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WMU : The World of the Seafarer Webinar

In honour of World Maritime Day 2021, the World Maritime University (WMU) hosted an Alumni Webinar on 23 September that focused on the new volume from the WMU Studies in Maritime Affairs book series, titled “The World of the Seafarer: Qualitative Accounts of Working in the Global Shipping Industry”

The 2021 World Maritime theme, “Seafarers: at the core of shippingʹs future”, reflects a clear need to raise awareness of seafarersʹ vital role in world trade and increase their visibility. In the shipping industry, 1.9 million seafarers are estimated to work on cruise and cargo vessels. Seafarers have been, and continue to be, at the forefront of global maritime transportation. However, the recognition of seafarers’ work and sacrifice is patchy and analyses of the shipping industry are insufficient.

The new book partially addresses the need for a broader understanding of this sector and provides a detailed account of the industry as a complex jigsaw of globally dispersed elements. The volume has been positively reviewed in the maritime press and is being widely read with more than 28,000 downloads registered on the publishers’ website and has been nominated for the Mountbatten Award for Best Book for the Maritime Media Awards 2021.

The webinar opened with a video message from Dr Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation. He noted that the book brings together the work done at The Nippon Foundation Fellowship Programme at Cardiff University’s Seafarers International Research Centre (SIRC), and its timely release with the 2021 World Maritime Day Theme. “When we think about the magnitude of the oceans and the diverse range of maritime issues, no single research or field of expertise can solve today’s complicated web of ocean-related issues alone,” he said. For the future of “the oceans that are a shared assist of humanity,” he called for the sharing of research results and expertise across organizations, national borders and disciplines.

The webinar proceeded with presentations from the Editors of the book, Professor Helen Sampson, Director of the Seafarers International Research Centre, Cardiff University, and Professor Victor Gekara, College of Business and Law, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Contributors of some of the book’s chapters also spoke about their PhD research work funded by The Nippon Foundation. 

In her closing remarks, Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU, thanked The Nippon Foundation for their generous support for the book. She expressed the hope that more research relating to seafarers’ rights and the challenges they face will continue to be undertaken and funded. “This webinar makes an important contribution to the maritime community by increasing knowledge from social science research which provides the depth of understanding of contemporary challenges that the maritime industry is facing. WMU will continue to promote the rights of seafarers through education, research capacity-building together with IMO, the ILO and other maritime stakeholders,” she said.

Thanks to the generous support by The Nippon Foundation, the book is made available to everyone through open access. To download “The World of the Seafarer” e-book, click here. 

To access the recorded webinar, click here.

About World Maritime Day

World Maritime Day was first held in 1978 to mark the 20th anniversary of the IMO Convention’s entry into force. Celebrations are held throughout the world to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment, and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work. World Maritime Day celebrations are usually held during the last week in September. 

Since 2005, in addition to the official IMO celebrations held at IMO Headquarters in London, there has been a Parallel Event hosted by a member State, which is South Africa in 2021.

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