Don’t drown the seafarer…*
As this special day comes to a close, a few things knock in my mind and would like to share them with all of you. John Faraclas writes:
Today, the international shipping community honoured the Day of the Seafarer with reports, press releases and statements, two of which – the IMO’s and ITF’s do count a lot, subject of course a full scrutiny to observe that things are really improving world-wide. Events too with respective speeches on the day’s importance, better say significance, took place world-wide. Social media worldwide are still trying to make a point on this great day for humanity, but have failed so far to advance as they have to end some sins the seafarers’ fraternity is subjected to.
We all know that shipping is the attainment of money and seafarers; this is interwoven as the one complements the other, yet few have got the message. The Church in the western world has been involved globally too in supporting even some extreme situations, particularly those of neglect and abandonment of seafarers on board ships or on the pier, but the Church is split due to sects; we know this and we do not bother to analyse same further, despite the fact that Christians, for example, are Christians everywhere!
The 1, 5 million seafarers who face hardship and danger every day to keep the global economy afloat have families too and one expects a proper reaction from the international community to these families to all intents and purposes.
In today’s world with additional burdens such as piracy and terrorism, the seafarer of any nationality and denomination is more exposed than ever, save other existing problems which we all hope that same will be …one day eradicated. Back home in some instances, like the Modern Greek Tragedy the world is …possible aware of…, seafarers and their families, pensioners in particular, widowers and widows are subjected to inhumane treatment over the last five years. Reduction of pensions, rising cost and difficulties in accessing medical prescriptions, higher taxation, the lot takes place from “legal” measures so the Greek state pays off its creditors, money Greece’s politicians embezzled. So in order to repay US$ 1 trillion (one trillion dollars) – yes you’re reading correctly: one trillion dollars, Greek people and conversely the Greek Seafarers have to suffer to the worse point.
We have always expressed our dismay via articles, TV appearances and questions directly to Greece’s ministers and in particular to all of Greece’s last five Shipping Ministers about this behaviour which at best is a crime, a crime against humanity! You can read our general article about Greece and see for yourself.
It is our pleasure to advise that, thanks to WISTA and in particular WISTA-UK, many issues have been addressed in this field and we sincerely hope you all do your bit to raise matters concerning Greek seafarers and Greek seafarer-pensioners and other such cases. It is also thanks to Admiral (Rt.HCG) Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, then Secretary-General of the IMO who ensured there is a statue honouring the Wife of the Seafarer. This was part of the World Maritime Day 2008 events and took place in Galaxidi, Greece a few miles off the Oracle of Delphi; a very thoughtful initiative, but its message, as we see, at least in Greece at the material time you read this comment, is, over the last six years only for deaf ears and blind “humans”… We must bestow great honour on all seafarers, on board, ashore, pensioners et al, but in particular we have to honour The** Wife of the Seafarer!
We sincerely hope that Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the IMO and other head of Organisations (the UN in particular), WISTA International, the ICS and ISF, ITF, PNO (in Greece), the International Women’s Council, the EU and many others world-wide will prove their sensitivity on these and other issues. We expect to see their response in the form of comment in this medium’s Comments Box.
Per my favourite expression, when the shit hits the fan, I wouldn’t accept an iota of any excuse whatsoever. Hope you all get the message and never complain about a counter response from whichever traumatised side same emanates. The ball is in your court! Respect the entire Seafaring Community! Dignity fights for its noble and humane causes with the appropriate means to the end and always gloriously; never forget this! The mighty pen can do the trick!
*from the cliché: Don’t shoot the pianist…
** The T with capital T please!