Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Government of Pakistan is celebrating World Maritime Day 2021 by organizing a seminar at Beach Luxury Hotel, Karachi. World Maritime Day is observed every year on the last Thursday of September to celebrate the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) founding in 1958, 2021 being the 73rd year.

The theme of this year’s World Maritime Day is “Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future”. The seminar seeks to increase the visibility of seafarers by drawing attention to the invaluable contribution seafarers make to keep international trade flowing and to keep the world economy running.

Local and international speakers shall be participating in the seminar. President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi addressed the participants online while Governor Sindh, Mr. Imran Ismail was the chief guest of the event to be hosted by the Minister of Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Haider Zaidi. The event was also be broadcast online globally.

Giving due recognition to the contribution seafarers make, for the first time in Pakistan, the Federal Government on the recommendation of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs has declared seafarers as ‘Key Workers’, thus fulfilling international obligation in line with the resolutions of the IMO.

The present Government has also initiated a solution to the longstanding unresolved issue of seafarers. A big challenge was the digitalization of their Seaman Cards and Books to increase efficiency and reduce red tape. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs in collaboration with NADRA for the first time issued machine-readable SID cards to over 30,000 Pakistani seafarers. With the availability of data online, the process of sign-on and sign-off has been streamlined. Shifting of data online has also increased reliability and security for countries issuing visas to seafarers travelling abroad to join vessels.

World Maritime Day was first celebrated on 17th March 1978. The world relies on a safe, secure, and efficient international shipping industry, which is an essential component for economic growth in a sustainable manner. International shipping transports more than 80% of global trade to people and communities all over the world. World Maritime Day provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the world’s 1.5 million seafarers for their unique and all-too-often overlooked contribution to the well-being of the general public.

The celebration of World Maritime Day 2021 is particularly important as it coincides with Pakistan’s candidature in this year’s elections to the IMO Council in Category “C” at the 32nd session of IMO Assembly, to be held in December 2021.

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