June 25 next year will be observed internationally as ???Day of the Seafarer’ as the global community seeks to stimulate interest in the maritime sector, and to stave off a predicted labour-supply shortage.

Word of this has come from Minister responsible for International Transport, George Hutson, who has also pledged his Ministry’s commitment to revive interest in the local sector.

Addressing a recent Careers Showcase?? to mark Maritime Week, Minister Hutson?? said while there were approximately 1.5 million seafarers, who operated the world’s fleet of vessels, with responsibility for bringing over 90 per cent of traded goods to homes and businesses, it had been predicted that there would?? be a labour-supply shortage of seafarers.

??"To counteract this, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has?? launched a ???Go to Sea Programme’ specifically to address this shortage particularly at the level of officers. Further, to recognise the unique contribution made by seafarers to the international sea-bourne trade, the IMO has agreed that June 25, each year, should be marked as a ???Day of the Seafarer’. The inaugural Day is to be held on June 25, 2011, and I propose that this event be celebrated locally," Minister Hutson said.

On the part of Barbados, he noted that the country once had a thriving seafaring community and its seafarers were held in high regard, a situation, which he would like to see, return.

"Remittances from these seafarers were the sole support of families who, on these sums were able to raise their children and make a valuable contribution to the growth of our nations. As Minister with responsibility for International Transport, it is one of my objectives to revive the interest among young people in careers in the maritime industry, as well as the aviation industry," Mr. Hutson assured.

The IMO is a specialised United Nations agency responsible for improving maritime safety, and preventing pollution from ships.?? cgaskin@barbados.gov.bb

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