Just in case you somehow missed it, June the 25th is the Day of the Seafarer as organized by the International Maritime Organization. The campaign is now in its eleventh year and, as you also most likely know, each year the campaign has a different theme.
For the very first Day of the Seafarer (DotS) campaign the IMO asked people to use social media to thank seafarers for their contribution.
Since then, the subsequent Day of the Seafarer themes have been:
- 100 Years After the Titanic in 2012 (focusing on safety at sea)
- Faces of the Sea in 2013
- Thank You Seafarers in 2014
- A Career At Sea in 2015
- At Sea For All in 2016
- Seafarers Matter in 2017
- Seafarer Wellbeing in 2018
- I Am Onboard with Gender Equality in 2019 (You can read our blog post about this campaign here.
Meanwhile, last year’s theme was Seafarers Are Key Workers - not surprising given that the day fell just a couple of months into the start of the global pandemic. In fact the hashtag #SeafarersAreKeyWorkers is still being used on social media, especially on Twitter.
As you can see from the image above, someone used the hashtag just one hour ago (at the time of writing) on Twitter. (We’ve hidden their name and profile picture out of respect for their privacy.)
It would seem that the IMO’s Day of the Seafarer campaign and hashtags really do have the power to capture peoples’ imaginations and, hopefully, contribute to some real conversation and change.
What is the meaning behind the Day of the Seafarer?
The point of the Day of the Seafarer is to pay respect to seamen and women and to recognize the huge contribution they make to the global economy and international trade. And as we all know, this often comes at a personal cost to the seafarers themselves, as well as their families and loved ones ashore.
This is why the IMO encourages everyone connected to the maritime industry: shipping companies, shipowners, maritime institutions, shipping organizations, and even governments to help to promote the day and pay tribute to those working in seafarer jobs as they see fit.
What is the theme of the Day of the Seafarer, 2021?
As we mentioned, the pandemic was the reason behind 2020’s DotS theme, Seafarers Are Key Workers, with its aim being to urge governments to ease travel restrictions for seafarers so that crew changes could take place more easily.
The good news is, the campaign had some real influence and convinced a number of countries to take the necessary steps to ensure that seafarers could be repatriated.
But here we are a year later, and COVID-19 still continues to affect individuals, families, employees, students, large and small businesses, charities, and so many other areas. This is why the 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign is still calling for governments to show their support for seafarers, but in addition to this the IMO is also broadening their message by asking for a Fair Future for Seafarers.
While support for those working in jobs at sea is still paramount during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the 2021 campaign also incorporates issues that have the possibility of affecting seafarers after the pandemic has abated too.
In the IMO’s own words:
“The campaign will discuss issues that will still be relevant to seafarers after the pandemic, such as fair treatment of seafarers, fair working conditions (in line with ILO's Maritime Labour Convention), fair training, fair safety, etc.”
Watch the IMO’s Secretary-General Kitack Lim explain more about the campaign in this short video:
(You can also watch the same video but with Spanish subtitles here.)
How can you get involved in the Day of the Seafarer?
Whether you work for a company in the maritime industry, you’re a shipowner, a manning agent, a port organization, someone who has an interest in the shipping industry or in workers rights, or you’re actually working in a seafarer job, the IMO encourages you to use the hashtag
Seafarers can use the hashtag on social media to demonstrate what a fair future looks like for them, in their own words, while other people and companies or organizations can use it to show their support.
Find out more about the IMO Day of the Seafarer campaign 2021
Want to find out more about a Fair Future for Seafarers and the 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign?
You can catch up with the IMO’s latest tweets concerning the campaign, as well as take part in polls for seafarers to express their opinion and have their say on the future, on their Twitter account here.
If you don’t have Twitter and prefer to catch up with the Day of the Seafarer campaign on Facebook you can do that here. If scrolling through Instagram is more to your taste, you can find the IMO’s Instagram account here.
Finally, you can read more about the 2021 Day of the Seafarer campaign, view the results of previous seafarer polls, and download the DotS logos to share with your followers on social media on the IMO’s website here.
Thank you seafarers
This has been a challenging period for millions of people across the world. Lives and livelihoods have been lost and, for many, their mental and physical health has taken a hit.
One thing that has remained a constant in these uncertain times is the hard work and dedication of those who are working in seafarer jobs.
Our thanks and gratitude go out to anyone who is currently working on a vessel, especially if they have been there longer than their original contract, as well as to those seafarers who are at home and still waiting to embark so they can earn a living.
Here’s to a Fair Future for Seafarers and a healthy and safe future for all.
Eve is Martide's content writer and publishes regular posts on everything from our maritime recruitment and crew planning software to life at sea.