MANILA – In a significant stride towards empowering seafarers and promoting their rights, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) – National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) actively participated in the prestigious 3-day ITF Seafarers’ Expo, held in Liwasang Ullalim Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex, Pasay City. This marked as the second time in history of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) that such a major maritime event has been organized, reinforcing its steadfast commitment as the voice of seafarers worldwide.

The Expo, which took place from 23-25 June 2023, aimed to apprise seafarers about their rights, raise awareness about the ITF and its affiliated seafarers’ unions, and highlight their critical role in supporting seafarers globally. For DMW-NMP, this event presented a valuable opportunity to promote its programs and services, ultimately benefiting seafarers and thereby maximizing the Agency’s presence and reach within the maritime community.

With approximately 5,000 attendees over the course of three (3) days, the Expo provided seafarers and their families with a free, fun, and informative experience. Games, giveaways, prizes, and food were offered to enhance the overall enjoyment. Beyond entertainment, the event focused explicitly on informing and educating actively working seafarers about their rights.

Beyond mere entertainment, the activity showcased learning and earning opportunities for seafarers within the changing maritime industry. International experts were present to provide guidance and conduct workshops, offering insights on how to stay happy and healthy while onboard. This aspect of the event emphasized the ITF’s commitment in ensuring the well-being and professional growth of seafarers.

Further, the Expo provided a platform for seafarers to discover key local and international welfare support organizations that are available to assist them and their families during times of need. Among these organizations was the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, a charity and welfare organization dedicated to seafarers’ well-being. This presence highlighted the importance of welfare support in the maritime sector.

The Expo’s culmination on Sunday, June 25, coincided with the International Maritime Organization’s official Day of the Seafarer, providing a fitting backdrop for a festive celebration of the seafarers themselves. This special day honored their contributions and acknowledged their vital role in global trade and transportation.

The ITF Seafarers’ Expo was made possible through the generous support of local affiliates such as the Associated Marine Officer’s and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (AMOSUP), Associated Philippine Seafarers Unions (APSU), and Port Workers’ Union of the Philippines (PWUP), alongside the welcomed presence of ITF seafarers’ unions including All Japan Seafarers’ Union (JSU), Norwegian Seafarers’ Union (NSU) and German Union (ver.di).  The event saluted seafarers from all backgrounds, both Filipino and international, emphasizing the inclusive nature of the activity and its commitment to the welfare of seafarers worldwide.

By actively participating in this global platform, DMW-NMP reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to the growth and empowerment of seafarers, thereby fortifying the foundation of the maritime industry for a thriving and sustainable future.