Maritime sector around the world celebrates Day of the Seafarer 2023

June 26, 2023
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The seafaring workforce was celebrated and uplifted across the maritime sector yesterday on Day of the Seafarer, with IMO's 2023 theme focusing on the vital contribution of seafarers in protecting the marine environment.

The urgent need to protect the world's oceans and the habitats within them is, nowadays, well understood. So, too, is the need for a sustainable shipping industry to ensure the essential transportation of goods and commodities across the globe, and of passengers.

Hundreds of thousands of seafarers bear witness every day to changes in the marine environment due to human activity – including from shipping. Those same seafarers are a key part of the solution through their implementation of vital IMO rules and regulations developed and adopted to care for the oceans and the planet, whilst ensuring the safety of shipping.

Seafarers' contribution in safeguarding the marine environment is being highlighted on the annual Day of the Seafarer. The Day is marked each year on 25 June to recognise the unique part played in international trade, the world economy and civil society by this seaborne workforce.

Protecting the world’s oceans

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the main global treaty for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. This year's Day of the Seafarer reflects the 2023 World Maritime theme: 'MARPOL at 50 – Our commitment goes on'.

It emphasizes IMO's long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping – and its ongoing commitment to the important work done through this crucial treaty.

In his message for Day of the Seafarer 2023, IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, underlined the part seafarers have in conserving the state of the oceans, as the maritime sector works towards making shipping more environmentally sound and sustainable.

Mr Lim said:

'Seafarers have always played a critical role in helping to protect the health of our ocean and planet, and that role is increasingly important. Every day at sea, they help to enforce IMO's environment related treaties by implementing rules on garbage, and sewage, and air pollution prevention.

'This year, as we celebrate the 50-year anniversary of our main environmental instrument – the MARPOL Convention - renewing our firm commitment towards the protection of our environment, this remains even more relevant.

'As the shipping industry accelerates its support of the global efforts to combat climate change by moving towards decarbonization, seafarers' voices and actions are key to ensuring a just transition to a zero-carbon future.'

Watch a video of the Secretary-General's message here.

ISWAN marks Day of the Seafarer

The International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) launched a survey on Day of the Seafarer which seeks to understand the impact that the rapid technological changes to decarbonise maritime are having on seafarers’ job satisfaction and wellbeing at sea. Read more here.

ISWAN's team in the Philippines hosted a booth at the ITF Seafarers' Expo in Manila from 23-25 June. As well as providing a free, fun day out for seafarers and their families, the event aimed to inform and educate actively working seafarers about their rights, how to stay happy and healthy on board, and the key local and international support organisations available to help them in times of need.

The ISWAN team at the ITF Seafarers' Expo in Manila

On social media in the weeks leading up to Day of the Seafarer, ISWAN held an Instagram Reels challenge for seafarers with the theme '#SeasTheMoment: Unleash your social voyage'. As part of ISWAN's Social Interaction Matters (SIM) Project, which has been exploring what helps bring crews together, ISWAN asked seafarers to share videos of how their crew socialise on board, with the winning entry receiving a prize of £200.

The winning video by Edmar Rosales Ogao-ogao can be found below, and the top six entries can all be viewed on ISWAN's Instagram page.

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