Container ship in San Pedro, California
© Cameron Venti/Getty Image
Global commerce in motion
The COVID-19 pandemic has been rough sailing for everyone, and especially so for seafarers on shipping vessels. As if moving more than 80 percent of the world's goods wasn't a big mission already, the pandemic brought about urgent needs in every corner of the globe, while also forcing travel restrictions that made shipping more complicated. Hundreds of thousands of sailors and other shipping personnel have found themselves stuck on ships much longer than planned as virus precautions impede crew changes.
So this year's World Maritime Day—always observed on the last Thursday in September—is a good day to salute the workers who help keep global commerce in motion. World Maritime Day was established by the U.N. to improve shipping efficiency through international standards and cooperation—on safe crew-change procedures during a pandemic, for example. Maritime Day also aims to put seafarers and their sacrifices in the spotlight. Thanks, sailors!