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National Maritime Week kicks off to honour India’s seafarers

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New Delhi, March 30:  The weeklong celebration of National Maritime Day to pay tribute to the country’s seafarers has kicked off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi being honoured with the Merchant Navy Flag pinned on his lapel by TK Ramachandran, Secretary of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, according to an official statement issued on Saturday.

The National Maritime Week, spanning from March 29 to April 5, pays tribute to the invaluable contributions of the country’s seafarers. It also marks the historic voyage of the first Indian Steamship, ‘S.S. Loyalty’ of M/s. Scindia Steam Navigation Co. Ltd., Mumbai, which ventured into international waters on her maiden voyage from Mumbai to London on this day in 1919, now marked as ‘National Maritime Day’.

In his address, TK Ramachandran emphasised the pivotal role Indian seafarers in sustaining the global supply chain. He reiterated that the National Maritime Week celebrations are a tribute to these unsung heroes of the sea.

National Maritime Day Celebrations will be held across the country, spanning major ports such as Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kandla, Visakhapatnam, as well as intermediary, minor, and inland water ports in various states and Union Territories. These celebrations serve to highlight the remarkable progress achieved by the Indian Maritime Industry since Independence, underscoring its significant contributions to the country’s GDP.

These events include the Merchant Navy Flag Day, seminars, medical camps, blood donation drives, and a poignant wreath laying ceremony to honour the sailors who sacrificed their lives during the first and second world wars.

Over the last 9 years, the number of Indian seafarers has increased by 140 per cent. In 2014, the total count of active Indian seafarers was 117,090 which rose to 280,000 in 2023.

Under the Maritime India Vision 2030, India aspires to emerge as a premier seafaring nation by establishing world-class standards in education, research, and training within the maritime sector. India is a signatory to both the STCW Convention and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). Indian seafarers occupy 12 per cent of international seafaring jobs, and the Maritime Vision 2030 recommends that this figure reach 20 per cent by 2030.

IANS

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