Seafaring is a rewarding career which offers a lifetime of opportunities and can create strong friendships, but the shipping industry needs to embrace change and improve its safety record in order to fully support its people, says Captain Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General of InterManager.
is comments come as the global shipping industry gets ready to celebrate its annual Day of the Seafarer, which takes place on June 25th and this year takes the theme of “Your Voyage, Then and Now”.
I am very proud of our industry and would work tirelessly to make it better. We are an excellent bunch of people, but there is always room for improvement
Captain Szymanski stated.
The areas he highlights for improvement include:
- Seafarer safety – especially enclosed spaces and lifeboat safety
- Inclusion and diversity – “we are a truly global business but sometimes we forget to include everyone. There must not be an attitude of ‘my way or the gangway’.”
- Tackle abuse – abuse of hours of work, abuse of each other, abuse of position
- De-criminalise seafarers – provide legal support for the workforce not just the owners. “We need sound insurance policies for seafarers and legal representation in disputes with Regulators and Authorities,” Captain Szymanski says.
The tireless work seafarers put in during the pandemic underscored their importance in the maritime industry. Without seafarers there would be no shipping. We must do all we can to ensure every seafarer is treated fairly and fully supported as they help keep world trade flowing
Declaring that “shipping consumed me completely”, Capt Szymanski stresses the importance of seafarers to the shipping industry. “Very soon in my sea time I realised how important it is to look after people, so they could look after our business – the ships. This mantra stayed with me and paid off handsomely. I have formed very strong bonds with the people I sailed with and we work together even now.”
Now, InterManager is joining the IMO in urging seafarers to share their stories online, using the hashtag #seafarerjourney, to enable the whole maritime community to celebrate seafarer journeys together.