World Maritime Day: COVID-19 Crisis And The Importance Of Shipping

Happy World Maritime Day 2020: Union Minister for Shipping today greeted seafarers and praised their "professionalism and sacrifice" amid the COVID-19 pandemic

World Maritime Day: COVID-19 Crisis And The Importance Of Shipping

World Maritime Day Image: September 24 is celebrated as maritime day

World Maritime Day 2020: Every year on September 24, World Maritime Day is observed to understand the importance of the marine environment, the impact of industries on the oceans and marine life and the well-being of seafarers who spend months away from home. This year due the coronavirus pandemic, it's even more difficult for the seafarers as their stay on the ship have been extended, in many cases, due to lockdown rules globally. Shipping industries across the world with the support of the International Maritime Organisation are working towards a regulatory framework for a sustainable future and well being of sailors and all stakeholders.   

World Maritime Day 2020: Theme

The theme for this year is "sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet" -  in line with the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs of the United Nations. World Maritime Day is a great opportunity to disseminate information and spread awareness about proper management of the oceans and saving the water bodies from pollution, which destroys the fragile marine environment. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and its Member States are working towards achieving the SDG targets. This year the role of seafarers are in the forefront amid the COVID-19 pandemic as they sail from shore to shore with cargo and other humanitarian work.

UN chief, Antonio Guterres in his message on World Maritime Day tweeted: "I'm concerned about the crisis facing hundreds of thousands of seafarers whose time at sea has been extended far beyond standards due to COVID-19. On World Maritime Day, I renew my appeal to designate seafarers and marine personnel 'key workers' and ensure safe crew changes."  

Union Minister for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya greeted seafarers on World Maritime Day. "Greeting to all seafarers and stakeholders of Maritime Sector on World Maritime Day. COVID-19 Pandemic has highlighted professionalism and sacrifice of the 2 million seafarers. Shipping has continued to transport more than 80% of world trade, including vital medical supplies." 

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Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter and wrote, "...I would like to extend my gratitude towards the 2 mn+ merchant fleet personnel all over the world. Despite several hurdles faced during COVID-19, their unwavering professionalism ensured continuity in transport of key goods and supplies globally."    


The pandemic has put sailors around the world in unprecedented crisis. When travel restrictions were imposed, they could not leave their ships, be repatriated home, or even get urgent medical help. Many even lost jobs as their contracts were suddenly terminated, according to the IMO. 

World Maritime Day 2020: Focus of International Maritime Organization

  • IMO has established the Seafarer Crisis Action Team
  • Seafarers and their relatives can contact the SCAT by sending an email to info@imo.org
  • Urgent medical treatment and evacuation
  • Looking after the mental health of sailors
  • Ensuring safe working conditions for seafarers

Happy World Maritime Day 2020!