Nobody can say with any certainty exactly how many seafarers have visited a port like Bremerhaven over the years. What is certain, however, is that seafarers have left a mark on the ports, the cities and the inhabitants. Bearing this in mind, it is all the more remarkable that a Day of the Seafarer was not inaugurated until just a few years ago.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) first announced a Day of the Seafarer in 2010. In that year it fell on June 25. The idea behind the initiative was to draw attention to the important role played by seafarers in mankind's co-existence worldwide. A further goal was to bring seafarers with their stories and experiences into closer contact with local people, something which is usually difficult to realise today due to the heavy workload on board and the extremely short turnaround times.
Against this background, it was decided to mark this special day in Bremerhaven with a celebration at the Seamen's Club, organised jointly by the German Seamen's Mission, the Bremerhaven Nautical Association, Eurogate, the port management authority bremenports, and the Bremen Senator for Economic Affairs, Labour and Ports. As well as a barbecue and sports events, it also provided an opportunity for seafarers and locals to rub shoulders with each other. In addition, a new service was introduced for crew members. Visitors at the Seamen's Club can now borrow bicycles free of charge for transport into town. This gives them more mobility during their short free time in port. The service was made possible only through donations, and first trial runs indicate that it will be a popular attraction in future.
The celebration itself was attended by about seventy seafarers from various vessels and just as many invited guests. At a rough estimate, these seamen represent a small cross-section of about 25 million seafarers who have called at Bremerhaven in the course of its relatively short history.* And so a celebration of the Day of the Seafarer in Bremerhaven was long overdue.
Everybody involved agreed that the party was a success, and it is highly likely that it will be repeated next year.
* The Draper was the first ship to call at the newly established port of Bremerhaven in 1830. The port is visited by an average of 18 vessels per day. Based on an average crew size of twenty, this equates roughly to a total of about 25 million seafarers.
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Iven Krämer