The maritime industry celebrates the Day of the Seafarer today. In recent weeks and months, the importance of the crew members that work onboard ships has become increasingly apparent as voyages were placed under occupancy restrictions due to shortages.
The theme for this year’s international day celebrates maritime journeys and voyages, providing a chance “to recognize and pay tribute to seafarers everywhere, whatever their voyage.” During the last 24 hours, several cruise lines paid tribute to their crew members, including Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.
Maritime Journeys and Voyages
Joining a cruise ship for the very first time is for many a life-changing journey, one that marks the start of a lifetime of adventures and experiences. However much of those adventures will impact the crew and their families, there is no denying that working onboard a ship is also a lifetime of hardship.
Michael Bayley, President, and CEO of Royal Caribbean International: Of the 41 years I’ve spent in the cruise industry when I look back at the 11 years onboard — those are the ones I remember most fondly. It’s a beautiful way of life but requires a great deal of personal sacrifice.
The Day of the Seafarer is there to celebrate the efforts and sacrifices crew members make every day, whether they work in the cruise industry, oil & gas, or transport.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted both the critical role crew members play and the challenges they face in his message to mark the Day of the Seafarer on Saturday.
“The world counts on seafarers. Ships transport a remarkable 90 per cent of the world’s commodities — from grains and energy, to consumer goods and much more. Without ships and the women and men who work on them, economies would stall and people would starve.”
Guterres also highlighted the problems the industry has been experiencing with crew changes, which have affected the cruises for thousands of people.
In many cases, the strict travel restrictions, coupled with problems at airports worldwide, and delays in visa issuing, crew members have been forced to extend their contract by months:
“They know better than anyone their needs and what this industry needs to do to address key challenges. This includes the expansion of social protection, better working conditions, addressing the crew-change crisis, adopting new digital tools to enhance safety and efficiency, and making this industry greener and more sustainable,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
Cruise Lines Pay Hommage
Several cruise lines also paid homage to their crew members today. Michael Bayley, the president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said the company is endlessly grateful for the work the crew members do every day:
“Day of the Seafarer is this Saturday, June 25. This day means a lot to us at Royal Caribbean, but also to me personally! Our crew comes from over 120 countries! They are moms, dads, and siblings who contribute so much to their life at sea to keep the maritime industry up and running. We are endlessly proud and grateful for our amazing crew who keep our ships safe, our oceans clean, and our vacations epic!”
Carnival Cruise Line posted a video on its Facebook page, giving crew members the chance to speak up for themselves. The cruise line said this:
“So there’s a day to celebrate those who take to the seas for a living… it’s called Day of the Seafarer, and it’s today! Shout-out to our crew, who ride the waves to make all the fun possible #carnivalcruise”
CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Organization, also contributed, mentioning the 250,000 people working onboard cruise ships today:
“Today on Day of the Seafarer, we recognize the nearly 250,000 seafarers working on cruise ships around the world – from stateroom stewards to navigational officers – they are the foundation of the cruise industry and the heart and soul of the cruise experience.”
If you are on a cruise ship today or are joining one in the days to come, be sure to thank the hardworking people that are there each and every day to make your cruise vacation the best possible. Without them, cruise ships would just be empty metal shells.