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Day of the Seafarer 2023: Committed to the Oceans

Helming the sea passages of our interconnected world, seafarers skilfully chart our planet's vast oceanic expanses. They serve as our vigilant guardians, dedicated researchers, and navigators of enriching sea journeys. Each seafarer, whether ensuring the safety of passengers, overseeing the harmonious exchange of goods, or providing invaluable protection for our shores, plays a vital and often under appreciated role.

Established by a 2010 resolution at the Diplomatic Conference in Manila during the revision of the STCW Convention, the Day of the Seafarer on 25th June annually acknowledges the immense contributions made by seafarers worldwide. These unsung heroes fuel international maritime trade, bolster the global economy, and enrich civil society in a myriad of ways.

As we mark the Day of the Seafarer in 2023, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who dedicate their lives to the boundless blues. From the valiant Navies to the vigilant Coast Guards, from tenacious fishermen and passionate marine biologists, to dedicated merchant and cruise ship captains, each one is a significant contributor to the health and functioning of our marine ecosystems.

In a poignant message, Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation, emphasised the unwavering commitment seafarers have to maritime safety and marine environment protection. By virtue of their roles, seafarers not only live within but also actively work towards maintaining the vitality of our marine ecosystems – the very lifeblood of our planet.

The time is apt to honour the extraordinary role seafaring personnel play in the sphere of international trade, the world economy, and civil society. This year, the #OceansWorthProtecting campaign takes center stage, illuminating the pivotal role seafarers perform in the preservation and conservation of the marine environment. The campaign aligns seamlessly with the broader maritime theme “MARPOL at 50 – Our Commitment Continues,” thereby reaffirming the enduring commitment of our maritime workforce to the health and longevity of our oceans.

Seafarers serve as guardians of the marine environment, ensuring responsible practices that minimise pollution, protect marine life, and promote sustainability. So, whether you spend your days patrolling the waves, exploring marine life, or operating a vessel, the Day of the Seafarer celebrates you and your vital contributions to maritime industries and the preservation of our oceans.

In addition to the annual tributes, let this Day of the Seafarer 2023, also serve as an urgent appeal to every one of us who inhabit this shared planet. We must remember that the well-being of our oceans is not merely the responsibility of those who navigate their depths. The larger terrestrial community who may not bother about seafaring, also have a vital part to play. Our actions and choices on land directly impact the health of the oceans and, consequently, the work of seafarers.

Despite their significant contributions, seafarers often remain the unsung heroes, the subalterns of the global economy. We must strive to change this narrative. Let us recognize and honour their hard work, dedication, and sacrifices by not only acknowledging their role but also committing ourselves to the cause they serve - the protection and conservation of our marine environment.

In a world increasingly aware of its interconnectivity and the importance of environmental sustainability, the need for collective responsibility has never been greater. Let's pay heed to the call of our oceans. Let's echo the commitment of our seafarers by making conscious choices that reduce our impact on these vital bodies of water.

Together, let's work towards an equitable global economy that does not leave the stewards of our oceans in the shadows. Instead, let's illuminate their efforts, amplifying their voices and values in a united global chorus, for they are not merely seafarers, but also caretakers of our planet's largest and most precious resource - the oceans.

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