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THE International Maritime Organization will be lit up in blue today to mark World Maritime Day 2021 and to highlight seafarers and their core role in shipping and its future.

The IMO has chosen to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers. Seafarers are facing unprecedented hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic despite their vital role as key workers for global supply chains.

The World Maritime Theme for 2021 – “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future” – seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable role they play now and will continue to play in the future.

UN secretary-general António Guterres said, “I renew my appeal to governments to address their plight by formally designating seafarers and other marine personnel as key workers, ensuring safe crew changes, implementing established protocols, and allowing stranded seafarers to be repatriated and others to join ships.”

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In a message launching the World Maritime Theme earlier this year, IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim called on everyone to do better to support “our brave professionals who continue to deliver global trade”.

“A first step would be for all countries to designate seafarers as key workers, as outlined in the United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted in December,” Mr Lim said.

“We need more governments to step up. Key worker designation is crucial to ensure prioritisation for vaccination.”

Today, to mark World Maritime Day 2021, the IMO will host a live webinar at 12.00 BST (2100 AEST) exploring the theme “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future”. In addition to hearing from Secretary General Kitack Lim, attendees will hear from four seafarers about diversity, safety, crew change and the environment.

Anybody can join the webinar on the day by following this link: https://bit.ly/3odhNXe.

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