National Maritime Week: A Tribute To All Sailors
National Maritime Week kicks off September 20th (Sunday) this year (2010). Here in Bicol, Philippines, the celebration started at the shores of Legazpi City, Albay wherein local ships docked at Penaranda pier simultaneously blew their horns as signal of the opening salvo.
It is one of the parallel activities with International Seafarers Day and World Maritime Day.
A 21-gun salute was also conducted by the Philippine Ports authority in Bicol dedicated to all sailors around the world, especially those who lost their lives in waters dubbed as "Memorial of the Sea."
Other highlight of the first day was the Ocean Rescue Drill which is very important if calamity happens again.
Almost all the PPA branches organized a series of activities revolving on this year's theme: "Philippine Maritime Industry: Onward to Global Competitiveness"
Similar activities will be conducted throughout the Philippine archipelago:
- September 21, there will be an installation of standard segregated waste receptacle in all government ports, port and coastal clean-up and a forum on eco-waste.
- September 22, dockworkers and their family will be the beneficiary of a medical mission and blood-letting in the morning, forum on eco-waste management.
- September 23, there will be a swimming competition and awarding of maritime sports tournament.
- September 24, there will be a video showing about global warming and environmental awareness to passenger vessels, a forum on maritime law - RA 9293.
World Maritime Day
As the seafaring industry turns another leaf for the 21st century, more and more developments are visible for the welfare of the people in it itself (agencies and the seafarers) and the environment.
World Maritime Day 2010: Year of the Seafarer will be observed during the week of 20 to 24 September 2010 and will be celebrated at the organization's headquarters on September 23.
The Convention establishing the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was adopted in Geneva in 1948 and IMO first met in 1959. IMO's main task has been to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
A specialised agency of the United Nations with 169 Member States and three Associate Members, IMO is based in the United Kingdom with around 300 international staff.
Every year IMO celebrates World Maritime Day. The exact date is left to individual Governments but is usually celebrated during the last week in September. The day is used to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasise a particular aspect of The International Maritime Organisation's (IMO's) work.
Here in the Philippines, the special day usually falls on September 25th or earlier that involves cleaning of different shores and ship terminals.
In Manila, seafarers on vacation partake in that special day by way of paying tribute to the Philippine Seafarer's Union. Although, not all seafarers are members of the union (depending on the manning agencies and its principals), many Filipino seaman participate in the annual activities, including street parade at the main thoroughfares in Manila, Cebu and Davao and other key cities and provinces, like Legazpi City, Negros and the like.
Awards for outstanding seafarers and their families are always given during the occasion. Best and top shipping principals and manning agencies are also recognized.
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UFS for seafarers' security
Have you seen many seafarers at the Luneta Park? I'm sure you do. You will also notice the presence of many office 'carts' of many shipping agencies haggling for prospective sailors to work with them. There are many manning agencies to choose from. There are lots of competition, yet , this is a good thing. You can now bargain your diploma and trainings with an appropriate company of your liking. This busy Seafarer's Center is courtesy of both hardships and steadfastness of the group called UFS. Let us know them by heart.
UFS stands for United Filipino Seafarers. This was conceived 14 years ago way back December 12, 1994 through the initiatives of some maritime officers and supporters headed by Marine Chief Engineer Nelson Ramirez from Davao, Mindanao.
Existing Filipino seafarers' groups that were unstable during that time joined forces for a more credible organization that will help seaman defend their rights against oppressive ship owners and foreign officers that often maligned local sailors by paying sub-standard wages or not following POEA (Philippine Overseas Employment administration) contracts and other harsh treatments.
I've been a member of the union since 2008. although it's a little bit late for me since I've been an active seaman starting 2001. I just don't know why there are manning agencies who wouldn't like to ask help from UFS to secure their employees, like me.
Good thing is that more and more improvement in the Philippine seafaring industry is visible nowadays.
Since we are the 'crewing capital' of the world, it is a must for us to be members of this vigilant organization for a more secured employment, whether, it's local or foreign embarkation.
To support UFS goals, there's a radio program every Sunday that is aired over DWIZ AM (11:00 am-12:00 noon) in Metro Manila hosted by Engr. Ramirez himself and veteran radio personality Apa Yupangco. Questions regarding seafaring industry can be answered clearly through this radio program if you want to participate.
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