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UN: Officials highlight vital role of seafarers in global trade, transport

UN officials on Wednesday said seaborne trade is the engine room of the global economy, calling on people everywhere to recognize the seafarers who, with quiet dedication, keep the wheels of the world in motion.

Marking the fourth Seafarer’s Day, which aims to promote full appreciation for the work of seafarers and their role in modern societies, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said that the event underlines the importance of this type of job and stressed the challenges that seafarers face on a daily basis.

Ban, in his message, noted that “ports all around the world are busy, never-sleeping hubs where ships are ready to sail towards new destinations, with cargoes containing a great amount of people’s daily goods.”

He stated: “Without shipping, the bulk transport of vital raw materials, affordable food and
manufactured goods would simply not be possible”, stressing the role of seafarers in ensuring that the benefits of globalization can be more evenly distributed.

“Working on ships transporting cargo is often hard and challenging. Seafarers are likely to spend many hours with tough living conditions and with limited opportunities for social interaction or relaxation,” he said.

The UN chief also said that seafarer often have to deal with difficult weather conditions and with the constant threat of piracy and shipwrecking.

“Over many years, the United Nations, through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and other agencies, strove to make seafaring a safer occupation and shipping a greener and
cleaner industry. Seafarers themselves seek to implement and maintain the highest possible safety and environmental standards,” Ban said.

He also said that the maritime transport industry is central to the livelihoods of billions of people and the industry, in turn, relies on seafarers.

“Without them, international trade would grind to a halt. On the Day of the Seafarer, I ask people everywhere to recognize the seafarers who, with quiet dedication, keep the wheels of the world in motion,” he added.

In his message, IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Koji Sekimizu, said: “On the 2013 Day,
the annual campaign, led by the IMO, was particularly successful, urging people to express
appreciation for seafarers and their essential contributions to all, reaching some 300,000
Facebook users and more than 10 million people on Twitter.”

“For this year’s campaign the hashtag is #thankyouseafarer and the IMO is urging everyone to complete the sentence ‘Seafarers brought me….’ and post it on social media.

“We are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion,” Mr.Sekimizu stated.

He noted that, online platforms could be successful paths to raise awareness about the lives
of seafarers and the issues affecting their jobs and they could also spotlight the huge amounts of goods that have been delivered worldwide thanks to their hard work.

“By doing so, you will be adding your voice to the millions of others who, on this one day, take
the time to stop and thank those who work so hard, in the face of great hardship, to make our
lives better,” he concluded.

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