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The Importance of the Day of Seafarer IMO

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Muzammail Baig

The Day of the Seafarer was established on 25 June in a resolution adopted by the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila to adopt the revised STCW Convention. This day aims to recognize the exceptional contribution made by seafarers from across the globe to international seaborne trade, the global economy, and civil society as a whole.

The resolution urges Governments, shipping organizations, companies, shipowners, and all relevant parties to actively promote the Day of the Seafarer and take meaningful actions to celebrate it appropriately. It is a day recognized by the United Nations as an observance day, highlighting the vital role of seafarers in the functioning of the global trade and economy.

The International Day of the Seafarer is an annual observance that highlights the vital role of seafarers in international shipping and the global economy. Designated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Day of the Seafarer, celebrated on June 25th each year, serves as an opportunity to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of seafarers to world trade and acknowledge the challenging conditions they often face.

Seafarers, with their unwavering dedication and hard work, are the backbone of global trade, as approximately 90% of the world’s goods are transported by sea. Their labor and expertise are not just essential, but they are the very reason maritime commerce functions smoothly, sustaining the interconnectedness of economies worldwide. The Day of the Seafarer is a platform to express profound gratitude to these individuals for their resilience and commitment, which drive the wheels of international trade.

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Furthermore, the observance serves as a reminder of the hardships and unique circumstances faced by seafarers during their time at sea. Often spending months away from their families and loved ones, seafarers endure isolation and challenging working conditions, including long working hours that can exceed 12 hours a day, mental health issues due to the stress and pressure of the job, and a lack of access to immediate medical care in case of emergencies. The nature of their profession demands resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to ensuring the safe and efficient transportation of goods across the world’s oceans.

Recognizing the importance of seafarers is not just about expressing gratitude; it’s about advocating for their rights, welfare, and well-being. The IMO and other organizations use the occasion of the Day of the Seafarer to raise awareness of the urgent need to improve working conditions, protect the rights of seafarers, and address issues such as mental health and access to medical care while at sea. It also provides a platform to emphasize the importance of promoting diversity and inclusion within the maritime industry, ensuring equal opportunities for seafarers regardless of gender, ethnicity, or nationality.

Amid global challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, seafarers have faced unprecedented difficulties, including crew changeovers that have been delayed or cancelled, travel restrictions that have left many stranded at sea for extended periods, and limited access to essential services such as medical care and supplies. The Day of the Seafarer offers an opportunity to acknowledge these challenges and advocate for measures to mitigate the impact on seafarers, such as facilitating crew repatriation, ensuring access to vaccines, and recognizing seafarers as essential workers deserving of support and protection.

Moreover, the International Day of the Seafarer serves to inspire future generations to consider careers in the maritime industry. By highlighting the significance of seafarers and their contributions, the observance promotes greater recognition and respect for this essential workforce. It also encourages investment in training, education, and career development opportunities within the maritime sector, which offers a wide range of career paths including navigation, engineering, logistics, and maritime law, among others.

In conclusion, the International Day of the Seafarer holds great significance in acknowledging the indispensable role of seafarers in global trade and maritime operations. It serves as a platform to honor their dedication, promote awareness of their needs and challenges, advocate for their rights, and inspire a new generation of seafarers to sustain the vital contributions of this essential workforce to the interconnected global economy.

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