Belgian shipping honours seafarers

24th June 2021

For 25 June, Day of the Seafarer, the Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association has produced a series of interview videos to honour seafarers for the vital role that they play in sustaining the global supply chain.

The interview videos not only feature shipowners and seafarers, but also messages by Vincent Van Quickenborne, Belgian Minister of the North Sea, Hilde Vautmans, Belgian MEP from the Renew Europe Group, Magda Kopczynska, Director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) as well as Cpt Stéphane Leclef from the European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH).

As the first EU member state to put in place a vaccination programme for seafarers, Minister Van Quickenborne reiterates how vital seafarers are to the economy: “90% of the things we own has come to our country on a seagoing vessel. At the same time, seafarers live at sea for long periods of time in closed groups. We have to prevent corona outbreaks on board ships. With a vaccine, we offer our Belgian seafarers the security of being able to work safely in special circumstances.”

MEP Hilde Vautmans in her message adds that “the COVID pandemic has shown us the significance of connectivity with the rest of the world, which would be impossible without the thousands of seafarers of all nationalities serving on board EU-flagged vessels. Therefore, seafarers across the EU must be better respected and protected. You have my word that the EU will fight for better employment and working conditions to make the maritime profession more attractive and safer.”

The European Commission’s Director for Innovative and Sustainable Mobility, Magda Kopczynska, thanks all seafarers for “all the work that [they] have been doing now, like [they] have been doing before and like we know [they] will be doing in the future, because that’s what seafarers do, they make the world work.”

Safety is a crucial aspect of seafarers’ welfare. Cpt Leclef highlights the role played by EMASOH on preserving maritime security at important choke points such as the Strait of Hormuz, and the cooperation between European countries and the shipping community to help ensure the protection of crews and ships on the high seas.

Wilfried Lemmens, Managing Director of the Royal Belgian Shipowners’ Association, echoes the IMO theme of the day “Fair Future for Seafarers”, by highlighting that seafarers will be an essential part of the future of the maritime industry. As such, the RBSA “firmly supports the IMO and the International Chamber of Shipping to honour these heroes” on this day.

The videos also showcase Belgian seafarers including two women seafarers recounting their motivation for choosing the profession, in addition to a response by the Managing Director of Boeckmans, Vincent Durot, who explains how his company is taking care of their seafarers.

Check out our interview videos in the links below: