We nearly all depend on seaborne trade for something in our lives, but the men and women who carry our goods about the world are often overlooked. The Day of the Seafarer is intended to redress the balance a little.
The IMRF is happy and proud to lend our support to the IMO’s initiative.
Our member organisations – the providers of maritime search and rescue (SAR) services – help those who get into trouble at sea, which includes professional seafarers from time to time. But the IMRF would like to use the opportunity presented by the Day of the Seafarer to highlight something else. These ‘unsung heroes’ are part of the global SAR plan too.
Deep-sea, or in sparsely-populated or the poorer parts of the world where there are no dedicated units, it is only passing shipping that can carry out maritime SAR work. Where there are no lifeboats or rescue helicopters, or where such units cannot get to the scene of distress quickly enough, it is the seafarers on nearby ships who must respond; to search, and to rescue.
This can be difficult and sometimes dangerous work. Seafarers have always tried to help others in distress if they can: a tradition now enshrined in international law.
But that should never be taken for granted. Involvement in SAR may cost a shipping company significant amounts of money, disrupting schedules etc. It naturally increases the stresses on the ships’ crews themselves, knowing that lives may depend on them alone. It may add to the risks they face. Yet still they respond when called upon.
Helping those in distress is an ancient tradition of the sea. The IMRF is proud to play our part in it. And we take this opportunity to salute our colleagues the professional seafarers who work alongside us to help save lives. They are unsung, perhaps; but heroes nevertheless.
So, on the Day of the Seafarer, the IMRF would like to say thank you, and well done.
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