Day of the Seafarer: The world counts on seafarers, says Guterres

UN urges action against $50bn illegal funds from Africa

The United Nations has underlined its support for the men and women working at sea, whose immeasurable contributions help to keep global trade moving.

In his message to mark the Day of the Seafarer on Saturday, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted both their critical role, as well as the challenges they face.

The theme of the 2022 Day of the Seafarer is “Your voyage – then and now, share your journey”. It invites seafarers across the globe to share images and information about what truly resonates with them – whether a positive experience or challenging circumstances.

“The world counts on seafarers,” Guterres said. “Ships transport a remarkable 90 per cent of the world’s commodities — from grains and energy, to consumer goods and much more. Without ships and the women and men who work on them, economies would stall and people would starve.”

He said seafarers despite their contributions to the global economy, seafarers have faced immense challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN chief listed some of these issues, which include contracts extended long beyond their expiry dates and maximum periods of service, and problems related to vaccinations, medical care and shore leave.

Also speaking, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, urged countries to designate seafarers as key workers. He said without seafarers, there would be no shipping.

The theme for this year’s international day celebrates maritime journeys and voyages, providing a chance “to recognize and pay tribute to seafarers everywhere, whatever their voyage”, he said.

As part of an IMO campaign, seafarers from around the globe are using social media to share images and information about what truly resonates with them, whether a positive experience or challenging circumstances.

“Shipping and the call of the oceans, form a way of life,” said Mr. Lim. “It is a meaningful, important career that provides a solid foundation for life and offers endless opportunities to learn and progress.”

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