MARITIME | International Day of the Seafarer recognises maritime workers’ contribution to trade

From the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), 2011.06.23

A global campaign to mark seafarers’ important role in trade and the global economy has been launched in the form of the first ever International Day of the Seafarer on 25 June.

The decision to establish 25 June as International Day of the Seafarer was taken at a diplomatic conference in Manila, Philippines, where milestone revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) and its associated code were adopted. Delegates agreed that seafarers’ unique contribution to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole should be marked annually with a “day of the seafarer”. The date chosen, 25 June, was the day on which the amendments to the STCW convention were formally adopted.

The campaign emphasises the fact that shipping is responsible for the carriage of more than 90 per cent of world trade, and that it is the world’s 1.5 million seafarers who help deliver the essential items and commodities on which our lives depend.

An innovative web-based and social media campaign forms the centrepiece of the campaign, which has already garnered support from industry partners, seafarers’ groups and many more.

The initiative takes place against a backdrop of reports that seafarers are facing increasing violence through piracy – according to the shipping industry’s Save Our Seafarers campaign 62 seafarers have died over the past four years as a direct result of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. This has led to a greater emphasis on a worldwide call for government action to tackle the issue.

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