The Day of the Seafarer is a pretty new phenomenon, having started only a few years ago. Here is the IMO’s description of its purpose:
• to increase awareness among the general public of the indispensable services you render to international seaborne trade, the world economy and society at large;
• to send a clear message to you that we recognize and appreciate your services; that we understand the extraordinary conditions and circumstances of your profession; that we do care about you; and that we do all that we can to look after and protect you when the circumstances of your life at sea so warrant; and
• to redouble our efforts at the regulatory level to create a better, safer and more secure world in which you can operate.
What is certain is that whether we’re recognized and appreciated, cared about and protected - or not - that seamen will continue to operate below the level of the average person’s consciousness. We can’t hope to raise the general level of awareness much.
But we can try to take care of each other. We can refuse to take part in the exploitation of other seamen. We can honor those who honor our profession and work to make it safer, such as the bloggers linked to above, and many others like them. We can work for the freedom of the 70 seamen still held captive in Somalia. And we can work for justice for the poor and powerless everywhere - a pair of adjectives that too often describe seamen themselves.
Did you celebrate Day of the Seafarer, or mark it in any way? Did you follow the Twitter stream or the YouTube videos? Let us know your opinion in Comments!