New Delhi, Mar 28: The 45th National Maritime Day Celebrations began here today with the inauguration of Merchant Navy Week by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh. PM wished the seafarers and entire shipping fraternity a bright and successful future. Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Thiru T.R. Baalu pinned the first miniature merchant navy flag on the wearing apparel of Dr. Singh.
The theme for the 45th National Maritime Day is "MEETING MANNING NEEDS". Merchant Navy Week is celebrated throughout the country every year culminating in National Maritime Day on April 5, in commemoration of the sailing of first Indian vessel SS Loyalty on its maiden voyage on April 5,1919 from Mumbai to London. The principal objective of the Merchant Navy Week and National Maritime Day Celebrations is to create awareness amongst the countrymen about the Indian shipping industry and to underline its vital role in bolstering the country's economy.
The activities of shipping industry and the requirements of seafarers are highlighted during the week long celebrations through different media which include special news-paper features, brochures or souvenirs, seminars, radio or TV programmes, workshops, exhibitions and competitions.
Kiran Dhingra, Director General of Shipping, S. Hajara, Chairman and Managing Director, Shipping Corporation of India and President, Indian National Shipowners' Association, Captain Navin Passey, Chairman, FOSMA, Captain S.S. Jairam, Chairman, MASSA and Abdul Gani Sarang, Secretary General, National Union of Seafarers of India also attended the inaugural function.