Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey chatting with Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Barbados Port Inc., David Jean Marie, at a lighting ceremony at the Cube Blue Building yesterday. (B. Hinds/BGIS)

Today marks World Maritime Day, and Barbados has joined with the International Maritime Organization to celebrate the occasion, by lighting significant and symbolic maritime structures in the colour blue.

Minister of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy, Kirk Humphrey, speaking at a lighting ceremony at the Cube Blue Building, Prescod Boulevard, St. Michael, last evening, highlighted the importance of this year’s theme Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future.

Minister Humphrey stated: “It is really important work; the work that the seafarers have done and continue to do.  Seafarers play a vital role in the global supply chain, and have shown tremendous fortitude and determination in continuing to deliver global trade throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m grateful that we have the opportunity every year to say thanks to them.”

He shared that Barbados is doing its part to recognise the important role seafarers play and is working on Merchant Seafarers’ shipping legislation that would address a number of issues pertaining to seafarers. 

He said that the Ministry would be seeking to provide Standards of Training Certification and training in watch keeping, as well as in maritime health, business and medicine.

Also speaking at the lighting ceremony was Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at the Barbados Port Inc., David Jean Marie, who pointed out that shipping is the “cornerstone of global trade and the centre piece of the world’s economy”.

“More than 90 per cent of the world’s trade is carried by ships and it impacts every aspect of our lives, even though it may not always be apparent…. The world has never been more interconnected, and by implication, never more reliant on shipping. Seafarers play an important role in moving people and products. Simply said, without seafarers, ships will not move.  Global trade would come to a standstill,” he emphasised.

Chief Technical Officer in the Ministry, Jacqueline Blackman, also highlighted the importance of seafarers. She said: “Seafarers are essential for the safe, secure and efficient operation of ships, and contribute to the protection of the fragile marine environment. Their presence is necessary for the transportation of goods and passengers on our oceans and waterways, and is essential for the post COVID-19 economic recovery.”

Ms. Blackman added that the Cube Blue building had been chosen as the building to be illuminated during the next four days, from 5:45 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., as part of the observance of World Maritime Day.

This year’s World Maritime Day Minister’s awardees are: Isaiah Cozier; John-Bernard D. Yearwood and the Barbados Port Inc.

Mr. Cozier is being recognised for his outstanding performance in the Maritime Operations Certificate at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI). 

Mr. Yearwood was awarded for his outstanding performance in the Marine Diesel Engineering Diploma at the SJPI; and the Barbados Port Inc. has been awarded for its humanitarian efforts in the repatriation of thousands of crew members and passengers from ships, and the consistent provision of port services to Barbadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Maritime Day is observed every year on the last Thursday in September.

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