Seafarers/NMPT Officials Celebrate ’53rd Natl Maritime Day’ with Pride
“All of us in our veins the exact percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean and therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, and in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go to the sea, whether to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came” – John F Kennedy.
Mangaluru: National Maritime Day of India falls on April 5. First celebrated on 5th April 1964, the day marked the journey of SS Loyalty, the first ship of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, to the United Kingdom. It was a red-letter day in the history of Indian navigation. Because of the vast expanse of the seas around the country, Indian culture always gave a huge importance to seafaring. According to historians, even during the Indus Valley civilization, India had a remarkable expertise in sea trade and maritime activities.
The Indian sub-continent is strategically very crucial because of the geographical location of seas around it. Indian ship industry has shown incredible advancements since the time immemorial. During the ancient eras, sailing ships with wooden hull were in vogue. India has thousands of kilometers of coastline serviced by hundreds of ports. That explains India’s participation in international sea-borne commerce. Trade and commerce in India through sea route picked up the pace only after the advent of Europeans. The country has registered a notable growth in shipping post-independence era.
It is the attraction to the sea that gave the courage and a spirit of adventure to the early voyagers which carried them to new shores. In India, the trade through the sea route began with S S Loyalty, the first cargo vessel, which set sail on this day way back in 1919. As India explored new horizons, carrying on trade and commerce with other countries, we ushered in the wind of change for a new beginning. To commemorate this great achievement, New Mangalore Port Trust also celebrated the 53rd National Maritime Day with pride and gaiety, on Tuesday, April 5, at NMPT auditorium.
Remembering the preaching of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa who said, “Like a miser that longeth after gold, let our heart pant for God”, the function began seeking the blessing of the Almighty Go through a prayer. Yes, prayers do not change God, bit it changes him who prays. Following the invocation, Capt. Pradeep Mohanty-President NMDCC and Dy. Conservator of NMPT delivered the welcome address. The programme was inaugurated by lighting of the lamp by chief guest- Purnendu Mishra, Former Principal Officer, MMD-Chennai, along with other dignitaries on the dais namely- PC Parida, Chairman, New Mangalore Port Trust; Suresh P Shirwadkar, Deputy Chairman, NMPT; Capt. Pradeep Mohanty-President, NMDCC; PKS Pillai, Vice President, NMDCC; and Paul VV, Secretary, NMDCC.
Paul VV read the annual report of the various activities of National Maritime Day celebration committee. The National Maritime Committee, every year announces a theme topic that needs to be brought forward to analyze the present maritime scenario. Seafaring being a very tough and strenuous job finds it very difficult to entice youngsters into its fold. India needs to seriously look into developing human resource for its sea trades-hence, this year’s theme topic was, ” Ease of doing business in Marine-time Sector” which was delivered by Capt. PK Singh.
Prizes were also distributed to the winners who had taken part in the various competitions that were held during the Maritime Celebration week. After the prize distribution, guest of honor Suresh Shirwadkar spoke about Maritime Day, and also encouraged the youth to join seafarer profession. Chairman PC Parida addressing the gathering commended the Maritime Day celebration committee for organizing various activities during the week and also arranging the valedictory programme. He talked about the importance of Marine-time sector, a trade which is much cheaper than road transport.
“More and more youth are trying to get into marine-time sector these days. It’s’ nice to note that the present Central government has given more prominence to this trade. Although we have a largest coastal belt here, but, unfortunately, it has been not properly developed. We should see that our country flourishes in the marine-time sector. The Maritime Industry today is technologically driven. As World trade starts increasing many folds Shipping and the maritime industry will continue to play a major role.Shipping makes the world go round and, so, let us be in no doubt about the broader significance of our industry and the very connection it has to the lives of just about everyone on the planet” added Parida.
Chief guest Mishra speaking said, ” I am highly impressed by the development and cleanliness of New Mangalore Port. Although the task of a mariner is risky, while on the ship or at the port, but no one recognizes their contribution in this field. In marine-time sector human power plays an important role, but many times the sacrifice and contribution made by these folks is ignored and not recognized. We should know that the spirit of coming together and unity marks Marine-time Day. India continues to have the largest merchant shipping fleet among the developing countries and ranks 17th in the world in terms of shipping tonnage. Hence, the importance of Maritime Day. On this day, the country renews its abiding faith in the importance of maritime zone as well as sea route for an all-round development of the nation. The country also resolves to protect, preserve and defend its maritime zone and right to navigate in the high seas and international zones. Indeed, this day is a day of retrospection”.
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘Thank You,’ that would suffice” because there is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it. And the job in extending and proposing the vote of thanks was delivered by CG Prashanth. The entire programme was compered by Capt PK Singh and Preethvi Rao, both of NMPT.
Prior to this valedictory function today, various events were organized from 29 March -5 April 2016 for the personnel of NMPT, CISF, Coast Guard, Customs and all other port users. Mini-Marathon was conducted on 20 March from KIOCL circle to NMP VIP guest house; cricket tournament was held on 29 March; Blood donation on 30 March; and a swimming competition was held at NITK swimming pool. A talk on ” Ease of doing business in the Maritime Sector” was broadcast on AIR on 5 April morning. A seminar on the same topic was conducted at NMPT auditorium. A Wreath-laying ceremony to pay tribute to the seafarers who laid their lives at sea was performed by NMPT chairman and Dy Chairman, along with other port officers and Port Users on 5 April at 9 am.