Every year on June 25, the global maritime community celebrates the International Day of the Seafarer which is a significant recognition of the contribution of men and women who sail the ships of the world bringing energy, food, equipment and various commodities to sustain our lives and livelihood. Ships conduct 90% of global trade which drives the world’s economy.
Jamaica joins the rest of the world in recognizing the value and worth of seafarers who operate the ships under very arduous conditions of weather and remain for long periods away from home while the average person is unaware of the contribution being made every day by them. The theme of this year’s International Seafarers Day,”SEAFARERS MATTER” is therefore very appropriate in bringing the message of these professionals to the average person who takes for granted, the availability of electricity, mobile phones, motorcars, food of every kind, building materials and just about every item used in our lives.
Jamaica produces first class seafarers who train at the Caribbean Maritime University and are examined by, and issued with international Certificates of Competency by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.
My Ministry is proud of the contribution these two agencies are making to guarantee the throughput of highly competent seafarers who sail on internationally trading ships all over the world demonstrating Jamaica’s contribution to the safe, secure and environmentally sound operation of all types of ships, day and night on our planet. It is worth mentioning in this message that we have just deposited our instrument of accession for the Maritime Labour Convention at the ILO in Geneva, Switzerland. This international treaty is the Seafarer’s virtual “Bill of Rights” which will soon be enshrined into our Shipping Act which will be amended accordingly. This legislation will take care of the welfare issues of the seafarer including wages, health, working and living conditions among other tenets.
The theme for International Seafarers Day connects to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) theme for the year, “Connecting Ships, Ports and People”. Jamaica is proud of our seafarers who are trained to the highest IMO standards and are internationally recognized as such.
Hon L M Henry
Minister of Transport and Mining