IMO will be celebrating the fourth anniversary of its global 'Day of the Seafarer' campaign on 25 June.
"Seafarers," says the IMO, "Are the people without whom food, clothes, gifts, gadgets or even basic needs would not reach our doors. We rely on them every day. Yet have you ever said thank you to a seafarer? Chances are you haven't."
25 June is the opportunity to do so.
The IMRF continues to lend our support to the IMO's initiative. Our member organisations – the providers of maritime search and rescue (SAR) services – help those who get into trouble at sea, which includes professional seafarers from time to time.
But we would like to use the opportunity presented by the Day of the Seafarer to highlight something else. Seafarers are part of the global SAR plan: we too rely on them every day.
Deep-sea, or in the sparsely-populated or poorer parts of the world where there are no dedicated units, it is only passing shipping that can carry out maritime SAR work.
Where there are no rescue boats or helicopters, or where such units cannot get to the scene of distress quickly enough, it is the seafarers on nearby ships who must respond; to search, and to rescue.
This can be difficult and sometimes dangerous work.
Seafarers have always tried to help others in distress if they can: a tradition now enshrined in international law. But that should never mean that is taken for granted.
Involvement in SAR may cost a shipping company significant amounts of money. It naturally increases the stresses on the ships' crews themselves, knowing that lives may depend on them alone.
It may add to the risks they face. Yet still they respond when called upon.
For this year's campaign, the IMO are inviting you to complete the sentence "Seafarers brought me..........." with a word denoting something specific of your choosing – and if possible, to supplement this with a photo, video and/or written message and post it on the platform of your choice using the social media hashtag #thankyouseafarers
You can also voice your support on the IMO's virtual wall: dayoftheseafarer2014
The IMRF is pleased to take this opportunity to salute our colleagues the professional seafarers, who can bring more than food, clothes, gifts and gadgets. Sometimes, they bring life too.