Celebrating Seafarers: Be Safety-Conscious. Be Mentally Aware. You Matter.

June 25 is designated each year to celebrate seafarers, but in reality, we should celebrate them every day. Seafarers are the backbone of global trade, transporting over 90% of the world’s goods by volume by sea. They are the unsung heroes behind the transportation of essential goods and resources that we rely on daily.

This year, the International Maritime Organization has chosen “Top Tips for Safety at Sea” as the theme to mark Day of the Seafarer, 2024. Protecting, training, and advocating for the humans at sea has been at the heart of everything we do for the last 30 years.

Well over 60% of our certification checklist is related to safety because we strongly believe that in order to protect the environment, we need safety, quality, and the human element. Even if a certain requirement in our checklist appears to be purely environmental, there is a significant safety aspect linked. That is why we motivate and incentivize shipping companies and stakeholders to go above and beyond in ensuring the highest standard of safety—first for the crew onboard, then the environment, and the cargo.

“Without seafarers’ continuous involvement in maintaining a ship, we would see an industry with many incidents. To safely maintain the maritime industry and protect our environment, seafarers are challenged every day to make the right decisions. These right decisions are often taken for granted and remain invisible to many of us,” said Peter Van Hattum, Survey Manager, Green Award Foundation.

“The pride that seafarers take in their work motivates them to deploy all their competence and skill sets, leaving no room for overlooking details. This may sound easier than it is, being in an environment where you have to deal with constant isolation from your family and sometimes harsh weather conditions. This is something that not everyone is cut out for. Seafarers are a special breed of people. Being a seafarer is not just a job; it’s a chosen lifestyle,” Peter added.

Henk Hoogerbeets, a Green Award seagoing surveyor, stresses the importance of being safety-conscious as a seafarer. “As we mark this special day set aside for seafarers, my advice for the heroes out there remains, follow the set procedures and regulations; they are there to protect you. Be aware of hidden dangers. Step back, assess, and always look after your colleagues.”

One of our certification checklists that we emphasize very often when auditing a shipping company and surveying a ship is fatigue management. It does not matter how much a seafarer is trained or their experience or procedure; if they are experiencing burnout and are not in good mental health, they are a threat to themselves, the crew onboard, the environment and the stakes can be high.

“Whenever we survey a ship and see an immaculately maintained and organized ship, we see the touch of pride of a seafarer. Go on and display your pride today and always,” said Peter.

As we celebrate the Day of the Seafarers this year, we call on shipping companies to take some moments to reflect on the internal process that ensures above standard safety for their seafarers. Our certification checklist could be a good place to begin.