Sam Ignarski passes away

One of shipping’s greatest chroniclers passed away on Sunday. Jonathan Ignarski, known to friends and thousands of readers by his middle name, Sam, died suddenly, aged 64.

Ignarski led the shipping press into the 21st century, even though this was not his original profession. With the creation in 1999 of Bow Wave, a weekly e-zine read by more than 20,000 people from across the world at its peak, Ignarksi gave shipping an irreverent snapshot of events shaping our industry topped with a poem and tailed with a joke.

Educated at Cambridge, Ignarski was a big name in maritime insurance before he jumped into e-publishing. He rose to become partner during a 16-year stint at Thomas Miller, latterly spent in Hong Kong. His years out east served him well, with Ignarski telling readers from the start of Bow Wave that the rise of Asian maritime was inevitable.

As well as Bow Wave, the ever eloququent Ignarski had many writing commitments across a variety of titles, often written with a pseudonym, including his take on the ways of an old school Chinese shipowner, Master Yick.

Among other online creations, Ignarski founded another e-zine, The Maritime Advocate, whose publishers yesterday wrote: “He will be a great loss to the worlds of shipping, transport and journalism.”

Edward Ion, founder of Helix Media, who knew Ignarski from his days as a Hong Kong shipping correspondent in the 1990s, commented: “Sam was one of the first in the London maritime community to understand the power and potential of the Asia markets, particularly China. He was also a true pioneer of the new kind of online shipping media and journalism and there are many who are grateful to him for that.”

Ignarski leaves his widow, Patricia Mary and daughters, Sophie and Marina, as well as a treasure trove of maritime writing accessible here.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. I had the pleasure of knowing Sam for, I think, a quarter of a century. Sam was much more than a good writer, he was a good man.

    Sam had “escaped to East Asia” from a decade of being sent by his distinguished employers at Millers to the grimmer parts of Soviet Bloc Eastern Europe; it seemed to him that he was suffering nominative determinism – they had read his surname but not his CV (he had read Chinese at Cambridge). Coming into shipping via containers, he tended not to take our shibboleths as seriously as most of us do, and he was well able to appreciate the surreal side of East Asia – I recall a phone call from Manila Airport – “I’ve just walked from the land side, to the air side, and back again, without being stopped – twice!” Only Sam would have made a point of going back and doing it again, to make quite sure. If he had been stopped, his explanation would have been accepted, too.

    A huge loss, much too young.

Back to top button