World Maritime Day 2021: Seafarers at the core of shipping’s future

Bustard head lighthouse just after sunset when the lighthouse is lit up with a blue light

Today, on World Maritime Day, Australia joins other nations in highlighting the vital role seafarers play in our lives.

Organised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), World Maritime Day highlights the importance of the maritime industry and underlines maritime security, the maritime environment, safety and shipping.

This year has been designated a year of action for seafarers, who are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It highlights their ongoing, vital role in global supply chains.

The theme for 2021, “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future”, raises the profile of seafarers by drawing attention to the critical role they play – now, and in the future.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Acting Chief Executive, Sachi Wimmer highlighted the vital role of seafarers in the shipping industry on World Maritime Day 2021.

“Over 90% of the world’s food, fuel, raw material and manufactured goods are transported by sea. Seafarers play a direct role in Australia’s trade and wellbeing by transporting our bulk commodities and agricultural exports to distant markets, and delivering commercial and consumer to our shores,” Ms Wimmer said.

“Working in challenging conditions, often isolated from friends and families, seafarers have kept essential supplies and economies moving, as the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened to stop modern society in its tracks. They have done this with dedication and professionalism.

“Today is about expressing our gratitude to seafarers around the world and acknowledging that they are at the core of shipping—without seafarers there simply would be no shipping industry,” Ms Wimmer said.

Joining other countries around the world, to acknowledge the role and commitment of seafarers, Australia will illuminate, in blue, two of our heritage lighthouses, which have guided seafarers to safety for many years. Australia House in London will also be lit in blue.

“This global symbolic initiative unites maritime nations and raises awareness about the vital contribution of seafarers,” Ms Wimmer said.

AMSA has also taken the opportunity to honour seafarers by lighting up two heritage lighthouses on Australia’s east and west coastlines, including Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse near Margaret River in Western Australia and Bustard Head Lighthouse near Gladstone in Queensland.