Thu | May 28, 2020

Jamaica celebrates the Day of the Seafarer

Published:Sunday | July 22, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The crew from the Bentley King, operated by Portside Towing.
Crew on the LNG tanker Golar Arctic, anchored at Portland Bight, with their Day of the Seafarer tokens.
Aegean Bunkering Seafarers proudly displaying their Day of the Seafarer tokens
Maritime Authority of Jamaica and West Indies Petroleum representatives at the Day of the Seafarer event to honour WIP crew

Jamaica joined the international community in honouring seafarers during the celebration of Day of the Seafarer on June 25, 2018. Day of the Seafarer is an annual observance designated by the United Nations agency, International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

In recognition of the essential role seafarers play in enabling the shipping industry to transport 90 per cent of world trade, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) visited five local ports to greet seafarers and to show appreciation for their dedication and commitment to their jobs, and to offer assistance through the provision of professional counselling services.

This year's theme was 'Seafarers' Well-being'. The life of a seafarer requires dedication and commitment, with long periods spent away at sea. The MAJ is committed to playing its part in addressing the mental health and wellness of seafarers, and during the port visits, the team was accompanied by a counselling psychologist to talk with seafarers about their experiences and general welfare concerns.

In his Day of the Seafarer message, MAJ Director General Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Peter Brady, said: "Our seafarers are doing a fantastic job and we are pleased to express our appreciation and honour their contribution to international trade by sea and to economies of the world, while braving the seas which are often tumultuous and unwelcome."

The MAJ team visited the Golar Arctic LNG tanker which was at anchorage in Portland Bight. Captain Mirko Pavlicevic, master on the vessel, said "We are honoured that our vessel was chosen among others for celebrating International Day of the Seafarer. On this special day when we are far away from our home and family, it was our honor to receive this nice gesture from the Maritime Authority of Jamaica. We will remember this for a long time."

The MAJ team also shared with seafarers on two Aegean Bunkering vessels, Kalymnos and Kefalonia, where the crew hail from the Philippines, Peru, Romania, Greece, and Jamaica. Aegean's Managing Director, Captain George Kontogeorgis, expressed the crew's pleasure in joining the activities to recognise "the invaluable service and contribution which seafarers make to our company, shipping on a whole and, by extension, the global transportation network. It is with heartfelt passion that Aegean embraced the opportunity to collaborate with the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, in honouring these individuals on Seafarer's Day 2018, under the theme 'Seafarers' Well-being'."

He went on to say that "the crew members expressed great excitement and gratitude for the warm gesture, presentations, and tokens they received.

At the Jamaica Livestock Association Pier on Marcus Garvey Drive, West Indies Petroleum (WIP) collaborated with the MAJ to host an event to honour their all-Jamaican crew. Rear Admiral (Ret'd) Peter Brady acknowledged the support from players in the shipping industry. He said seafarers operate below the radar and essentially render silent but very critical service as they ensure, among other things, that vessels are properly fuelled in a safe and environmentally conscious manner.

Gerald Chambers, chief executive officer of West Indies Petroleum, who also addressed the gathering, honoured the all-Jamaican crew who maintained their fleet of vessels. He recognised these seafarers as the backbone and heart of the company, and was happy for this great opportunity to honour WIP's seafarers.

On their visit to the Bentley King, owned and operated by Portside Towing, Michael Dobson, operations manager, welcomed the MAJ team. He said, "This generous and kind gesture by the MAJ serves as a reminder to seamen that their activities are noted and appreciated."