Day of the Seafarer is a professional holiday and world day of the seafarer, which is held annually on June 25. This professional holiday is a vivid evidence of deep respect for all sea workers. On this day, people around the world express their appreciation for contribution to the global economy and the development of society.

The holiday is relatively young and founded recently. Ten years ago, on June 25, 2010, Member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the Manila Diplomatic Conference approved amendments to the 1978 International Convention on the Training and Certification of Seafarers and Watchkeeping (STCW) and the related Code for the Training and Certification of Seafarers and Watchkeeping and Resolution No. 19, which established the international professional holiday – Day of the Seafarer. The decision was taken to celebrate this day on June 25 annually in order to express deep appreciation and gratitude to all seafarers around the world. Ukraine was represented by a delegation consisting of I.V. Tikhonov, Chairman of the Delegation, Deputy Head of the State Administration of Maritime and River Transport; Y. M. Mikhailenko, Director of the Odessa Regional Division of the Inspectorate for Training and Certification of Seafarers (ITCS) and M. V. Miyusov, the Rector of Odessa National Maritime Academy. The members of the delegation signed on behalf of Ukraine the relevant amendments to the Convention and the resolution.

The International Maritime Organization held a webinar on “Seafarers are key workers: Essential to shipping, essential to the world” in support of the Day of the Seafarer campaign, with the participation of the representatives of National University «Odessa Maritime Academy» on Wednesday 24 June. A report was made by Mr. Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization. Mr. Guy Platten, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Stephen Cotton,Secretary-General of the International Transport Federation (ITF) and others participated in the webinar. The webinar addressed issues seafarers are facing during the pandemic, including crew changes and repatriation.

IMO 2020 campaign – seafarers are key workers. Seafarers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, playing an essential role in maintaining the flow of vital goods, such as food, medicines and medical supplies. However, the crisis has led to difficult working conditions for seafarers, including uncertainties and difficulties about port access, re-supply, crew changeovers and repatriation. This year, the Day of the Seafarer campaign calls on Member States to recognize seafarers as key workers – and to provide them with the support, assistance and travel options open to all key workers during the pandemic. 

In his Day of the Seafarer message, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim highlighted the unique and essential work of seafarers. “Just like other key workers, seafarers are on the front line in this global fight. They deserve our thanks. But they also need – and deserve – quick and decisive humanitarian action from governments everywhere, not just during the pandemic, but at all times”, Mr. Lim said.

The 2020 Day of the Seafarer campaign pays tribute to seafarers, acknowledging their sacrifice and the issues they face. Many seafarers have been away from home for months and are unsure when they will be able to return home due to travel restrictions. The campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the work achieved by seafarers in response to the pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. Everyone is invited to recognize that the ability of seafarers to deliver vital goods is central to responding to, and eventually overcoming, this pandemic. The campaign encourages everyone to treat seafarers with the respect and dignity they deserve so that they can continue to provide their vital services to keep world trade moving.