Date: 02/04/2024

National Maritime Day celebrations begin with pinning of first Merchant Navy flag on PM’s lapel
Celebrating exemplary role of seafarers in maritime sector
Gearing up for a weeklong celebration of National Maritime Day on April 5, 2024, the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, was honoured with the ‘Merchant Navy Flag’, pinned on his lapel here last week by Mr T. K. Ramachandran, Secretary of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, in the presence of Mr Shyam Jagannathan, Director General of Shipping, and other senior officials. Additionally, a memento was presented to the Prime Minister.
The significance of this celebration lies in honouring the services of seafarers and commemorating a proud moment in India’s maritime history. The National Maritime Week, spanning from March 29, 2024 to April 5, 2024, pays tribute to the invaluable contributions of seafarers. It also marks the historic voyage of the first Indian steamship, SS LOYALTY, of Scindia Steam Navigation Co. Ltd, Mumbai, which ventured into international waters on her maiden voyage from Mumbai to London (UK) on this day in 1919, now marked as “National Maritime Day.”
During his address, Mr Ramachandran emphasised the pivotal role Indian seafarers play in sustaining the global supply chain. He reiterated that the National Maritime Week celebrations are a tribute to these unsung heroes of the sea. The gesture of the Prime Minister proudly wearing the Merchant Navy flag signals the commencement of this week-long celebration, he said.
National Maritime Day celebrations will be held across the country, spanning Major Ports such as Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Kandla, Visakhapatnam, as well as intermediary, minor and inland water ports in various states and union territories. These celebrations serve to highlight the remarkable progress achieved by the Indian maritime industry since independence, underscoring its significant contributions to the national GDP.
In recognition of the invaluable service and pivotal role played by our seafarers in advancing shipping and fostering the nation’s prosperity, a series of week-long events will be organised. These include Merchant Navy Flag Day, seminars, medical camps, blood donation drives, and a poignant wreath laying ceremony to honour the sailors who sacrificed their lives during the First and Second World Wars.
Central to these celebrations is the main function held annually on April 5. This event serves as a focal point for commemorating the achievements of our maritime industry and paying homage to the courageous sailors who have served our nation with unwavering dedication.
Over the last 9 years, the number of seafarers has increased by 140%. In 2014, the total count of active Indian seafarers was 117,090, which is 280,000 in 2023. Under the Maritime India Vision 2030, India aspires to emerge as a premier seafaring nation by establishing world class standards in education, research and training within the maritime sector. India is a signatory to both the STCW Convention and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC). Indians occupy 12% of international seafaring jobs and the Maritime Vision 2030 recommends that this figure reach 20% by 2030, said a release.
Source: Exim News Service: New Delhi, April 1