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January 12, 2010

IMO kicks off "Year of the Seafarer"

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) launched the theme for this year's World Maritime Day-- "2010: Year of the Seafarer" --at an event held at its London headquarters yesterday (11 January 2010), cohosted with the International Shipping Federation (ISF) and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF).

IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said 2010 promises to be an "auspicious and important year" a diplomatic conference in June set to adopt amendments that will bring the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (the STCW Convention), and its associated Code, fully up to date with today's expectations.

Mr. Mitropoulos said that designating 2010 as the Year of the Seafarer would help to reassure seafarers themselves that those responsible for the international regulatory regime understand the extreme pressures seafarers face and that they approach their task with a genuine sympathy for the work that seafarers carry out.

"It is my firm belief," said Mr. Mitropoulos, "that, despite the numerical decline in officer-level entrants, shipping remains a potentially exciting, rewarding and fulfilling career -- a career that can take people almost anywhere, both in geographical terms and in terms of the sort of work they may finally find themselves doing. Seafaring is not only a satisfying and worthwhile career choice in itself, it is also a passport to a huge variety of related jobs ashore for which experience at sea will make one eminently qualified."

He concluded, "Seafarers deserve respect and recognition: let us resolve, during 2010, to ensure that this message is trumpeted loud and clear."


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