Two thought-provoking films aiming to spread the word on shipping – and in particular the role of seafarers – as the glue without which global trade would grind to a halt, have hit the web to coincide with Day of the Seafarer on June 25.
In the first, Making the World Go Round, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) does something so obvious it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been done before: it asks seafarers to talk about their working lives, why they became seafarers and what their experience has been since.
Both have something to tell us about how hidden the industry is and about how to communicate that message to media-savvy, time-poor consumers.
To the first point, the ITF plays it very straight: highlighting the people involved in moving chunks of technology and cargo around the world’s oceans, with some interspersed explanation setting the mariner’s role in context.
In the second, Seafarer UK’s slightly alarmist take on the vital nature of shipping is to imagine what would happen should imports dry up. Both make the point that shipping is usually only visible when the conditions are right (or wrong), namely during shortages or spills, but as the Seafarers UK video makes clear, the slender nature of the supply chain means that we would soon be living in an unappealing world.
Both pieces have merits but their importance is also in their format. To mark Day of the Seafarer, the IMO is looking to Social Media to push the message of how far the world relies on these often overlooked workers and these films fall into step with that strategy.
This inaugural celebration takes the form of an online campaign, in which the IMO is asking people to voice their support using social networks. On the day itself, the IMO will ask people around the world to say “Thank you seafarers” on Facebook, via Twitter, by posting a video on YouTube, discussing on LinkedIn, or in other online media.
Before then, there is a chance to ask a seafarer a question via LinkedIn. The best of the questions and answers will be answered live on June 25 by serving seafarers. The Q&A is being organised via the LinkedIn Shipping Network, where you can post a question and see the answers.
Those of us in and around the industry understand these issues but we have a responsibility to spread the word too. So go online, watch and ‘like’ the videos, tweet the links and get involved with the Day of the Seafarer initiative. It’s what the kids would do…