Bangladeshi Marine Community, Singapore

Bangladeshi Marine Community, Singapore

Blue-light to Highlight the SEAFARERS on the World Maritime Day 2022

Sajid Hussain

The word ‘maritime’ comes from the Latin word ‘maritimus,’ which means ‘of the sea.’ The day illuminates the role that every maritime officer, service agent, and seafarer plays in our individual lives. Life at sea is hard. Long hours, precarious pay, and the emotional toll of being separated from his family for months can be an intense challenge.


                Decades after its establishment in 1958, the International Maritime Organization declared the last Thursday of every September as World Maritime Day. A theme is dedicated to the celebration each year. World Maritime Day is observed to make the voices of seafarers heard and understood. Life at sea is risky and comes with brand new challenges every day. The well-being and security of our seafarers are instrumental to the success of the global economy. For long, their tireless work has been taken for granted, IMO seeks to change that.


                It’s a unique day to highlight the maritime aspects for the human on earth by the human at sea! You may don a seafarer’s cap and put on safety shoes because it’s time to learn about and celebrate World Maritime Day! On last year’s World Maritime Day on 29 Sep 2021, the IMO HQ and iconic buildings, bridges, maritime ports, ships, monuments, museums and other landmarks around the world were lit blue as part of efforts to highlight seafarers and their core role in shipping and its future. Like the last year, there will be blue-lights again to highlight the 1.9 million Seafarers’ core contribution in transporting essential commodities like food, fuel, medicine and household goods for the 7.8 billion dwellers of the Earth.


                IMO Secretary-General would like to extend the invitation to IMO Member States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations in consultative status to join in this annual initiative by lighting up in “blue” or “blue and green” colours their most iconic buildings, bridges, maritime ports, ships, monuments, museums and other emblematic landmarks on the occasion of the 2022 World Maritime Day celebration.


Theme 2022

                The World Maritime Day 2022 theme is ‘New technologies for greener shipping’. It reflects the need to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future, while leaving no one behind. The theme provides an opportunity to focus on the importance of a sustainable maritime sector and the need to build back better and greener in a post pandemic world. IMO actively supports a greener transition of the shipping sector into a sustainable future, and showcases maritime innovation, research and development, and the demonstration and deployment of new technologies.


                The 2022 theme will allow for a range of activities to delve into specific topics related to promotion of inclusive innovation and uptake of new technologies to support the needs for a greener transition of the maritime sector, especially in the context of developing countries, and in particular the small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs).


                The theme is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDGs 13 and 14 on climate action and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources; SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure; and SDG 17, which highlights the importance of partnerships and implementation to achieve these goals.


                IMO’s Department of Partnerships and Projects (DPP) was established in 2020 to serve as the gateway for developing partnership opportunities with a wide range of external partners, including IMO Member States, UN agencies, financial institutions, NGOs, IGOs and the private sector.


History of World Maritime Day


                More than 80% of the Global trade is transported through the oceanic blue highways by international shipping with over 75,000 large vessels. It means that most of the consumer goods that enter business and homes all over the world were shipped to get there. As the most affordable and efficient form of transportation for goods, maritime activity continues to be a vital part of the world’s trade industry.


                The International Maritime Organization (IMO) began its development in 1948 as a specialized agency of the United Nations. Taking some time to get established, the organization then entered into force on March 17, 1958. At its beginning, the IMO had only 21 member states who took part, which is a large contrast to the present day when it now boasts the 175 Member States.


                The IMO focuses on environmental issues, legal issues, safety, maritime efficiency and technical cooperation. They work together to prevent marine pollution from ships, create safety measures to avoid accidents and damage, build more efficiency in shipping, with the IMO slogan, “Safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans”, members commit to taking care of the natural resources as well as working in cooperation for the safety of everyone. This includes encouraging each member to promote legislation against piracy and other dangerous activity on the sea.


                Twenty years after it moved into action, the anniversary of the IMO was celebrated as the first World Maritime Day in March of 1978. Celebrated annually after that, eventually the day was moved to the end of September, usually celebrated on the last Thursday. Established by the United Nations in 1978, World Maritime Day is meant to raise awareness about the importance of the shipping industry and the vital contribution it makes to places all over the globe. Each year World Maritime Day has its own theme that is meant to encourage and motivate those within the shipping industry as well as offering opportunities to tell others about it. Past themes include:


Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future

Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet

Empowering Women in the maritime community

Our Heritage: better shipping for a better future

Now it’s time to join in on the celebrations and take part in appreciating those in the shipping industry for World Maritime Day!


World Maritime Milestone Timeline

  • 1912: The Titanic Disaster – The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention is organized by the United Nations after the Titanic disaster.
  • 1948: The Geneva Convention – The Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization is established at the Geneva Convention.
  • 1978: World Maritime Day – World Maritime Day is adopted to honour and appreciate the world of seafarers).
  • 1983: World Maritime University – The International Maritime Organization establishes the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden.


World Maritime Day FAQs

  • Who established the International Maritime Organization? IMO was established by the United Nations, 20 years after the Titanic disaster that shook the world and brought the dangers of this unregulated industry to light. 
  • How can I get a job in the shipping industry? There are tons of job opportunities in the shipping industry, and each requires a specific skill set and a specialized degree. You can learn more about openings by researching your desired role and its requirements. 
  • What kind of protections do shipping workers have? The shipping industry was the first to implement International Safety Standards, all the way in 1990. The industry workers are protected by the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization. 


Five facts about the global shipping industry that will blow your mind!

  • Ships at sea, dating back centuries: Findings from the Bronze Age prove that shipping is the oldest mode of transportation for goods.
  • It’s safe, it’s green: Shipping is the most environmentally friendly form of transport, and it is also one of the safest industries for workers.
  • Use the sea, you save pennies: Shipping is the most affordable way of commercial transport.
  • One ship saves a hundred train rides: Many rail rides worth of goods can be loaded onto a single carrier ship.
  • Ships travel the distance to the Moon: In its lifetime, the distance covered by a large container ship can measure up to the distance between the Earth and the Moon, times nine.


Why World Maritime Day is important

  • The shipping industry is the backbone of the global economy: More than 80% of world trade is transported by the shipping industry — and the people who keep it all running are the maritime workers. On the final Thursday of every September, we raise a toast in their honour.
  • Their situation needs attention: Thousands of seafarers are stranded at the sea, tied up in unsustainable contracts. The International Maritime Organization seeks to push the governments to designate shipping industry personnel as essential workers.
  • We need a sustainable shipping industry: The deteriorating working condition of seafarers is dangerous and sustainable. World Maritime Day seeks to bring attention to their most immediate concerns. The quest towards a safe and secure shipping industry will benefit us all.


How to celebrate World Maritime Day

  • Learn about life at the sea: Did you know that over 90% of ships have no communication with the world when they are out at sea? Or that an average maritime worker makes somewhere between $45,000 to $60,000 per annum? There are fascinating things to be learned about life at sea, and no better day to do it than World Maritime Day.
  • Thank a seafarer: The International Maritime Organization accepts letters of appreciation from well-wishers all year around. Let the maritime workers know that you appreciate their service and are praying for their safety.
  • Read seafarer’s profiles produced by the IMO: In its quest to seek appreciation and recognition for the maritime workers, IMO has released a series of profiles on seafarers sharing their views on the future of shipping and the challenges they face. You can watch these profiles on YouTube.


Visit a Port or Maritime Museum

                Living by the water can be delightful for a number of reasons and the accessibility to ships and maritime museums is an important one. Many port cities offer views of old ships that have been rescued and put on display for visitors to see. Others might offer guided tours with interesting information to learn about ships and boats first hand.


                Maritime museums can be found in Bangladesh Marine Academy, Chattogram and Bangladesh Navy in Dhaka & Chattogram and also in various port cities all over the world, including London & Bath, England; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Busan, South Korea; and Reykjavik, Iceland.


Watch a Film about Seafarers

                One interesting way to celebrate World Maritime Day might be to watch an action or adventure film around the theme of sailors and seafarers. Check out some of these interesting tales of the sea:


  • The Bounty (1984). Starring Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson, this movie tells the story of a crew that gets tired of their captain’s harshness and a mutiny arises on the HMS Bounty. It’s based on the true story of a British sea vessel from 1789.
  • Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003). Russell Crowe offers a stunning performance in this epic film about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. Crowe’s character, Captain Jack Aubrey, and his crew are sent to hunt down a French vessel that is near the South American coast.
  • The Poseidon Adventure (1972). This classic film tells the story of a passenger ship that is on her way to being retired when it is hit by a tidal wave, turning everything upside down. The hero of the film is Reverend Scott, played by Gene Hackman, who leads the passengers to try to find safety. This film has an all-star, ensemble cast with five different Oscar winners.
  • Captain Phillips (2009). Telling the true tale of a merchant mariner who was taken hostage by Somali pirates, these film stars Tom Hanks as the title character who makes a brave effort to save his crew.


Give a Little Nod to the Sea

                Whether it’s visiting an aquarium, watching an old movie about seafarers or enjoying a lunch of fish and chips, World Maritime Day is all about raising awareness. Teachers can have a lesson about the sea at school, assign a reading of Moby Dick, or have students write an essay about the importance of sea travel and trade.


Take a Boat Ride

                Enjoy a little taste of life at sea by taking a ride on a boat in honour of World Maritime Day. Although it’s more likely for a person to be able to secure passage on a cruise ship or a local tour boat rather than a shipping vessel, it would still be a fun way to enjoy being on the water.



Days of the Year:

World Maritime Theme 2022:

The future of learning and development in shipping: Key trends:

World Maritime Day – September 29, 2022:

Dr. MarEngr. Sajid Hussain HDSc MSc CEng CMarEng FIMarEST. Commandant, Bangladesh Marine Academy, Chattogram. IMO Maritime Ambassador & Trustee, IMarEST London Governor, World Maritime University, Sweden. He received the “Outstanding Contribution to Marine Education Award 2019” from IMarEST London and has authored 24 books, 30 research papers and over 250 features.


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