Pretoria: 24 June 2020
The global maritime sector’s focus turn to celebrate the world’s estimated 1.6-million seafarers on Thursday, 25 June 2020 – a day declared an International Day of the Seafarer and marked annually- in acknowledgement and appreciation of the role of the labour sector for its contribution both to world trade over the oceans and associated activities at sea.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) along with its Member States, including South Africa, celebrate the day this year with a key theme message; #Seafarers Are Key Workers, conceptualised to advance a growing realisation that the world’s seafarers are essential workers.
In South Africa on Thursday, according to the Department of Transport (DoT) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the country will mark the event Thursday with a virtual session involving invited guests and a panel of about 30 people, and which will be livestreamed to the public between 10am and 12 noon. (For more on this, click on the blog’s Seafarers Day dedicated page Here)
In a statement, the entities said: “The Day of the Seafarer is observed every year on the 25th of June by all IMO member states to pay tribute to millions of seafarers from across the globe, for their unique contribution to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole.
“Each year, the Day of the Seafarer adopts a campaign theme and the theme for 2020 is “Seafarers are Key Workers”. The 2020 campaign seeks to raise awareness of the work of seafarers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. Seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies.
Thursday’s virtual session, involving a panel of about six (6) members and up to 30 participants from stakeholders and roleplayers in the country’s maritime economic sector, will be led by Transport Minister, Mr Fikile Mbalula.
Other participants scheduled include Master Mariner, Ms Constance Nengohvela, maritime studies educationist, Ms Theresa Williams, marine engineer Mr Khomotso Makgae, Amsol human resource executive, Mr Nceba Mfini, international Transport Workers Federation (ITF) official Mr Steve Yandell, Mr Odwa Mtati, Chief Executive Officer of the South African International Maritime Institute, Mr Sobantu Tilayi, SAMSA acting CEO and others.
In the statement ahead of the event, Mbalula said: “We acknowledge the sacrifices of the seafarers and the adverse effects of the Corona Virus on their personal and professional wellbeing. The outbreak of COVID-19 has exacerbated seafarers’ already difficult working conditions, as it has led to the restriction of port access, crew changeovers and repatriations, in an attempt to flatten the curve.
“Many seafarers have been away from home for months and are uncertain about when they will be able to return home or go back to their international posts, due to global travel restrictions. The South African Government is mindful of this dire situation and is doing all it can to ensure that seafarers are prioritised as the economy gradually reopens”, said the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula.
In South Africa SAMSA, the DOT and other maritime institutions will host a virtual discussion to mark the Day of the Seafarer. The virtual discussion will be held on 25 June 2020, from 10h00 until 12h00, and attended by key stakeholders in the maritime industry. Seafarers will use the opportunity to highlight issues affecting them during the prevalence of COVID-19,” he said.
For more on the programme for Thursday’ event, Click Here
2 thoughts on “Seafarers are essential workers at all times, global maritime industry advocates: DoT-SAMSA”
The reason why am writing this comment is; I have been a crew member working on a cruise ship. Unfortunately I am no longer working right now. I came back April after the country was in lockdown. Am not demanding anything as am not kind special in anyway.
At my work my contract was freezed. I did not get any kind of relief fund other than my last payroll that I got for my last month at work. I currently don’t qualify for UIF as I was working for a foreign company. I am currently unemployed and have been rejected by SASSA Covid-19 relief fund. Am on job hunting but it’s not easy. I lost too much of my belongings as I had to keep up with my debits and to support my family as I was only one working in the family of 10 in my household. It’s really hard now.
I just want to ask is there any help that seafarers can get like a relief fund because for now no help we are getting and do not qualify for both UIF and SASSA Covid-19 relief fund. It’s been 4 months now no money coming in and if it was not this hard I wouldn’t be writing this email.
Please reply as it will be better to fill up this unanswered question in myself that is being drived by this situation am in. Or please help me with relevent person or department that I can speak to.
Dear Mvuyisi, your message has been noted and is being transfered to the Centre for Seafarers.