On 25 June 2012, the international Day of the Seafarer, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is asking people around the world to use social networks to highlight just how important seafarers are to everyone on the planet, as they transport, all over the world, the vital items, commodities and components on which we all rely in our daily lives.
In a message to mark the occasion, IMO Secretary-General Mr. Koji Sekimizu said, “On the Day of the Seafarer, let us pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers for the unique and all-too-often overlooked contribution they make to the well-being of all of us. Let us take the opportunity to remember all those things that came by sea and which we could not live without. And, most importantly, let all of us make this the occasion on which we say ‘Thank you, seafarers’.”
IMO is urging everyone to tell the world, through their social media connections, about an object in their daily life that they cannot live without, and which came by sea; and to take a photo, write a description, record a song, make a film – and then post it on the social platform of their choice and add the campaign slogan: “thank you seafarers”.
In his message, Mr. Sekimizu recognized the sometimes harsh conditions that seafarers face, and encouraged shipowners and States to provide good facilities for crew and to promote fair treatment of seafarers.
“As we thank today’s seafarers, it is worthy of note that, to meet the growing demands of the world trade and the needs of the shipping and related industries, some 20, 000 additional trained seafarers are required every year. To this end, in recognition of the vital role those seafarers will continue to play, I urge shipowners to meet their aspirations through providing comfortable accommodation, access to the internet and other facilities that we all take for granted ashore in the 21st century. At the same time, flag States and port States should promote their fair treatment and training providers and educational institutes should ensure that young persons are trained effectively so that they can perform well on board ships, ” he said.
“My final message is to all young persons on the verge of choosing a future career to seriously consider seafaring, as even today it provides the chance to see the world and get paid for doing so! It also provides for a fulfilling and rewarding professional career either as a lifelong seafarer or as a springboard for related professional jobs in the maritime industries ashore, “ Mr. Sekimizu added.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also highlighted the Day of the Seafarer, with a special message in which he drew attention to the threat of piracy that seafarers face in high-risk areas.
“I have made addressing this complex problem a priority in the UN’s action agenda for the coming five years. United Nations agencies, including the International Maritime Organization (IMO), have achieved real progress by working with partners to combat piracy. But we must do more to offer solutions that include security, deterrence and alternative livelihoods. At the same time, we must recognize the outstanding courage of seafarers who continue their work amidst formidable peril, ” he said.
Mr Ban also acknowledged the contributions that seafarers have made in significantly improving the shipping industry’s environmental performance.
“On this Day of the Seafarer, let us celebrate the brave women and men, from master to deck hand, from sandy shores to the deepest ocean blue, from all corners of the world, who make it possible for the shipping industry to underpin our global economy and foster greater progress for all, ” Mr. Ban said.