​​World Maritime Day 2021 - Webinar exploring the theme "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future"

World Maritime Day – 30 September 2021

Webinar exploring the theme "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future".

Hear from four seafarers about the following topics: diversity, safety, crew change and the environment.

Opening remarks by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO


Excellencies, distinguished guests, attendees and, most importantly, seafarers from around the globe, 

Happy World Maritime Day!

We celebrate World Maritime Day at a very challenging time in the history of mankind.

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought tremendous hardships for seafarers. We need seafarers and they need our support. IMO, in cooperation with all stakeholders, has been working hard to resolve issues such as crew change, access to medical care and vaccination for seafarers.

These issues are close to my heart - as a former seafarer myself – and I will continue to push for seafarers to be recognized as key workers; in the interests of global trade and the economy  . I will continue to advocate for the removal of travel barriers that prevent timely and safe crew changes; I will encourage all nations to both vaccinate their national seafarers and provide vaccinations for those international seafarers entering their ports.  

Today, however marks a very important day for all of us and most especially our seafarers so even though times are difficult, and the challenges persist we must use this day to highlight the maritime sector and the importance of seafarers. This year we have chosen as our theme "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future".

It is my great pleasure to welcome you to this event which puts seafarers where they rightfully should be – at the center of our focus. We have today four seafarers who will share with you their experiences and their views on several topics, in particular, on safety, diversity, crew change and the environment.

I believe this may be the first time we have hosted this kind of panel comprised solely of seafarers – but I truly believe it will not be the last. We must listen and we must learn.

This year we have been working to put seafarers at the core of shipping's future.

Shipping drives world trade and that trade simply does not happen without seafarers.

While the challenges of automation and digitalization - not to mention decarbonization - will drive change in shipping, we will always need well-trained and motivated seafarers. We must ensure a diverse and expert workforce for the ships of the twenty-first century and beyond.

We need to do more for seafarers to resolve the ongoing issues during the pandemic.

But we also need a broader conversation beyond the pandemic. The human element in shipping is, and always will be, critical.

How can we do more?

What can we do better?

Seafarers' welfare is an essential component which ensures accidents and pollution are prevented and guarantees that the IMO regulatory regime truly ensures shipping is safe, sustainable, and secure shipping.

I look forward to hearing seafarers today: Ayse ("Aye – sha"); Yrhen ("Urr-hen"); Marwa ("Mar-vah"); Thomas.

Thank you so much for being here today and really putting seafarers at our core – today on World Maritime Day.

And thank you to all our attendees from across the oceans. I really look forward to the insightful discussions.

Thank you.