Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have unanimously agreed that the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole, should be marked annually with a ‘Day of the Seafarer’.
A Diplomatic Conference in Manila, the Philippines, meeting to adopt major revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code (See briefing 32/2010), also adopted a resolution nominating 25 June of each year hereafter as the ‘Day of the Seafarer’. The date chosen was that on which the STCW revisions were adopted and acknowledges their significance for the maritime community and those who serve it on board ships.
The resolution encourages Governments, shipping organizations, companies, shipowners and all other parties concerned to duly and appropriately promote the Day of the Seafarer.
In another resolution, on ‘The Year of the Seafarer’, the Conference expressed its appreciation of IMO for its timely and appropriate decision to dedicate the current year to seafarers, again expressing deep appreciation and gratitude to all seafarers, as well as to maritime pilots, vessel traffic services operators, seafarer welfare organizations and all others who contribute to assisting ships and seafarers to enter, stay at, or leave ports and offshore terminals and to navigate through hazardous waters safely and with due care for the marine environment.
The resolution urged Governments, shipping organizations and companies and all other parties concerned to promote seafaring as a career choice for young persons and encourage those already in the profession to continue serving the industry.
The resolution also recognized the enormous risks seafarers shoulder in the execution of their daily tasks and duties in an often hostile environment, while spending long periods of their professional life at sea away from their families and friends.
Expressing concern regarding reported instances in which seafarers were unfairly treated when their ships were involved in accidents; were abandoned in foreign ports; were refused shore leave for security purposes; and were subjected to serious risks while their ships were sailing through piracy-infested areas and to potentially harmful treatment while in the hands of pirates, the resolution urged action from Governments, shipping organizations and companies and all other parties concerned, working together under the auspices of IMO and ILO, to address these issues.
In particular, they are urged to promote and implement, as widely and effectively as possible:
- the IMO/ILO Guidelines on the fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident;
- the IMO/ILO Guidelines on provision of financial security in case of abandonment of seafarers; and
- the IMO/ILO Guidelines on shipowners’ responsibilities in respect of contractual claims for personal injury to, or death of, seafarers.
The resolution also urges Governments and the shipping industry to implement maritime security related provisions, including the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code; the Guidelines adopted and promulgated by IMO to prevent and suppress acts of piracy and robbery against ships; and the so-called SUA treaties for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (1988 SUA Convention and 1988 SUA Protocol, as amended by the 2005 SUA Protocols), in a manner that, while ensuring that maximum protection is afforded to seafarers, does not subject them to any unfair treatment and unnecessary inconvenience.
Governments are also urged to ratify, accept, approve or accede to, and thereafter effectively implement, the 2006 Maritime Labour Convention.
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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