Day of the Seafarer highlights role in ocean protection

(LONDON) — The urgent need to protect the world’s oceans and the habitats within them is, nowadays, well understood. So, too, is the need for a sustainable shipping industry to ensure the essential transportation of goods and commodities across the globe, and of passengers.

Hundreds of thousands of seafarers bear witness every day to changes in the marine environment due to human activity – including from shipping. Those same seafarers are a key part of the solution through their implementation of vital International Maritime Organization (IMO) rules and regulations developed and adopted to care for the oceans and the planet, while ensuring the safety of shipping.

Seafarers’ contribution in safeguarding the marine environment is highlighted on the annual Day of the Seafarer. The day is marked each year on June 25 to recognize the unique part played in international trade, the world economy and civil society by this seaborne workforce.

Protecting the world’s oceans

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), the main global treaty for the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. This year’s Day of the Seafarer reflects the 2023 World Maritime theme: “MARPOL at 50 – Our Commitment Goes On.”

It emphasizes IMO’s long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping – and its ongoing commitment to the important work done through this crucial treaty.

In his message for Day of the Seafarer 2023, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim underlined the part seafarers have in conserving the state of the oceans, as the maritime sector works toward making shipping more environmentally sound and sustainable.

“Seafarers have always played a critical role in helping to protect the health of our ocean and planet, and that role is increasingly important,” Lim said. “Every day at sea, they help to enforce IMO’s environment related treaties by implementing rules on garbage, and sewage, and air pollution prevention.

“This year, as we celebrate the 50-year anniversary of our main environmental instrument – the MARPOL Convention – renewing our firm commitment toward the protection of our environment, this remains even more relevant.

“As the shipping industry accelerates its support of the global efforts to combat climate change by moving toward decarbonization, seafarers’ voices and actions are key to ensuring a just transition to a zero-carbon future,” Lim concluded.

Celebrating seafarers on social media

To highlight that the marine environment is worth protecting, IMO is inviting seafarers to mark Day of the Seafarer 2023 by sharing on social media photographs of themselves wherever they are at sea. The idea is that the world sees through their eyes how the vital work they undertake protects the oceans every day.

Others within the maritime industry and the wider public are also encouraged to take part in the social media campaign to show their appreciation for seafarers.

The 2023 social media hashtag is #OceansWorthProtecting.

– International Maritime Organization

By Rich Miller