24 June 2014

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

International Trade Would ‘Grind to a Halt’ without Seafarers,


Secretary-General Says in Message for International Day


Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message for the Day of the Seafarer, to be observed on 25 June:

Seaborne trade is the engine room of the global economy.  Without shipping, the bulk transport of vital raw materials, affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible.

Keeping that engine running smoothly are nearly 1.5 million seafarers, many of whom hail from the developing world.  Every day, they face hardship and danger to keep our global economy afloat and help ensure that the benefits of globalization can be more evenly distributed.

They live a tough life, working long hours in often perilous weather, and living in confined conditions with limited opportunities for social interaction or relaxation.  The work is hard and the level of responsibility is high.  Separation from family and loved ones for months at a time is a constant backdrop to a seafarer’s life, and the threat of piracy and shipwreck are at the back of many seafarers’ minds.

Over many years, the United Nations, through the International Maritime Organization and other agencies, has strived to make seafaring a safer occupation and shipping a greener and cleaner industry.  Seafarers themselves seek to implement and maintain the highest possible safety and environmental standards.

Shipping is not only a carrier of global trade, but also makes a significant contribution as a major industry in its own right, in particular as an important source of income to many developing countries.

The maritime transport industry is central to the livelihoods of billions of people; and the industry, in turn, relies on seafarers.  Without them, international trade would grind to a halt.  On the Day of the Seafarer, I ask people everywhere to recognize the seafarers who, with quiet dedication, keep the wheels of the world in motion.

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For information media • not an official record