One of the main objectives of the yearly celebration is to highlight the important role of seafarers in society and help develop a well deserved appreciation of the seafaring profession.
The ongoing pandemic however still showed the utter lack of appreciation of the essential role of seafarers by not only by the mainstream society, but policymakers as well.
This sad fact was emphasized by Atty. Iris Baguilat, president of president of Döhle Seafront Crewing (Manila) Inc., in her presentation at the CrewConnect Europe Virtual Conference the other night.
The problem over crew change would not have reached crisis proportion without the “glaring lack by recognition by our mainstream society,” she said.
“ When policymakers and the general population think or speak of COVID frontliners, they mean medical personnel, grocery workers, garbage collectors but never a seafarer even in a seafaring country like the Philippines,” Atty. Baguilat lamented.
“Thus,” she stressed, “as an industry, we need to push for more mainstream recognition.”
Atty. Baguilat and a handful of crewing executives were at the forefront of the move during the onset of the pandemic to recognize seafarers as ‘key workers” allowing them safe and unhampered movement.
Their steadfast efforts snowballed among leaders of the crewing community that eventually culminated with the government issuance of the Joint Circular creating the so-called Green Lane.