IMO Celebrates Seafarers, Highlights Safety at Sea

United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, also marked the day, lauding seafarers' critical role in ensuring the delivery of essential goods.

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Kiel, Kiel, Deutschland [Photo: Max/Unsplash]

Today, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) celebrates the International Day of the Seafarer, highlighting the vital role of seafarers in maintaining global supply chains and the importance of ensuring their safety. IMO Secretary-General Mr. Arsenio Dominguez paid tribute to the approximately 2 million seafarers who keep global markets functioning.

In his video message, Mr. Dominguez recognized the challenges faced by seafarers, stating, “Seafarers have been sorely tested in recent years – facing hostile acts from piracy or in conflict zones. I humbly acknowledge seafarers’ resilience and sacrifice in the name of work.” He underscored the essential nature of shipping in global trade, emphasizing that without seafarers, shipping would cease to exist.

United Nations’ Acknowledgment

United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, also marked the day, lauding seafarers’ critical role in ensuring the delivery of essential goods. He stated, “Seafarers are vital in ensuring a seamless flow of essential goods that eventually make it into markets, homes, and onto our tables… But their own lives have been put on the line in the face of grave threats. Let us together salute them for their essential work and support their safety.”

Addressing Attacks in the Red Sea

The IMO highlighted the recent spate of attacks on ships in the Red Sea, a consequence of ongoing geopolitical tensions. Since November 2023, these attacks have resulted in multiple casualties and injuries among seafarers. Mr. Dominguez called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Galaxy Leader and its crew, who have been held for more than eight months. “On this Day of the Seafarer, let us remember those who have lost their lives while simply doing their jobs, serving on these ships. Their dedication and sacrifice must not be overlooked. Attacks on the innocent can never be justified, and I will continue to advocate incessantly for the safety and well-being of seafarers,” he asserted.

Social Media Campaign for Safety at Sea

In an effort to raise awareness about seafarers’ safety, the IMO launched a social media campaign, encouraging seafarers to share photos and safety tips using the hashtag #SafetyTipsAtSea on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, X, and Instagram.

Ms. KC Abigail Chin-Sood, a seafarer from the Philippines, shared her advice for women in the sector: “Safety at sea involves not only adhering to the highest standards of work safety but also, for women, establishing and maintaining clear boundaries with male colleagues. Preserving your dignity on board is crucial for ensuring your personal safety. By maintaining professionalism and setting boundaries, you can protect yourself from potential scandals and preserve your mental well-being, contributing to a safer and more positive experience on the ship.”

Mr. Yrhen Bernard Sabanal Balinis, also from the Philippines, emphasized the importance of communication: “Communication is key onboard ships. Whether it be anchoring, pilot boarding, or mooring, the officers need keen situational awareness to ensure that things are running safely… But effective shipboard communication is not only limited to those. Is a crewmate feeling down, homesick, or anxious? Is abruptly agitated or constantly isolated? Has their performance drastically plummeted? Tactful communication plays an instrumental role in seafarers’ psychological safety.”

Join the Conversation

The IMO invites organizations, shipping companies, and the wider maritime community to join the conversation and show support for seafarers by using the hashtag #SafetyTipsAtSea.

On this International Day of the Seafarer, the IMO reiterates its commitment to advocating for the safety and well-being of seafarers worldwide, acknowledging their indispensable contribution to global trade and economy.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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