GMA commemorates ‘Day of the Seafarer’
In recognition of the unique contribution made by seafarers to seaborne trade, economy and civil society, the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) commemorated the Day of the Seafarer in Accra yesterday.
This year’s anniversary was also an acknowledgement of the seafarers as key workers within the context of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It also advocates for the provision of support and ensure that seafarers are given the recognition they deserve for keeping the world moving in these trying times.
The anniversary, which is in its tenth year was celebrated on the theme: Seafarers are key workers; essential to shipping, essential to the world.”
Speaking at the august ceremony, the Director General of GMA, Mr Thomas Kofi Alonsi, indicated that an estimated 80% of the global trade by volume and over 70% of global trade by value are carried by sea.
For this reason, the Mr Alonsi said that seafarers and the whole maritime sector are wealth creators both on and at sea and deserve to be celebrated.
The Director General observed that even in these crucial times of the Covid-19 pandemic, seafarers have been the unsung heroes.
He said the world relies on them to transport about 80% of trade by volume, including vital food and medical goods, energy and raw materials as well as manufactures goods across the globe.
It would be recalled that as part of government’s response to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Ghana, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced the closure of Ghana’s borders but Cargo ships were, however, exempted.
However, Mr Alonsi indicated yesterday that many seafarers have become collateral victims of the crises as travel restrictions have left tens of thousands of them stranded on ships or unable to join ships.
He said many have already been on years of duty significantly longer than the 11 months marine rules and regulations.
The Director General indicated that in order to ensure their well-being and safety in the Covid-19 era, a number of protocols including industry guidance for ship operators of offshore energy sector personnel and operational considerations for managing Covid-19 cases on board ships were instituted.
The Authority has continuously been monitoring the situation and has worked closely with port facilities to ensure that seafarers on board ships who are in need of immediate medical care given access to medical facilities on shore, he said.
Mr Alonsi observed that taking into consideration the enormous contribution seafarers play, occasions such as these were usually marked with social events and activities to honour the gallant men and women onboard Ghana’s ships.
He said last year, a campaign on gender equality with the aim of empowering women effectively and efficiently to participate in operational activities in the maritime industry was launched.
However, this year’s celebration couldn’t follow the same format due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The Director General, therefore, called on all Ghanaians to be amazed and impressed with the dedication, professionalism, resilience and perseverance of seafarers as they have faced various kinds of difficulties.
He also said people should equally recognise seafarers in their ability to deliver vital goods which are essential in responding to measures aimed at overcoming the pandemic.