“This show is bold…with big knotty things to say, it takes an eclectic form; comedy, concert, documentary, portraiture, installation, interaction, cabaret, drama…”

The Mercury, Australia


“Thank you Blue Angel for a fabulous night, the experience will stay with us for ever. Story telling at its finest in my view. You must continue to share this gem.”

Audience member


Blue Angel had its world premiere at the Tasmanian International Arts Festival, 2015

The Project

Award winning Australian arts and social justice company Big hART have launched the Blue Angel project – bringing  stories of the sea and the waterside to audiences across the globe.

Every night there is a city of workers afloat on our oceans, delivering consumer goods along a liquid highway to our doors. Yet most people know nothing of them, their epic stories almost unknown. Blue Angel tells these stories, bringing attention to the invisibility of contemporary exploitation and working to promote the practice of Fair Shipping.

Working with seafarers from across the world, this is an international collaboration between key port cities in Australia, The Netherlands,  China, Brazil and more. Blue Angel seeks out meaningful partnerships across the maritime and arts industries internationally.

The Blue Angel project

is these things:

  • A significant multi-art form promenade theatre work for festivals
  • A long-term community engagement process
  • An impact campaign to promote #FairShipping
  • An exhibition of new portrait paintings
  • A documentary film
  • A program of events and workshops developed for international collaboration and consultation.

Blue Angel

looks to engage with workers of the sea.

We are particularly keen to find those who will share their experience as female seafarers, international seafarers, and wives and families. We are also looking for those skilled in marine crafts or who have creative pursuits.

Contact producer



Today’s ships of shame

It is estimated that 600,000 seafarers are currently experiencing some form of exploitation. This is due to some ship owners operating substandard vessels, and maintaining questionable, sometimes life threatening work conditions, to increase profit margins. ‘Flags of convenience’ is the business practice of registering a merchant ship in a sovereign state different from that of the ship’s owners. This is done to reduce operating costs, as vessel owners take advantage of reduced regulation, lower fees, and greater numbers of “friendly” ports. In Australia, commentators say more can be done to support domestic and foreign seafarers, as well as our own shipping companies, by having tougher maritime laws, heavier penalties for wrong doing, and not selling our domestic industry offshore.

What’s being done

to help seafarers?

Seafarers welfare organisations across the world say it is simple: if we eliminate flags of convenience, we eliminate secrecy, and the opportunity for shipping companies to operate to poor standards. In 2013 the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) or ‘seafarers bill of rights’ was adopted to provide work standards for the world’s seafarers and to create a level playing field for the shipowners and operators, who make an effort to do the right thing. There are many shipping companies, peak bodies, welfare organisations and unions committed to protect the wellbeing of seafarers, to ensure a thriving and healthy industry into the future. Join them, and Big hART, in this global pan-industry push for fair shipping.

The Blue Angel Project supports the International Maritime Human Rights Conference, to be held on 14th September 2016, at the Royal College of Surgeons, London. Learn more…

For more on seafarer welfare, please visit:

International Seafarer Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) | International Transport Federation (ITF) | International Maritime Organisation (IMO) | Australian Seafarers Welfare Council (ASWC) | Mission to Seafarers

There are three things you can do right now


Join this exciting project as we promote #fairshipping




Donate to Seafarers worldwide 24 hour Helpline and the Seafarers Emergency Fund





Creative Producer Cecily Hardy
cecily@bighart.org | +61 (0)457 150 931

More from the project

All images taken by Brett Boardman featuring seafarers: Peter, Doug, Wassa, Laurie ‘The Lighthouse’, and Terry.

Image treatment by Wah

Moving image: Blue Angel Visual Director, Benjamin Ducroz