We have all propably come across lists like the “10 Truths hotel Employees Wish Guests Knew” or “45 Things pilots Wish Airline Passengers Knew;” ever seen a similar list for seafarers?
In celebration of the Day of the Seafarer, Oceans Arena Stage hosted the panel “Welcome on board: What seafarers wish you knew,” on a mission to create a seafarers “wish list” of what they wish people knew, understood and appreciated about life at sea.
Opening remarks made by Esben Poulsson, Vice-President of The Mission to Seafarers set the tone on the importance of this special day. Explaining how the world’s approximately 74 000 ships are manned by very close to 2 million seafarers who get on with their job delivering 90% of the world’s goods. Poulsson states “My plea is, just as when you board an aircraft you probably appreciate the people in front of this service, when you buy a product think about the seafarer.”
Followed by a panel of seafarers with diverse backgrounds, Eng. Essam M Alammari, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the IMO, Capt. Londy Ngcobo, Africa’s First Female Dredge Master, Yrhen Bernard Balinis, HRAS Advisory Board, IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador, Capt. Gina Darsaklis, Class A Captain, Olympic Shipmanagement, Capt. Rami Al Breiki, Founder & MD Zenith Maritime Services and Yiannis Fafalios, CEO, Care4C, in a discussion facilitated by Gina Panayiotou, Founder & CEO of Oceans Arena, below are the 6 things seafarers wish people knew:
(1) “Do you have a rolex?” Capt. Gina Darsaklis posed this question, explaining how shipping is a big deal. The back of a Rolex has so many components and mechanisms that make it run, same with shipping, it is running in the background and it is a job done by humans, to deliver goods to your home away from their home.
(2) Capt. Rami al Breiki highlights how as a seafarer you act not only as a navigator or engineer, but also as a meteorologist, firefighter, medical aider etc. which is why his plea is for people to respect this when seafarers decide to come ashore – rather than being treated as if they have no experience.
(3) Covid was bad for all and Eng. Essam M Alammari stresses how without the quantity of sacrifices made by those at sea, the logistics chain would be broken and people would have had even greater difficulties to survive.
(4) Yiannis Fafalios explains how every Christmas he asks of everybody to spare a thought for the seafarers, who are not on shifts, do not get to home at the end of the day and (if lucky) watch their kids open their presents over a short call.
(5) Yrhen Bernard Balinis added that this day should not just be one day of acknowledgment, everyday should be such, as every day we are using the goods that seafarers deliver.
(6) While Capt. Londy emphasized on inspiring the youth noting how “seafarers come with so much diversity and as colourful as you can imagine; We are also cool kids on the ships so come join us!”
Let’s use this day to embrace the above list and become more aware of the crucial service these unsung heroes provide, expressing gratitude not just today but every day and collectively work towards making life on board a healthier and safer place.
Replay available on Oceans Arena Stage YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9LLAoH6FgQ&t=604s
Panellists as follows:
Opening remarks: Esben Poulsson, Vice-President, The Mission to Seafarers, immediate past Chairman, International Chamber of Shipping
Panel: Eng. Essam M Alammari – Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the IMO
Capt. Londy Ngcobo – Global Ship Navigator, Africa’s First Female Dredge Master
Yrhen Bernard Balinis –Human Rights at Sea Advisory Board, IMO Goodwill Maritime Ambassador,
Capt. Gina Darsaklis – Class A Captain, Olympic Shipmanagement
Capt. Rami Al Breiki –Founder & MD Zenith Maritime Services, Founder, Neonautica
Yiannis Fafalios –CEO, Care4C, Operations Manager, Fafalios Limited
Host: Gina Panayiotou, Founder & CEO, Oceans Arena | Concept Founder, Ocean Arena Stage