IMO Briefing 23/2014, 25 June 2014: June 25th marks the international Day of the Seafarer, an official United Nations observance day which provides an opportunity for everyone to show their appreciation, through social media, for the world’s 1.5 million seafarers who face hardship and danger every day to keep the global economy afloat.
Long hours of work in all weathers and separation from family and friends for weeks or months at a time are the backdrop to a seafarer’s life on board ship, all the while carrying out a hugely responsible job to transport the 9.2 billion tons of goods which are loaded in ports worldwide per year.
Speaking from one of Europe’s busiest ports, Hamburg, Germany, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu, in his annual Day of the Seafarer message, urged people, everywhere, to join in the #thankyouseafarers campaign.
“On June 25th, the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion,” Mr. Sekimizu said.
“All you need to do is complete the sentence “Seafarers brought me….” and post it on social media. Think of something you own and which came by sea. Whether it’s the car you drive, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the gadgets you use or the furniture you sit on, write it down and post it, adding the hashtag ‘#thankyouseafarer’. If you can also post a photo or video, even better.
“By doing so, you will be adding your voice to the millions of others who, on this one day, take the time to stop and thank those who work so hard, in the face of great hardship, to make our lives better. So, ‘Thank you, seafarers’,” Mr. Sekimizu said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also highlighted the Day of the Seafarer, noting the status of seaborne trade as the engine room of the global economy.
“Without shipping, the bulk transport of vital raw materials, affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible. Keeping that engine running smoothly are nearly 1.5 million seafarers, many of whom hail from the developing world. Every day, they face hardship and danger to keep our global economy afloat and help ensure that the benefits of globalization can be more evenly distributed,” Mr. Ban said.
“The maritime transport industry is central to the livelihoods of billions of people; and the industry, in turn, relies on seafarers. Without them, international trade would grind to a halt. On the Day of the Seafarer, I ask people everywhere to recognize the seafarers who, with quiet dedication, keep the wheels of the world in motion,” Mr. Ban said.
Day of the Seafarer campaign message
At the heart of this year’s campaign is the simple sentence “Seafarers brought me….”. IMO is inviting everyone to completing the sentence with a word of their choice and post it on social media, adding the hashtag “#thankyouseafarers”. The missing word can be anything that came by sea: from the cars people drive, the food people eat, the clothes people wear, the gadgets they use or the furniture they sit on.
IMO is encouraging use of all social media to spread the campaign but the major focus will be on Twitter and Facebook. The campaign’s own Twitter handle is @seafarerday and the IMO handle @IMOHQ, can also be used. The campaign hashtag is “#thankyouseafarers”.
Day of the Seafarer background
In 2010, comprehensive revisions to update and revise IMO’s international convention on seafarer training, the STCW Convention, and its associated code, were adopted at a Diplomatic Conference in Manila, Philippines. That conference also agreed that the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world 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 was 25 June, the day on which the landmark amendments were formally adopted.
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