Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Maritime and Seafarers Organisations Ask Supply Chain Partners for Support

Day of the Seafarer and Sea Sunday both Celebrate and Remember Those Who Work on the Ocean
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – Today marks the third international Day of the Seafarer, an official United Nations observance day, whilst the 14th July will see churches holding a Sea Sunday to consider and assist all seafarers. This year, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is celebrating today with a social media campaign calling on all supply chain partners, including those beyond the shipping and maritime sector, to help highlight the sheer diversity and scale of products used in everyday life that travel by sea, and to recognise the importance of the people that deliver them, more than 1.5 million seafarers. In his annual Day of the Seafarer message, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said:

“Seafarers operate on the ‘front line’ of the shipping industry, and this year’s campaign theme, ‘Faces of the Sea’, aims to highlight the individuals that are often unseen, but who work to deliver more than 90% of the world’s goods. We will ask the seafarers themselves to show us snapshots of their daily life at sea, to give them a voice and share their story on a global stage, via social media.

“2013 is a landmark year for the seafaring community as the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006) enters into force in August. This marks significant progress in the recognition of seafarers’ roles and the need to safeguard their well-being and working conditions.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also highlighted the Day of the Seafarer, with a special message urging everyone to remember the contribution of seafarers to world trade and development. He commented:

“On the Day of the Seafarer, I urge everyone to spare a thought for those courageous seafarers, men and women from all corners of the world, who face danger and tough working conditions to operate today’s complex, highly technical ships, every hour of every day of the year and on whom we all depend.”

‘Faces of the Sea’ is a campaign that harnesses the power of social media to raise awareness of seafarers and their unique role. Everyone can join the campaign online by posting a picture of their favourite product brought by sea, or upload a seafarer image on Facebook, and say ‘Thank you Seafarers’; tweet a message to @IMOHQ and @SeafarerDay using hashtag #thankyouseafarer; watch and share videos on Youtube.com/IMOHQ

The big day for the ocean travellers of the world comes just a week after the Reverend Andrew Wright was officially installed as Secretary General to the Mission to Seafarers, the charitable trust which has been offering comfort and support to seamen since 1856.

Now with a presence in over 250 ports Revd. Wrights sees his task as consolidating the Mission’s position and, before an audience of industry stalwarts and mission trustees attending the Baltic Exchange to welcome him officially in his new role, he thanked those in attendance for coming and said:

“Being new to The Mission to Seafarers I am very keen to build relationships across the shipping industry. Few industries across the world can have quite as complex and expansive a web of supporting and linked organisations, some of whom are represented by you here today. As will become apparent we need your advice, we need your constructive criticism, we need your friendship and we need your support. We are grateful to so many of you for making space for us at your tables and generously offering us a chair, it is not only the shipping industry which has so many tables, the world of maritime charities can seem equally complex.

“The expansion of charities is completely out of kilter with the strength of the economy and of the wealth creating sector. At a time of considerable economic difficulty the growth in charities combines with austerity to make for a very difficult environment in which to raise funds. In addition charities, like many organisations, have to ask very hard questions. At what point do they cease to be focussed on making a real difference in the lives of their beneficiaries and rather become focussed on sustaining themselves, this can be a real danger.”

At this point Revd. Wright went on to commit the Mission to three assurances, firstly that all involved would stay focused on meeting the welfare needs of seafarers in their many different forms. Secondly that the organisation would not stand still but develop appropriate to the needs of those it sets out to assist, and finally he would strive to work together with the other maritime missions and charities to try and ensure strong mutual partnership, with the best of communication and the avoidance of unnecessarily duplicating activity.

The Mission to Seafarers is to embark upon a new Global Review, its first since 2007, to ensure that its work is properly targeted and that resources are spread appropriately with welfare services being developed where necessary. Revd. Wright also highlighted the need to develop what he calls the ‘Trade Journey’, intended to extend the FairTrade project into the supply chain, no matter the cargo, plus the ever present need to raise funds to continue the organisation’s good works.

In other Mission news the 14th July has been designated Sea Sunday, when churches around the world come together to remember seafarers and pray for them, their families and those who support them. As well as raising money to help those who work at sea, the day is celebrated with services, parades and ship blessings.

Interested parties who wish to collect for this worthwhile cause can download information and donation leaflets HERE.

 Photo: The Revd. Andrew Wright addresses his audience at the Baltic Exchange.