U.S. Maritime Day was originally recognized and established by Congress in 1933. It marks the anniversary of the first transoceanic voyage undertaken with steam power, made by the steamship Savannah on May 22, 1819.
Over the years, the maritime industry has grown and changed significantly, with technological advancement resulting in large tankers and barges that traverse the globe, delivering vital goods nearly everywhere. During the COVID-19 pandemic, despite significant logistical, scheduling, and safety challenges, necessary goods like food, PPE, and clothing continued to be transported and delivered all over the world, keeping the global economy moving and essential workers safe. Much like the pandemic, those challenges still persist, as some crews have been stranded on seafaring vessels for months on end due to COVID-related safety restrictions that have prevented crew changes.
While maritime transportation has changed drastically since 1819, what hasn’t changed is the dedication and tenacity of those who transit our waters. So, when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store this weekend, spare a thought for those seafarers who have been and are still working hard to keep those products in your basket available for purchase. If you know a mariner or a family member of one, thank them for their sacrifice. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve come together to recognize the unsung heroes and essential workers across the global supply chain. Let’s not forget those at sea who are key to sustaining our economy and delivering essential supplies to our communities.