Vanuatu also joined in the International World Seafarers Day Celebrations held at the Seafront Park on Tuesday this week.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “I am on board with gender equality.”

The Chief Executice Officer (CEO) of the Seafarers Union of Vanuatu, Jenneck Patunvanu said the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has chosen gender equality as the main campaign theme for the day to emphasis on the importance and value of women within the professional ranks throughout the maritime world.

CEO Patunvanu said that this provides an opportunity to highlight opportunities for women (as well as the contributions they are already making) in a wide range of maritime careers and professions, but the focus will be very firmly on one aspect of that community – seafarers.

Mr Patunvanu said that as CEO of the Seafarers Union of Vanuatu he encouraged women and girls in Vanuatu to pursue careers in this sector and calls upon the Government to prioritize opportunities for women and girls in maritime.

He said that Seafarers contribute a lot to the economy of Vanuatu but they receive very little recognition.

“In 2010, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), decided to designate June 25th as the International Day of the Seafarer as a way to recognize that almost everything that we use in our daily lives has been directly or indirectly affected by sea transport. The purpose of the day is to give thanks to seafarers for their contribution to the world economy and the civil society; and for the risks and personal costs they bear while on their jobs,” said CEO Patunvanu.

According to IMO’s estimates, ships transport almost 90 percent of the world’s goods trade. Seafarers are not only responsible for the operations of such vessels but are also responsible for the safe and smooth delivery of the cargo.

In concluding, Mr Patunvanu acknowledged all seafarers around Vanuatu for their contribution to Vanuatu’s economy. He also acknowledged them for risking their lives for the development of the country.

“Today we not only acknowledge the invaluable work of seafarers, but to also bring global attention to the issues affecting their work and lives, such as piracy. Therefore, I call on the government of the day to develop policies that lead to fair treatment of seafarers at ports, and I ask private ship companies and owners to provide their employees with proper facilities and comforts while they are at sea,” said Mr Patunvanu.

Mr Patunvanu calls for support to continue their work for the betterment of Vanuatu.