Sea Sunday can be celebrated on any Sunday in the year but is usually commemorated on the second Sunday in July by Christian churches, seafaring charities such as the Apostleship of the Sea, The Mission to Seafarers and the Sailors’ Society, as well as non-denominational groups such as Sea Cadets who conduct fundraisers, hold parades, and run awareness campaigns about life at sea.
It provides an opportunity to think, pray, celebrate and fundraise with thousands of Christians around the world – from London to Lagos, Manila to Melbourne and pray about the lives of seafarers, their families and those who support them, celebrating seafarers together and raising money to fund their vital work.
Having taken place every July for 160 years, Sea Sunday is one of the biggest fundraiser events on most seafaring organisations calendars.
I like to think that these days people are more aware of the significant role seafarers serving in the Merchant Navies of the world play, in bringing them foods and goods that are essential and desirable in helping them to enjoy their lifestyle. That said, I doubt if many people realise that 95% of imports and exports by volume are transported by sea. A truly staggering fact that probably evades most people and it is down to the seafaring organisations to keep hammering away at educating the global population to know just how much they owe to seafarers and try to evoke some gratitude and respect for the men and women who work in such a dangerous environment.
This year, once again, the annual Day of the Seafarer was celebrated on 25 June and the theme of the 2019 campaign is ‘I Am On Board with gender equality’.
Throughout 2019 there is a strong emphasis in the maritime world on the importance and value of women within the professional ranks. Much of this is being driven by the World Maritime Day theme (Empowering Women in the Maritime Community). It is already clear that this theme has a very strong and far-reaching resonance.
It 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.
It is very reassuring that there are all of the aforementioned organisations and people in existence and active, who are successfully promoting the value, necessity and benefits of seafarers, male and female to the global economy. Long may it continue.
JHL MBE SSL Co. Chairman