Seafarers recognised for their integral role in the country’s development

—during day of the seafarer 2024

Seafarers were lauded on Tuesday for their unwavering dedication, sacrifice, and contribution to global trade during the day of the seafarer 2024 celebrations at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).

The World Maritime Day 2024 observance was held under the theme ‘Seafarers’ Contribution to Making the Maritime Sector a Safer Workplace.’

During brief remarks, Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) Director General, Stephen Thomas, emphasised the role of seafarers in Guyana’s development.

“This occasion holds special significance for all of us. It is a reminder that we have benefited and continue to benefit from the fruits of your labour. It is also a way of saying that you play an integral role in the development of Guyana,” The Director General stated.

Thomas further highlighted the increasing demand for seafarers, particularly given Guyana’s growth in the oil and gas sector.

“It is for this reason that the government of Guyana continue to encourage others to join the profession,” he noted.

A training programme, led by the Office of the First Lady, recently certified 40 women in marine-related services, promoting gender inclusivity and skill development.

Additionally, the Ministry of Public Service’s Guyana Online Academy of Learning (GOAL) scholarship programme has introduced a seafarer course aimed at strengthening the future maritime and oil and gas workforce.

The Director General also mentioned ongoing efforts to enhance the welfare of seafarers, with the government working towards ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention. This will ensure better living conditions on ships, including improved vacation policies, wages, accommodation, and food quality.

“The government will continue to work on policy support not only for seafarers but also their families. So, seafarers, you have a partner in the government of Guyana who supports you, who cherishes and respects you, and we will continue to provide for you,” Thomas stated.

Safety in the country’s waterways has also been a priority of the government, with significant interventions by MARAD. These include the removal of over 20 wrecks in Port Georgetown and the procurement of advanced hydrographic surveying equipment to ensure navigational safety.

Since the government returned to office in August 2020, 28 new beacons have been constructed in the Demerara River, 47 in the Essequibo River, one in the Waini River, Region One, and four in the Berbice River, further strengthening safety measures.

Meanwhile, tokens were distributed to several seafarers for their years of service in the field.