Day of the Seafarer 2020
July 25th is International Seafarer day. Never in the recent decades was this day more important as this year’s commemoration of the Seafarer Day. This is due to the fact that the Shipping industry, and more importantly the Seafarers, have been on the front line of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Established in 2010, The Day of the Seafarer was a resolution adopted at a diplomatic conference in Manila and is an annual event day coordinated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). IMO is currently presided by the IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.
The ‘Day of the Seafarer’ is a means by which the IMO, through the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), advocates for and ensures an international standard of competency, welfare and safety for seafarers.
“More than 80% of global trade is delivered by sea. Seafarers’ work is physically and mentally demanding, lonely and remote.” said Mr. Lim. He stressed that the current pandemic has revealed an unprecedented amount of desperate challenges to the seafarers who have been unable to receive due medical attention and rest working 24/7 for months. They are the ‘un-sung’ heroes of this era.
Echoing the words of Mr. Lim, the president of the Association of German Shipowners (VDR), Mr. Alfred Hartmann, made an urgent appeal to countries that are currently preventing seafarers from getting on and off a ship: “More than 1.2 million seafarers serve on around 55,000 merchant ships worldwide. Normally, 200,000 of them change every month because their service on board ends. This system has been inactive for a quarter of a year as a result of the corona pandemic.”
In his message, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim continues to highlight the unique and essential work of seafarers. “Just like other key workers, seafarers are on the front line in this global fight. They deserve our thanks. But they also need – and deserve – quick and decisive humanitarian action from governments everywhere, not just during the pandemic, but at all times”, Mr. Lim said.