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Press Release

Seafarers take centre stage at upcoming summit in Manila

1 June 2023

Seafarers take centre stage at upcoming summit in Manila

• Employers (IMEC), shipowners (ICS) and unions (ITF) unite to bring a seafarer summit in Manila on 26 June 2023 following the Day of the Seafarer.
• The summit aims to highlight the elements required for a successful transformation of seafarers’ roles to meet the needs of shipping in the future.
• The Philippines continue to show leadership in matters relating to seafarers as host country to one of the most relevant summits this year, focusing on the requirements for seafarers in 2050.

01 June 2023, London: The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Maritime Employers’ Council Ltd. (IMEC) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are joining forces to host a summit solely focused on the shaping the future of an industry that ensures seafarers remain at its heart – in Manila on 26 June 2023.

Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Gilbert H. Houngbo will open the aptly titled ‘Shaping the Future of Shipping – Seafarer 2050’ summit, which aims to highlight the elements required for a successful transformation of seafarers’ roles to meet the needs of shipping in the future. This will include education and training, building capacity and resilience, recruitment and retention of seafarers, and ensuring that any transition is safe, equitable and human-centric. Recruitment and retention is critical at the moment as it has been estimated that by 2026 the shipping industry will need an additional 90,000 seafarers to keep trade moving.

The summit will bring together government ministers, regulators, shipowners, employers, unions, industry leaders and technology and infrastructure providers into one room to discuss the requirements for seafarers in 2050. As one of the largest providers of seafarers worldwide, the Philippines offers the perfect location to discuss the future of the seafarer workforce.

Secretary of the Department of Transportation of the Philippines, Jamie Bautista, commented:

“The upcoming conference in Manila is a key moment in shipping and also for the Philippines as a
nation. It is well known that the Philippines is the seafaring capital of the world, and our seafarers
are not only integral to the future of the shipping industry but also to our country’s economy. We
are currently at a crossroad as the industry evolves to a greener and more digital operating
environment, with ambitious climate goals to meet by 2050 and new emerging technologies, but
one thing is key and that is that seafarers need to be central in the discussions. I am encouraged to
see many industry leaders joining the conference and urge fellow Ministers in the region to join in
on the conversations. I look forward to discussing the future of our seafarers in June”.

This invitation-only summit will also consider the risks to shipping and global trade inherent in industry transformation, and the investments and changes that will need to be made to ensure that sufficient numbers of skilled seafarers are available to fulfil the requirements of shipping in 2050.

International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Secretary General Guy Platten commented:

“The Covid-19 pandemic shone the light on how vital our seafarer workforce is to modern life.
Seafarers are an incredibly valuable asset and we need to ensure that this is recognised at the
highest levels. The Seafarer 2050 summit is our opportunity to bring together the shipping
industry and determine how we can continue to shape a better future for seafarers and ensure
no one gets left behind in the green energy transition.”

Belal Ahmed, Chairman of the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) commented:

“Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change and the new technology
introduction at a rapid pace. Shipping is vital to global trade and our seafarers are in the centre of
this industry. IMEC, ITF and ICS recognises that only working together we can face these challenges
and ensure our seafarers are trained, taken care of and fit for world of sustainable shipping. The
Seafarer 2050 summit will focus not only on the issues we need to work together but also need for a
global consensus to support our seafarers ”.

Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) added:

“The cooperation we saw during the pandemic-related crew change crisis allowed employers and
seafarers’ unions to recognise our common challenges and the strength we have when we speak
with one clear voice.”

“We welcome this global partnership being taken to the next level with the inclusion of governments
from leading maritime nations such as the Philippines. This event is about looking out to 2050, to set
out the practical plans needed for a Just Transition and a future-proof workforce.”

For more information on the Shaping the Future of Shipping – Seafarer 2050 Summit please click here.

Any media wishing to attend the Summit please contact the ICS press office at [email protected]

About ICS
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for merchant shipowners and operators, representing all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world merchant fleet –

About IMEC
The International Maritime Employers’ Council is the only international employers’ organisation dedicated to maritime industrial relations. Established over fifty years ago, it represents over 250 shipping companies around the world. Members are individual shipping companies, both owners and managers, large and small, operating all types of ship. Together they operate more than15,000 vessels registered in more than 60 countries and employ in excess of 300,000 seafarers of 68 nationalities. –

About ITF
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation of transport workers’ unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions and workers’ networks from 147
countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice of the almost 20 million women and men who move the world. –

Media Contact:
Hannah Patmore, Communications Executive, International Chamber of Shipping
Email – [email protected]