Global perspective Human stories

On World Day, Ban spotlights role of seafarers in meeting sustainable agenda targets

Port scenes, Antwerp, 2013. International Maritime Organization (IMO)
Port scenes, Antwerp, 2013. International Maritime Organization (IMO)

On World Day, Ban spotlights role of seafarers in meeting sustainable agenda targets

Marking the Day of the Seafarer, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the role of the shipping industry in moving forward the international agenda on sustainable development and climate change.

“The world is now embarking on carrying out twin plans for the future that have the potential to transform our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Both can be advanced through actions of the shipping industry, giving added meaning to this year's commemoration of the Day of the Seafarer,” Mr. Ban said in a message to mark the Day, which is commemorated annually on 25 June.

The Day of the Seafarer was established in 2010 to recognize the contribution made by seafarers to international seaborne trade, the world economy and global society as a whole.

The Secretary-General noted that by helping to keep the world's people clothed, fed and housed, seafarers have the potential to drive economic growth that is socially inclusive and environmentally sound.

“At the same time, we must ensure that seafarers themselves benefit from the Sustainable Development Goals. Their work can be dangerous and difficult. At sea for up to a year, they may face loneliness, isolation and exploitation. They deserve appreciation for their efforts and compensation for their labour,” Mr. Ban emphasized.

“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,” he added.

In another message to mark the Day, Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), said the Day gives the international community a chance to reflect on how much everyone relies on seafarers for most of the things they take for granted in their everyday lives.

“Over one million seafarers operate the global fleet yet billions of people depend on them for the essentials and the luxuries of life. Shipping is essential to the world – and so are seafarers,” he said.

“So, this year, on 25 June, the Day of the Seafarer, we are once again asking people everywhere to show their appreciation for the seafarers that quietly, mostly unnoticed, keep the wheels of the world in motion,” he added.

The theme for this year's Day is 'At Sea for All,' which Mr. Lim noted has a clear link with the 2016 World Maritime Day theme, Shipping: indispensable to the world, emphasizing that seafarers serve at sea not just for the shipping industry or for their own career purposes, but for everyone around the world.