Life on board the ship is just like being in a different world. You see the same faces everyday throughout the months of your contract. They live in a small and confined atmosphere, susceptible to all the threats of nature, sometimes physical but oftentimes emotional. For someone who took a cruise to explore life at sea and to look for her knight in shining armor, she could have found the apple of her eyes, if she allows her heart to rule over her head.
Taking a cruise gives an opportunity to meet people whom they could fall in love with, especially because of the luxurious amenities found on board. The huge dining saloons can be a perfect dance floor during night time, game rooms, swimming pools, where relationship encounters seems tailor fit to be another love story like in “Titanic”.
A friend relates that once she met a man on a cruise ship from Bahamas, who was re-locating in Miami, and wanted her to get off the ship early, and go with him. She remembers that he was so good looking, intelligent, and had a good very sense of humor. Time slipped away unnoticed and there was not a single dull moment with him...she was enjoying every minute spent with him, but she later resisted him....because he had a girlfriend. Even, if he started pursuing her more and more throughout the whole sea passage, asking her to marry him; but she took the courage to say NO, she admitted that she is almost tempted and carried away. But she realized that he was not free, but she is...While it takes two to tango for a relationship to take place, in situations like this, when it comes to the affairs of the heart, it all depends on the woman.
Men coming from MARS will make attempt, because they are born aficionado. Women coming from Venus will be the object of men’s attention, especially if she is endowed with smart brains, physical beauty and amiable character. Thus, she should be STRONG to resist the temptation, even if how magnetic the attractions radiate to her.
For better understanding, we will try to differentiate between love and lust.
Love is towards emotion while the latter consist more of physical attraction resulting to a sexual relationship and become a crime of passion when one of the parties involved is legally married ashore. On board merchant ships, stories of a crew member sexually pursued by an Officer or a fellow crew member are happening. Men are chasing men for moments of fun and ecstasy. It is something mind boggling. Is it all because of the nature of the living condition on board the ship? Some men cannot fight their longing for their wives or girlfriends, and they lure to engage into an explicit act with other men or women on board. The long contract of nine months to one year is taking an emotional toll on them. Many fall into prey of the crime of passion or tempted to try a relationship set up with-out commitment.
Many true accounts about seafarers having sexual affairs with their fellow crew on board the ship are noted. From contract to contract, ship to ship, we can hear some peculiar stories, witnessed indecent proposals between seafarers and men from the shore where women’s services are scarce and quite expensive.
Some Seafarers admitted engaging in an explicit affair with a foreign crew in order to have additional money. Sometimes, they do it not out of love but out of need to send additional money to their families back home that look at them like human ATM.
When will a shipboard romance become sexual harassment? When the aggressor takes her or him by force and is doing the act without the wilful consent of the other. Are they helpless? No. They have all the means to voice out their complaints against their aggressors, but normally they kept quiet because with the passage of time, what was initially perceived as a sexual harassment later blossomed into a full -blown romance, that in the end they found wanting to be with each other always.
No man is an island, and human as we are, will always long for attention, love and care. Just like the emotional battle that their better halves fought on shore while waiting for their contract to end and be back to their arms again.
A Seafarers job regardless of gender is not for the physically, emotionally and morally WEAK. Working in a ship with mix genders is always a fertile breeding ground for illicit affairs. It destroys familial ties, leading to broken marriages and abandoned children. We cannot blame people ashore for having various negative perceptions about Seafarers. Before, they tagged them as “men with a woman in every port”....but now, as “men with a love affair in every ship”...it is a growing menace... it is the same stigma that took me eleven years to say I do to a Merchant Marine Officer. Will my love story be an exemption to the rule? No one knows, only time will tell. I will just have to remember that: God puts people in my life for reasons. Some to learn lessons from, others to help me along the way, while others to put to test and make me realize the strength of a woman in me...
Image credits:Caribbean Island Cruise