Saturday 25 June is the official IMO Day of the Seafarer and today, the ITF global family of seafarers' unions celebrated online and all across the world.
Here are some highlights ⤵️
The ITF Seafarers' Section coordinated an online activity for seafarers to share their stories (and pictures) about their own #SeafarerJourney, and to let us know how they thought the industry had changed from when they first started, compared to now.
One of the entries was from Captain Catherine Haizel, who is a groundbreaking Ghanian woman who went from being one of just three female cadets training at the time of her entry to the industry in the 1970s, to becoming a maritime university lecturer and ITF Inspector:
Other highlights included hearing from ITF Seafarers' Section Chair Dave Heindel about how he's ridden his Harley all the way from deepsea vessel engine rooms, to the top of international wage negotiations for hundreds of thousands of seafarers.
We also learned how today ITF Maritime Coordinator Jacqueline Smith and ITF Maritime Operations Coordinator John Canias help protect and improve seafarers' rights and working conditions, following their own unique pathways from working aboard vessels.
You can read more of these remarkable career voyages and see how much has changed according to seafarers themselves, at the ITF's online photoboard: bit.ly/seafarerstory
In one of the first timezones that experiences Day of the Seafarer, our comrades at ITF Australia and the Maritime Union of Australia greeted the day with both practical and profound contributions.
See here the MUA's statement on the day and the value of the working people who keep the world moving:
ITF Australia and dockworkers in ports around Australia then took that message to seafarers, showing the practical solidarity and bond between dockers and seafarers that helped build the ITF and is to be thanked for many of the improvements to seafarers' working lives over the decades:
Finally from Australia, this powerful video with a clear message of thanks to seafarers from the ITF Australia crew:
What does it take to be a seafarer? One of our Canadian affiliates, @SIUCanada, celebrated #DayoftheSeafarer with a video about the qualities that all seafarers share. Watch their creative, playful tribute to the working women and men who move the world:
ITF affiliate National Union of Seafarers of India - NUSI had a busy day, with substantive announcements on new programmes to assist seafarers with securing placement with responsible shipowners, as well as availability of a new course for seafarers to up their skills.
NUSI's leader (and ITF Seafarers' Section vice chair), Abdulgani Y Serang, made the announcements via a Facebook Live stream, which you can watch on NUSI's Facebook page, here.
NUSI's focus on action for seafarers was a theme also seen in the news that came from another ITF Seafarers affiliate, Maritime Union of India - MUI, whose General Secretary Amar Singh Thakur, announced the union was taking steps around the issue of tax on seafarers' wages:
The Norwegian Seafarers' Union - NSU held an exciting virtual event where four guest seafarers from different rankings and parts of the industry (including cruise vessels) shared their stories of their seafaring journeys, letting us know at home how they made it to where they are today:
You can also learn about Lena Dyring's #SeafarersJourney here. Lena is head of cruise operations at the Norwegian Seafarers' Union and she shares with us how life's voyage brought her to focusing on securing respect and safety for women seafarers as their global voice on the ITF Seafarers' Section Committee.
One of the ITF Seafarers' Section's largest affiliates by membership, AMOSUP (Associated Marine Officers' and Seamen's Union of the Philippines), put on an in-person event for seafarers and their loved ones in Manilla.
Dr Conrad Oca also delivered a passionate video message for all AMOSUP members, including those who could not attend the popular acoustic event in person:
Our affiliates the Singapore Organisation of Seamen - SOS Seacare marked #DayoftheSeafarer by visiting seafarers on 500 vessels and invited those seafarers to share their experiences. Some have gone online.
Watch SOS members reflect on their #SeafarerJourney:
Nazarudin Bin Nandok recalls what seafaring was like in war zones and dangerous weather conditions:
Siow Yok Shin recounts his experiences as one of the very first members of the union:
UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland
Nautilus International took the opportunity to profile one of their young members and now leader, Ross Cleland. Ross also answered some questions via Nautilus' Instagram story, which you can find on their Instagram page here.
In Ghana, the Ghanian Maritime Authority hosted an event that they invited ITF affiliates along to, including members of GMNOA, and ITF Inspector for Ghana, Captain Catherine Haizel:
Our colleagues in Europe also had an important message: seafarers don't need to be heroes - they just want decent jobs, with safe and reasonable working conditions. We think the ETF are absolutely right:
Our friends at the ITF Seafarers' Trust took the occasion of this year's Day of the Seafarer to announce the latest instalment of their hugely successful photography competition.
The Trust has engaged with thousands of seafarers since the pandemic began and they launched 'Still at Sea', to help seafarers capture the distance, hardship and emotion that many were feeling through the crew change crisis.
Now they're giving seafarers another opportunity to submit their images and be in the running to be selected as a winner:
If your union or union-aligned organisation did something special for Day of the Seafarer in 2022, please let us know by emailing commslondon[at]itf.org.uk - we'd love to hear from you.