There is a clear need to raise awareness of seafarersʹ vital role in world trade, maritime security and environmental protection. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed extraordinary and unprecedented demands on seafarers.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said that the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that it is crucially important to ensure the functioning of the global supply chains and the facilitation of the safe and efficient operation of maritime transport. “The ability for shipping services and seafarers to deliver vital goods, including medical supplies and food, has been central to responding to and overcoming this pandemic. This could not happen without the professionalism and dedication of the worldʹs seafarers.”
IMO has recognized seafarersʹ contribution to shipping and world trade through the annual Day of the Seafarer campaign and World Maritime Day. In 2020, the tenth iteration of the Day of the Seafarer campaign took on the theme "Seafarers are key workers".
The 2020 World Maritime Day will be celebrated on 24 September 2020, with an online event organized by the IMO Secretariat. The theme for 2020 is "Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet". Moreover, the theme for 2021 is also known: "Seafarers: at the core of shippingʹs future". The World Maritime theme for 2021 also links to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.