Day of the Seafarer 2016


In 2010, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), designated 25 June as the International Day of the Seafarer as a way to recognize that almost everything that we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly affected by sea transport. The purpose of the day is to thank seafarers for their contribution to the world economy and the civil society, and to acknowledge the risks they take and personal costs they bear while at sea.

This year’s theme is “At Sea For All” which links to the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, "Shipping: indispensable to the world", emphasizing how essential to our daily lives seafarers are. International shipping transports more than 90 per cent of global trade to peoples and communities all over the world.

Marking this important day, the President of the World Maritime University (WMU), Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, stated: “As we celebrate this day, I think of the 1.2 million seafarers worldwide who make world trade possible, our daily lives so comfortable, including, the food we eat, the coffee, tea and other beverages we drink, the cars we drive, the oil and gas that keep us warm during the winter, light our homes and businesses and the mobile phones and computers that we cannot do without today. Seafarers are far from sight and spend many months at sea away from families and friends. While technology is making it easier for us to communicate, many seafarers still do not have access to the Internet while at sea. We also think not only of those whom we know as traditional seafarers, but also of the many seafarers who work on cruise ships that make our holidays so enjoyable. Today, I am very proud and pleased that 77 countries have ratified the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 to date, representing 91 per cent of the world gross tonnage of ships. This means that we are getting closer to full coverage of seafarers worldwide with global standards providing rights at work and labour and social protection to all. This is truly phenomenal. I am heartened that the first set of amendments to the MLC, 2006, which provide for financial security for claims for death and injury arising out of their employment and cover repatriation in the event of abandonment, is expected to enter into force in early 2017. In addition, amendments approved by the International Labour Conference of the ILO in June 2016, just a few days ago, provide additional protection for seafarers against harassment and bullying. I am also pleased that the ILO Conference adopted amendments to the Annexes of the Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention, 2003, (No.185) to align the seafarers’ identity document with the specifications of ICAO’s E-Passports, using facial images in a contactless chip. This will facilitate seafarers’ access to shore leave, transit through airports and ports, transfer and repatriation back home at the end of their contract of employment.”

At WMU, seafarers inspire the work we do in serving the global maritime community through education, research and capacity building. Over 30 percent of our faculty and students have seafaring experience. WMU’s Maritime Education and Training specialization is also designed to train maritime educators, inlcuding in accordance with the STCW requirements.

Seafarers are responsible for the operations of ships and the safe and smooth delivery of the cargo. Day of the Seafarer not only acknowledges the invaluable work of seafarers, but also aims to bring global attention to the issues affecting their work and lives, and issues such as piracy and their bravery and risks they face in rescue at sea, including with the recent wave of migrants at sea. It calls on governments to develop policies that lead to fair treatment of seafarers at ports, and asks private ship companies and owners to provide their employees with proper facilities and comforts while they are at sea.

More information about Day of the Seafarer and the annual social media campaign, as well as an interactive quiz, can be found here on IMO’s website.

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