The International Maritime Organization designated June 25th as the International Day of the Seafarer in 2010 in order to recognize and give thanks to all the mariners at sea, ashore, active or retired. The United Nations now recognizes our special day as well. I’d say that is quite an achievement!
Having sailed for over 20 years, I understand the personal sacrifices, the hazards, the hard work and dedication it takes. Most people do not give much thought to how our food, our lumber, our medicine, our fine wines and perfumes are brought into our lives. Over 90% of our world’s goods are transported by ship across vast bodies of water. It’s the mariners out there that are responsible for the daily operations of those vessels and the safe delivery of our cargo. It’s the mariners that also deliver equipment, supplies and consumables to our fellow personnel working on offshore drilling and production platforms.
Today is also a day to provide global attention to the living and working conditions of our mariners. In the United States, our mariners have comfortable state rooms, private bathrooms, 3 main entrees to choose from at meals, including ice cream and cookies available at all times. We have rest periods that are enforced (usually), we have time off in ports and we have the opportunity to debark a vessel if necessary for a family emergency. This is not the case worldwide. For some mariners, they are treated one step above an indentured servant.
Organizations such as the Seaman’s Church Institute, http://seamenschurch.org/, The International Transport Workers’ Federation, http://www.itfseafarers.org/, and The Mission to Seafarers (or the Seaman’s Center as we used to call them), http://www.missiontoseafarers.org/ are advocates for seafarers worldwide.
In honor of our special day, Cantú Maritime Consulting would like to wish everyone a happy and safe International Day of the Seafarer 2015!