To mark the first international Day of the Seafarer, June 25, the IMO is urging people to voice their support by using social networks, by posting videos, discussing seafarer issues, or writing blogs about life at sea.

According to the IMO, last year, the Diplomatic Conference, which met in Manila to adopt revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention) and its associated Code, also agreed that the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole, should be marked annually with a ‘Day of the Seafarer’. The date chosen was 25 June, the day on which the amendments were formally adopted.

The day is intended to pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers – men and women from all over the globe. Shipping is the engine of global commerce, responsible for the carriage of more than 90 per cent of world trade, and it is seafarers who ensure the engine runs smoothly, delivering the essential items and commodities on which the world depend.

The day also represents an opportunity for renewed efforts to safeguard the human rights of seafarers throughout the world, according to Seafarers’ Rights International (SRI), an organization dedicated to raising the awareness of seafarers and improving their legal protection under national and international laws.

Said Deidre Fitzpatrick, executive director of the SRI, in a prepared statement: "On this important date, players in the maritime world have to ask themselves the question: how much do they care about the workers who transport over 90 percent of the goods we all rely on, when crews are risking their lives in pirate-infested waters, when vessel abandonment is still happening and there is little or no progress towards a safety net for seafarers facing criminal charges. Now is the time to provide the resources to highlight seafarers' problems and to challenge the role and effectiveness of the law in protecting seafarers' rights."

The 'Day of the Seafarer' sees the launch of SRI's web resource for seafarers and stakeholders. Via the website, SRI will deliver its key objectives of promoting research, education and training in the legal rights and remedies applicable to seafarers. The site is designed to offer practical support and information for seafarers while providing the main delivery mechanism for SRI's research, articles, news and critical analysis from experts in both the shipping industry and the legal world.