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The day of the seafarer as a catalyst for change

The day of the seafarer as a catalyst for change
Ambassador Carlos Salinas June 29, 2022

LAST Saturday, June 25, 2022, the Philippines joined the global community in observance of the International Day of the Seafarer, to honor the world's maritime professionals and their priceless contribution to ensuring uninterrupted international trade and the world economy.

With this year's theme being "Your voyage — then and now, share your journey," the industry brings to fore seafarers' experiences at sea and celebrates their service to the world. Through their stories, we get a glimpse of changes over the years that have taken place in the industry in terms of technology advancement, working environments on board, and required standards of skills and competence, and how these developments have impacted seafarers' growth as well as their lives, both personal and professional.

A closer reading of this year's theme shows that it is an invitation to introspection. This exercise of self-assessment is an indispensable tool for our global maritime professionals as they continually adjust to changes in their working milieu and determine how best to carry out their responsibility to move the world, under all circumstances. This has proven all the more relevant for all seafarers, as evidenced by the last two years' worth of experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For the Philippines, with its nearly 400,000-strong contribution to the world's maritime workforce, this self-contemplation is aptly needed, not only for the country to stay in step with the industry's evolving demands, but to ensure that we lead from the front. If the recent pandemic and its subsequent "new normal" has taught us anything, it should be that change is the only constant. Evolution marches on, and it has just one marching order: "Keep up."

The Day of the Seafarer affords us the golden occasion to examine how we, as a country, should continue to reinvent ourselves in order to remain relevant amid a rapidly changing seascape. And most importantly, to commit to continually investing in our people, both our current pool of Filipino global maritime professionals as well as our future generations, so that they may continue to be the world's seafarers of choice.

I take this opportunity to salute our Filipino global maritime professionals, the heart and soul of shipping, the driving spirit behind what makes the country a proud tonnage enabler, ensuring that global trade brings much-needed good things to life across the world. Thank you for being shining examples of our country's steadfast commitment to helping move the world through shipping.

And I continue to pray for the continued safety of all seafarers all over the world - whether they are at the start of their journeys or at different phases of their maritime voyages. Thank you again for your invaluable service to the world.