Day of the Seafarer 2017
June 26, 2017 - 8:20am

International Day of the Seafarer was designated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2010 as a way to recognize the contribution made by the world’s seafarers. Almost everything that we use and need in our daily lives is directly or indirectly affected by sea transport. Every year on 25 June, we take a moment to express our thanks to the World’s 1,2 million seafarers for their contribution to the world economy and our economic and social well-being.  

Seafarers are essential to our daily lives transporting more than 80 per cent of global trade by ships to people and communities all over the world. Seafarers are responsible for the operations of ships and the safe and smooth delivery of the cargo. Day of the Seafarer not only acknowledges the invaluable work of seafarers, but also aims to bring global attention to the issues affecting their work and lives, including issues relating to their working and living conditions, abandonment, criminalization, piracy and their bravery and the risks they face in rescue at sea. On this important day, governments are urged to develop and implement policies that lead to fair treatment of seafarers at sea and in port, and calls on shipowners to ensure that seafarers benefit from and enjoy the rights contained in the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, including its amendments of 2016.

President Doumbia-Henry stated:  “This year’s theme, ‘Seafarers Matter’ is a clarion call and a reminder of the indispensable role seafarers play to make shipping possible and to enable us to enjoy the living standards we have today, whether they work in the merchant marine or on cruise ships. Seafarers make possible the luxuries we enjoy and often take for granted, from vacations to the transport of the food we eat, to the gas and oil we require and the technological devices that we rely on. These things are all made available and affordable thanks to the role seafarers play in making shipping possible. The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006, including its amendments of 2016, aims to ensure full coverage of seafarers worldwide with global standards providing rights at work and labour and social protection. Important amendments now provide additional protection for seafarers against harassment and bullying as well as financial security for claims for death and injury arising out of their employment and cover repatriation in the event of abandonment. Further, I am pleased that the ILO Conference in 2016 adopted amendments to the Annexes of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 2003, (No.185) to align the seafarers’ identity document with the specifications of ICAO’s E-Passports, using facial images in a contactless chip. This will facilitate seafarers’ access to shore leave, transit through airports and ports, transfer and repatriation back home at the end of their contract of employment. It is critical to ensure the sustainability of world trade and that the relevant IMO and ILO Conventions are universally ratified and importantly implemented in law and in practice. This will ensure that a true level playing field exists so that we can continue to attract and retain seafarers for this vital industry – shipping in its broadest sense of the term.”

Over 30 percent of WMU faculty and students have seafaring experience. IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, is a former seafarer and also an alumnus of WMU. The Secretary-General’s Day of the Seafarer 2017 message can be viewed here. Seafarers inspire the work of the University in serving the global maritime community through education, research and capacity building. WMU’s Maritime Education and Training specialization is also designed to train maritime educators, including in accordance with the STCW requirements.

More information about Day of the Seafarer can be found on IMO’s website.

Last updated date

February 15, 2018

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