World Maritime Theme 2021 is "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future"
IMO has chosen to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers, who are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite their vital role as key workers for global supply chains.
The World Maritime Theme for 2021, "Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future" seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable role they play now and will continue to play in the future.
The focus on seafarers comes as the COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary demands on seafarers, with hundreds of thousands of men and women stranded on ships for months beyond their original contracts, unable to be repatriated due to national travel restrictions. A similar number of seafarers are unable to join ships and earn a living. This crew change crisis, which has been ongoing for nearly a year, is a humanitarian emergency that threatens the safety of shipping.
Throughout the year, the World Maritime Theme will also put the spotlight on other issues related to the human element of shipping, including the safety and security of life on board ships, seafarers' well-being, and the importance of ensuring an appropriately trained and qualified workforce, ready to meet the challenges and opportunities of digitalization and automation.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said; This year’s World Maritime Theme “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future” is dedicated to the seafarers who have shown tremendous fortitude and determination in continuing to deliver global trade throughout this global crisis.''
Chief Engineer Matt Forster by commenting on the crew change crisis, said; ''It’s catastrophic now. We are almost a year into this, and to see it still happening is beyond words at times. As seafarers, we look around and we ask ourselves: “who is helping us? Who is genuinely helping to make positive change?” And unfortunately, we all feel let down. And that’s 1,6 million of us who feel let down by all our governments in the whole world.''