My previous research was about Bulgarian seafarers: their working lives and lived experiences of post-socialism. The Fall of the Iron Curtain saw maritime labour transform almost overnight, from a state-controlled national industry into a free, international job market. Bulgarian seafarers who were until then employed in a handful of national companies found themselves on the global market for maritime labour. I looked at how this rapid transformation affected livelihoods, identities, biographies and careers at sea and compared the working lives of two generations of maritime workers, separated by the change of political and economic regime in 1989, in order to disentangle the intersection of labour market “mechanisms”, policies, practices, and individual biographical trajectories.

Maritime working lives Image: M. Kremakova ©
Image: M. Kremakova ©