The Occasion of “World Maritime Day 2021”
National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) organized a webinar to celebrate “World Maritime Day” on 5th October 2021, to raise awareness about the important role that seafarers play in sustaining global shipping and providing livelihood to the world community. The theme of this year’s World Maritime Day, as set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is “Seafarers: at the Core of Shipping’s Future”. IMO has chosen this theme to make 2021 a year of action for seafarers, who face unprecedented hardships of sea life and various other hurdles, particularly due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
In this regard, a virtual maritime discourse (Webinar) was arranged by NIMA to mark the occasion. During the Webinar, maritime experts dilated upon the importance of seafarers and how billions of people worldwide rely on shipping and seafarers. Syed Syedain Raza Zaidi, Director General Ports & Shipping, graced the event as Chief Guest. Vice Admiral (Retd) Abdul Aleem HI(M) Director-General NIMA, welcomed the chief guest, webinar speakers, and the participants and highlighted the significance of the day. He said, that the main objective of observing World Maritime Day is to draw attention to the invaluable services rendered by the seafarers in general and the problems faced by Pakistani seafarers in particular.
During his keynote address, Captain Anwar Shah a maritime expert shared his views on the various issues and dynamics of shipping and seafaring in Pakistan. He said that the services and professionalism of seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic are beyond their contractual obligations and are globally recognized. He pointed out that the imposition of tax on seafarers in Pakistan is not justifiable. NIMA and DG Port & Shipping should look into this and raise the issue at appropriate forums. He said that we have all the potential however need to explore and build a good image of our country. Captain Jamil Akhtar during his talk emphasized the need to recognize the seafarers as key workers. He stressed that there is a need to provide more benefits to Pakistani seafarers and their families like health insurance cards, pension, disability compensation, and housing schemes, etc.
Captain Syed Aziz ul Haque highlighted various relevant issues of the shipping industry and the seafarers. He also emphasized the need to add all types of vessels to the national fleet, promote and establish marine industry-related businesses on our own or with foreign partners. He also accentuated that urgent steps should be taken to uplift the maritime sector as Pakistan needs to fill up the vacuum in the maritime industry to bring self-sustainability.
Mr. Zahid Rehman, CEO of Bahria Classification Society (BCS) highlighted the important role of classification societies and the need for having Pakistan’s own classification society. He shared with the participants that Bahria Foundation has taken the lead in this regard and has developed the Bahria Classification Society for harnessing the benefits for Pakistan’s maritime interests and the safety of shipping.
Syed Syedain Raza Zaidi DG Ports & Shipping, during his address as the Chief Guest, highlighted various steps the Government of Pakistan has taken to address the concerns and issues of the seafarers in Pakistan. The Chief Guest appreciated the efforts of NIMA and said that more such activities and events should be conducted to increase awareness about the maritime domain.
During the session, a segment with the title “Tales of Seafarers” was included during which reputed representatives of the seafarer community namely Captain Zubair Rehman, Captain Irshad Ahmed, and Captain Zaheer Khan shared their thoughts and experiences during their service onboard ships. All the participants took a keen interest in their stories, which brought about the challenges of sea life.
The event was attended by a large number of eminent personalities from the maritime industry, professionals and experts, government officials, academics, researchers, and key maritime stakeholders. Commodore (Retd) Ali Abbas, Director NIMA Karachi was the moderator of the webinar. In the end, DG NIMA Vice Admiral (Retd) Abdul Aleem HI(M) thanked the Chief Guest and the speakers for delivering extremely informative talks. He appreciated the organizing team and also thanked the participants for their overwhelming attendance and interest in the event. He assured that NIMA will continue to conduct similar activities in the future as well for the promotion of the maritime sector of Pakistan.