The Maritime Union of Australia has urged all Australians to recognise today (September 23) as World Maritime Day, as designated by the United Nations.
The Maritime Union of Australia National Secretary and President of the International Transport Workers' Federation Paddy Crumlin said the MUA would mark World Maritime Day this year by
- recognising 2010 as the Year of the Seafarer,
- urging the federal government to implement its shipping and seafaring revitalisation package
- highlighting the worldwide campaign against piracy
- and commemorating the 65th anniversary of union bans in support of Indonesian independence.
Mr Crumlin said the MUA would officially celebrate World Maritime Day next Tuesday (September 28) with a march across Pyrmont Bridge in Sydney and a ceremony at the Anchor Memorial outside the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour.
The MUA has invited Hanafi Rustanda, the Indonesian Seamen's Union/International Transport Workers' Federation Asia Pacific chair, and Gary Yusuf, the Consul General for the Republic of Indonesia to the celebrations.
Mr Crumlin said while World Maritime Day was a time to reflect on the progress of the industry in Australia, it was also a time to pay attention to issues such as piracy in the Asia Pacific region, and the development of the Federal Government's shipping policy.
"While World Maritime Day is being marked in London with the handing over of a 920,000-strong petition to end Somali piracy, we also need to recognise that we have a real problem right here on our doorstep," Mr Crumlin said.
"In recent months we have seen a spate of attacks on shipping in the Asia Pacific which marks the unfortunate return of piracy in our region.
"The MUA is also looking forward to working closely with the Federal Government, and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese in particular, to develop their shipping policy which was announced during the election campaign."
Mr Crumlin said he was heartened by comments from Ms Teresa Hatch, the Executive Director of the Australian Shipowners Association, who said the shipping policy would be 'an exciting new chapter to reinvigorate a vital Australian industry'.
Program for World Maritime Day celebrations on Tuesday, September 28, 2010
9.30 am: Combined NNSW, SNSW and Sydney monthly meeting
12 midday: Assemble Pyrmont Bridge (Cityside)
12.30: Jazz band leads march across Pyrmont Bridge to the Anchor Memorial outside the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour where political, union and industry figures pay homage to the contribution and sacrifice of seafarers in war and peace, international union solidarity during the Indonesian independence struggle in 1945.
A special tribute will also be made to the late Alan Oliver, veteran seafarer, unionist and activist.
Mary-Louise Williams, Maritime Museum
Ian Bray, MUA
Paul McAleer, MUA
Hanafi Rustanda, Indonesian Seamen's Union/ITF Asia Pacific chair
Gary Yusuf, Consul General, Republic of Indonesia
Media contacts: Justin Coomber 0457 833 896; Zoe Reynolds 0417 229 873.