Mar 9, 2010

2010: International Year of the Seafarer

2010: International Year of the Seafarer

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

March 9 2010

Today I launched the International Year of the Seafarer, an occasion to reflect on the unique but often overlooked contribution merchant seafarers make to the wellbeing of communities and the prosperity of the global economy.

The world’s 1.5 million merchant seafarers are responsible for transporting more than 90 per cent of the products and produce traded globally, a job that involves long periods of separation from family and friends as well as the risks posed by pirates and the weather.

As well as paying tribute to the dedication of seafarers and educating the community about the challenges they confront every day, the International Year of the Seafarer also gives the industry a good opportunity to step up its recruitment efforts and encourage more young people to consider a career at sea.

Without merchant seafarers global trade would collapse, leaving hundreds of millions of people without a livelihood and yet more without the necessities of life.

As an island continent, Australia is particularly reliant on the global maritime industry, with virtually all our exports and imports needing to be transported by sea. In fact, we have the 5th largest shipping task in the world.

With more than 4,000 ships – including 200 oil and chemical carriers – navigating our waters every year, many near environmental icons such as the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef, Australia has a strong interest in making sure these vessels continue to be manned by highly trained and dedicated seafarers.

Organised by the Australian Shipowners Association, today’s official launch coincides with the Shipping Industry Awareness Day.

The International Year of the Seafarer is an initiative of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the UN agency responsible for safety, security and environmental standards within the international maritime industry. Australia is a founding and active member of the organisation.

Since being elected the Rudd Labor Government has put maritime policy back on the national agenda, initiating a parliamentary inquiry into coastal shipping, undertaking a total re-write of the Navigation Act and moving towards a single national regulator for all commercial vessels.