Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message on International Day of the Seafarer, observed on 25 June:
The world counts on seafarers. Their contribution is immeasurable. 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.
Seafarers worldwide have faced immense challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic — including contracts extended long beyond their expiry dates and maximum periods of service, and challenges related to vaccinations, medical care and shore leave.
This year’s theme — “Your Voyage, Then and Now” — is an opportunity to recognize the vital role seafarers play and look to the future.
Above all, this means listening to seafarers themselves. They know better than anyone their needs and what this industry needs to do to address key challenges. This includes the expansion of social protection, better working conditions, addressing the crew-change crisis, adopting new digital tools to enhance safety and efficiency, and making this industry greener and more sustainable.
On this International Day of the Seafarer, we renew our commitment to supporting seafarers everywhere, and honoring the knowledge, professionalism and experience they bring to this essential industry.
Photo credit: iStock/Iam Anupong