The IMO has declared 2010 Year of the Seafarer. But National Secretary of the MUA Paddy Crumlin says to ensure a future for young seafarers, 2010 is the year the Government needs to urgently create incentives for investment in new ships.
The International Maritime Organisation has placed a clear focus on the world's 1.5 million seafarers in 2010 by choosing- as the theme for World Maritime Day - "2010: Year of the Seafarer".
Secretary General of the IMO, Efthimios Mitropoulos, said dedicating the theme to men and women seafarers recognised the "contribution you make to the well-being of all of us. We will do so with deep appreciation, in recognition of the extraordinary service you render every day of your professional life, frequently under dangerous circumstances, in delivering, to the more than 6.5 billion people of the world, the wheat that makes our daily bread, the gas and oil that warms our homes or moves our vehicles and the gifts we will share and enjoy with our families and friends over this Festive Season."
"We are ever-conscious of the important role you play in helping us achieve safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans - the goals that we, as the United Nations specialized agency charged with the regulation of international shipping and as a member of the global maritime community, have set ourselves. And so, we will celebrate next year's World Maritime Day theme with much pride in your contribution to our objectives, to the facilitation of more than 90% of the world's trade, and to sustainable human development", Mr Mitropoulos said.
The message was one of reassuring seafarers that the IMO would seek to add impetus to the "Go to Sea!" campaign, launched in November 2008 to attract new entrants to the shipping industry.
The MUA's National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said the union would continue to offer incentives to young people seeking a future in seafaring, with opportunities widening with the fast expanding growth on oil and gas projects off the north west of Australia, in Timor, Bass Strait and Papua New Guinea.
"If we are celebrating the Year of the Seafarer in Australia this year we have to make sure that there is a clear future for the young men and women we are recruiting. It puts more focus on the need for the Government to put the reforms in place to revitalise Australian shipping.
"The Government is considering a number of ways to stimulate spending in new infrastructure through items like a tonnage tax on ships - frequently used in successful international shipping economies. As an industry we have to let the Government know how urgent changes are in 2010.
Mr Mitropoulos said the IMO wanted seafarers to know that "the entire shipping community understands and cares for you".
"As shown by the efforts we make to ensure that you are fairly treated when ships on which you serve become involved in accidents; are looked after when you are abandoned in ports; are not refused shore leave for security purposes; are protected when your work takes you into piracy-infested areas; and are not left unaided when you are in distress at sea"..