Special Correspondent

46th National Maritime Day celebrations conclude

CHENNAI: The week-long celebrations of 46th National Maritime Day and Merchant Navy Flag Day came to an end on Sunday with the US Consul General in Chennai, Andrew T. Simkin, presenting lifetime achievement awards to three senior mariners.

The awards were given to Seamen Desingh Jayaram, marine engineer S.V.S. Reddy and captain K. Balachandran. He also gave away awards to the winners of school essay, drawing and elocution competitions and to 10 best cricketers among the seafarers.

Earlier in the day, Chennai Port Trust chairman K. Suresh hoisted the Merchant Navy Flag at Seafarers’ Club while Naval Officer in-charge, Tamil Nadu, P.E. Vanhaltren, laid the wreath on Seamen’s memorial.

In his address, Mr. Simkin said “sea piracy is a century old problem and recently it has come to the forefront of the world’s attention. Since more than 90 per cent of the trade takes place through the sea route, naval protection has to be offered to commercial vessels. Besides, there is also a need to arrest pirates as criminals and hold them accountable in the court of law for their criminal act.”

Mr. Suresh said they always accorded high priority to security and the Chennai Port was always in the forefront in implementation of various security measures and conduct of major security exercises to comply with the International Ship and Port facilities Security code requirements.

S. Velumani, Chairman and Managing Director, Ennore Port Trust, said that in 2008, around 140 acts of sea piracy were witnessed around the world and the loss was estimated to be around $13-16 billion. He urged the international community to come forward and frame laws to avoid hardships to seafarers.

P. Misra, National Maritime Day Celebrations Committee chairman, said April 5 was celebrated at all the marine institutes, offices and the Seafarers’ club to commemorate the success and sacrifices of seafarers every year.