This year’s World Maritime Day theme, “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future” seeks to put the spotlight on seafarers by highlighting the important role they play in the maritime world now, as well as in the uncertain future.
On the occasion of World Maritime Day, we must appreciate the work being done to take care of our shipping needs in both the cargo and cruise industries. International shipping transports approximately 90 percent of global trade to people and communities all over the world.
The occasion of Maritime Day makes us cognisant of the fact that it is because of seafarers that the world has become such a closely knit community, and highlights that it would have been a different place without the maritime sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on seafarers, with many of them having to remain on board way beyond their intended engagement periods, unable to be able to see their loved ones due to travel restrictions. This pandemic has placed the maritime world in an unprecedented position of operating in very precarious environments, and has brought about new challenges of great proportions not seen for many a generation. This is coming at a time when the importance of maintaining standards-including the safety of life at sea that is guaranteed under the SOLAS convention, seafarers’ wellbeing, and the importance of ensuring an appropriately trained and qualified workforce, ready to meet the new challenges and opportunities of digitalisation and automation cannot be underscored.
We must consolidate our efforts in this new and challenging era with more emphasis on new technology and innovation, education and training, safety and security, traffic management and the development of the maritime infrastructure:
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has requested that we light up our buildings, in particular the ports, bridges, monuments, museums and other emblematic landmarks, in the IMO/maritime blue on every World Maritime Day from now on, beginning with this yearʹs celebration. Let us celebrate the occasion of World Maritime Day by expressing our gratitude towards marine workers who are making our lives easier. Best wishes on World Maritime Day 2021 to all seafarers, and all stakeholders in the maritime sector, right here in Guyana and the world over.