Today is the Day of the Seafarer. It’s the day for all Seamen, Seafarers, Mariners, Sailors, Navigators, and Sea Dogs.
We are called with different names by different people. We travel and move the world to go forward. There are no such things as too dangerous, too risky, too much, too hot, or too cold for we brave these environments day in and day out.
We follow the most complicated schedules even with the roughest seas just to make sure our goods get to the people on land so they can enjoy the life they always wanted.
And what do we get in return? A few hundred or thousand dollars and a thank you. Because for everyone, this is just “another job” from us that they see.
The Invisible Industry
All of my sea life, I have not heard anybody from our ports of call say, “Thank you for bringing us gasoline to our place” or “We are glad that you came and provided our island with diesel for our cars.”
Nope, not a single soul ever said that or similar things as that. Nor even heard something like it experienced by my fellow seaman friends on board various types of ships. So let’s face it. We contribute a lot but we’re invisible. That is why the Maritime Industry is also termed as the Invisible Industry.
But today, let’s make it different. This day, the Day of the Seafarer, let us acknowledge the immense contribution we are giving to the world. Let us make it clear that seafarers are not only there to make money but also to drive society to progress.
Behind the Social Media glamour
There is more to those fancy uniforms, expensive shore leaves, and stunning photographs that they see on social media.
On this Day of the Seafarer, let us spread awareness of why people should be thankful for Mariners. And as seamen, let us not forget that what we are doing is greater than ourselves. This is more than just a job. It is a privilege given to only a few people in the world.
These seamen, which is only less than 0.03% of the world’s population, are also responsible for societies’ advancement. Without shipping, half of the world would starve and the other half would freeze. Remember this and you will think of seafaring on a different level.
Every seaman endures so many sacrifices not found elsewhere. We are unique for our work environment is unique in itself. There is a hidden, unwritten provision in our contract which is this- seafarers must sacrifice family togetherness for their jobs.
When we become seafarers, we accept the fact that we will dedicate half of our life at sea- sometimes more. This means less family bonding and seeing our kids grow up through phones or social media.
It means we will be absent from the most important events of their lives- the baby’s first spoken word, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, and so on.
We love them so much yet we are willing to be far from them most of the time. And when our kids grow up, they know us as their provider, not the genuine father other men truly feel.
The family aspect is not the only challenge seafarers must endure. On this Day of Seafarer, be it known to all that seafarers work in the most dangerous environment. Working on board presents hazards in itself. Even the cargo that we carry contains hazards. And the ship is already a running fuel- a fire hazard.
When we are in the middle of the ocean, we are at the mercy of the waves. Things could go wrong within the ship and its surroundings. When something grave happens, help from the shore could be a few hours or even days away.
This is the reality that face even if we know that during emergencies, every second could mean the difference between life and death. But the roughest seas are not the only dangers that worry us.
We have pirates that take seafarers as hostage and sometimes kill them. We travel to the coldest part of the North and also to the hottest places where it’s nearly impossible to work.
Isn’t it true that we have fire and explosion hazards on board yet we don’t have professional firefighters? We have piracy but not all ships have armed guards or private maritime securities. Then we have serious health hazards but no doctor is present. Yet here we are still ready to rock and roll.
Facing the most stringent and toughest rules
The seas may be unforgiving but it’s not only nature every seaman is worried about. Let’s face it. Seafarers follow the toughest rules, regulations, and laws. Life is unfair and when sh*t happens, all fingers point to the ship. It’s like we are always the ones to blame.
There are so many books and guidelines regarding rules and regulations seafarers must follow. Yet, even with those around, seafarers still face problems when going to other countries especially when authorities extort money or goods from us.
Then there are Laws on different ports that we must be aware of because authorities expect us to abide by them. There are cases when seafarers are blamed, imprisoned, and tortured. Imagine the fear and trauma when a seafarer is falsely criminalized in a foreign country.
Despite all these, we continue to sail. Even with the toughest rules, insanely dangerous working environments, and long-distance family relationships, seafarers continue to fulfill their duties by delivering goods to different parts of the world.
More than just another ship in the port
This is the Day of the Seafarers. This is the day when people should know our sacrifices and contributions to the world. We are proud of the privilege given to us to serve mankind. And I’m glad to be part of it.
We are more than “just another ship in the port”. We do our jobs, we make money and we move the world. That’s something to be proud of. That’s something people should also be thankful for.
God bless all our Invisible Heroes. Safe sailing and May the winds be in your favor.
Share this article with friends, families, and fellow seafarers to let them know about our sacrifices and contributions.