificate of attendance.
All places must be booked in advance by Sunday 31st August 2014. Please use our booking website