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Ever since World Maritime Day was created by the United Nations in 1978 through the International Maritime Organization, global communities have continued to honour the tradition of recognising the international shipping industry as a cost-effective, convenient, and safe means of transport, and to promote a universal understanding of the marine industry while outlining challenges and solutions to its prevailing issues.

Indisputably, its meaning has now shifted focus to highlight the herculean efforts of the world’s two million seafarers who’ve ensured that vital medical supplies, food, and other basic goods have continued to reach their destinations.

This year’s World Maritime Day theme has been titled ‘Seafarers at the core of shipping’s future’, a testament to the crucial role played by seafarers in world trade and their contribution to our global recovery; a sentiment neatly summarised by Group CEO, Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi on ‘Day of the Seafarer’ earlier this year.

“Our seafarers serve as the unsung heroes of world trade, and they deserve our utmost respect, attention, and care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they have played a key role in securing the smooth flow of goods and medical supplies into Abu Dhabi as normal. Day of the Seafarer is one of the many ways we support them and celebrate their contribution.”

As way of standing in solidarity with our maritime community during the peak of the pandemic, our “Horns of Hope” initiative, in which ships signalled their horns for 15 seconds at dusk reached more than 260 million people in over 23 countries, serving as a powerful message of solidarity with critical sector personnel, in particular the brave front line workers that kept supply chains moving and hospitals and clinics open.

Launched several months prior to World Maritime Day, our decision to initiate “Horns of Hope” came as part of our wider strategy to support not just the morale of our seafaring community, but its practical safety.

From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams worked diligently to safeguard the well-being of seafarers by prioritising their physical and mental health, which was in part achieved through the establishment of quarantine-compliant onshore facilities that provided internet, entertainment, and exercise. In better safeguarding our land-based personnel, the implementation of remote operating systems helped to protect port vessels and operators from incoming ship crews through features including remote pilotage and a host of intelligent shipping applications.

More recently, we collaborated with the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, to launch a comprehensive campaign allowing easy access to PCR testing and COVID-19 vaccinations for seafarers.

While acknowledging the sacrifices and contributions made, this year’s World Maritime Day-theme also encompasses the future of the industry and how safety, maritime security, environmental protection, and seafarer wellbeing can be enhanced. All of this while understanding the changing dynamics of the roles within the business against the backdrop of increased digitalisation and automation.

By leveraging a culture of innovation, AD Ports Group, through its Abu Dhabi Maritime

No matter where you’re based in the world, our global society owes a huge debt of gratitude to the brave men and women who’ve ensured our supply chains have kept running throughout the pandemic, so on this World Maritime Day we ask that you join us in sharing this recognition and supporting the development of this vital arm of our society.

To find out more about how we’re observing World Maritime Day, don’t miss our specially dedicated podcasts available on SMN, which feature exclusive news and information from some of our key personnel including Capt. Ammar Al Shaiba, Managing Director, Zayed Port, Kim Larsen, Vice President, Commercial & Business Development and Chief Harbour Master, Capt. Mohamed Al Yahyaei.