At special vote of thanks was sent to seafarers around the world to mark today’s Day of the Seafarer, a United Nations observance event held annually on 25 June.
Speaking at special celebrations hosted by the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) in Manila, IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim called for worldwide “appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion".
Also present at the event, attended by more than 2,000 seafarers and their families, was Gerardo Borromeo, vice chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). He highlighted how seafarers are often called upon to “take on other extraordinary tasks, beyond the call of normal duty” such as the rescue of migrants at sea, which he said had reached crisis proportions in the Mediterranean.
“Many seafarers have now been involved in large-scale rescue operations, saving the lives of thousands of people and witnessing great suffering,” he pointed out, reminding that “seafarers are civilians, they are not professional rescue personnel.”
Borromeo stressed that while the political situation surrounding migration is hugely complex, ICS will continue to urge governments to do more to solve the crisis.
Elsewhere, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon commented: “On this Day of the Seafarer, let us advance the work of those who make shipping possible in a way that promotes our global vision of a life of dignity and opportunity for all.”