The World Maritime Theme for 2021 is dedicated to the seafarers who have shown tremendous fortitude, courage and perseverance in continuing to deliver global trade even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
This year's theme is "Seafarers: at the core of shipping's future". IMO puts seafarers at the heart of all our conversations by raising their profile and recognizing the valuable role they play now and in the future.
Seafarers are essential for the safe, secure and efficient operation of ships and contribute to the protection of the fragile marine environment. Safe navigation ensures the continuation of maritime trade, which is vital to the world's economy. Two million seafarers are continuously working to deliver 80% of global trade for the world's 7.8 billion people. 98,140 commercial vessels of 100 gross tons and above, equivalent to a capacity of 2.06 billion dwt, move close to 12 billion tonnes of trade. Without seafarers, the flow of vital goods, services and global commerce would grind to a halt, Sustainable Development Goals will not be met and post COVID-19 economic recovery will be impossible.
Seafarers have always been at the heart of IMO's work. IMO has addressed training of seafarers (the first international seafarer certification and training treaty, the STCW Convention, was adopted in 1978), put the human element at the centre of the development or amendment of regulations, and recognized seafarersʹ contribution to shipping and world trade through the annual Day of the Seafarer campaign. In 2020, the tenth observance of the Day of the Seafarer campaign took on the theme "Seafarers are key workers". This year provides an opportunity to delve into specific topics and issues relevant to the role of seafarers in maritime safety and security; protection of the marine environment; as well as seafarersʹ welfare; and how to ensure an appropriately trained and qualified future seafarer workforce, ready to meet the challenges of increased digitalization and automation.