Photo: IMO

IMO: Seafarers play vital role in ensuring sustainable future for shipping

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the global maritime community have come together to mark World Maritime Day with a focus on this year’s theme: “Seafarers: At the core of shipping’s future”.

The 2021 theme was chosen as part of a year of action for seafarers, who play a vital role as key workers for global supply chains but are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This year IMO decided to launch a new annual initiative to unite the maritime community and raise awareness of the vital contribution of shipping to the world by bathing the IMO building in blue light on World Maritime Day. 

The Memorial to Seafarers, which was inaugurated 20 years ago in 2001, will be lit up at sunset, along with the IMO emblem on the building.

This symbolic effort, supported by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), will be echoed around the globe with many maritime stakeholders joining in and sharing their images and videos.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has joined IMO in its initiative to raise awareness of seafarers’ role and the importance of recognizing them as the “key workers.”

“Today is about expressing our gratitude to seafarers around the world and acknowledging that they are at the core of shipping—without seafarers there simply would be no shipping industry,” the AMSA’s Acting Chief Executive, Sachi Wimmer, commented.

Maritime Industry Australia Limited (MIAL) (formerly the Australian Shipowners Association) has also expressed solidarity with the seafarers, recognizing their crucial role in Australia’s economic development.

“As everyone with an interest in the maritime industry knows the workforce is ageing, the opportunities to train and work in the industry are reducing yet the need for qualified and experienced officers is as great as ever,” Teresa Lloyd, MIAL CEO, observed.

MIAL further emphasized that domestic and International seafarers servicing Australia have endured a lot throughout the pandemic – extended periods away from home, multiple periods in quarantine and no shore leave while working. However, they showed resilience and determination to keep the world’s economy going.

“Seafarers also facilitate domestic and international trade which directly impacts consumers and businesses around Australia and the world. Without these skills, Australia’s maritime industry suffers, and parts of the economy become seriously compromised,” MIAL pointed out.

“Without our Australian seafarers, ships would stop, ports would close, goods would not make it into
the country and the resources sector would grind to a halt.”

As part of its efforts to put seafarers at the heart of discussions, IMO has launched a series of profiles in which seafarers express their views on their work and the future of shipping. 

The World Maritime theme for this year also links to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

It is also a continuation of, and is directly linked to, the 2020 theme “Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet” to highlight the role that seafarers will play in ensuring the sustainable future for shipping.