Today is being celebrated as Seafarer Day under the theme “seafarers’ well-being”. In 2010, the day of the seafarer was established in a resolution adopted by the International Maritime Organisation. Here in Belize, the day was commemorated with the issuance of a plaque to Captain Genaro U De Juan of the vessel, Century Royal and tokens were given to seafarers onboard the vessel. Love News spoke with Marlene Martinez, Ports Commissioner at the Belize Port Authority about the initiative.
Marlene Martinez Ports Commission Belize Port Authority: This year’s theme to bring attention to Seafarer’s mental health is an important one so we could start looking at things and for governments to adopt practices that will protect Seafarer’s mental health or enhance their mental health and their general well being. The day of the Seafarers is really and International day, it is observed internationally so it was important for us to recognize Seafarer’s that are working on these vessels that travel internationally. The celebration is by Marbe, Belize Port Authority, Fisheries Department, Department of the Environment, Belize Coast guard. All of those agencies that work on the sea or are connected with the Maritime World , we got together and said let us recognize them
Love News also spoke with Edmond Staine, Seafarers Manager at IMMARBE.
Edmond Staine – Seafarers Manager, IMMARBE: Actually the vessels name is Century Royal, this is a sugar vessel, it’s a bulk carrier, and it is flagged by Panama and is here to take our sweet sugar all the way to the UK.
Reporter: Ok so how long has it been in port?
Edmond Staine Seafarer Manager, IMMARBE: I think this vessel came in on the 17th but usually these vessels take up to a month to load because this vessel I think should be taking upwards of 11 thousand tons of sugar.
Minister with responsibility for Port Authority, Edmond Castro, said that seafarers make a huge contribution to the world’s economy.
Edmond Castro – Minister of Port Authority: I would venture off into saying 90% or so of the commerce actually seen. Today is the recognition that has been given to them and today is the first time we are actually recognizing Seafarers and so I think as the Minister responsible for Port I took the opportunity to board the vessel and say thanks for being and doing all that hard work.
Martinez said that shipping is one of the pillars of Belize’s economy.