This year, India is commemorating the 57th edition of National Maritime Day. Historically, the country has always been a maritime nation with a blessed geography. The saga of India shipping initiated on April 5, 1919, when the SS Loyalty, the first ship of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd, travelled from Mumbai to London.
National Maritime Day was celebrated on 5 April, 1964 for the first time. It is aimed at supporting the global economy, the well-organised, safe and sound, environmentally responsive approach of transporting the goods across the world.
An award ceremony is also organised to recognise those who have made outstanding contributions to the Indian Maritime Sector. It goes without saying that development of the country sea route and preservation is extremely crucial and 5th April highlights the essentiality of preserving and defending our maritime zone.
Over the last few years, the celebratory Committee instituted the award to recognise and honour people for their sustained and rigorous efforts in the segment. This award is known as Varuna Award which consists of a statue of Lord Varuna and a Citation.
The ‘NMD Award of Excellence’ is also presented during celebrations which consist of a trophy and a citation for lifetime achievements in the Indian Maritime sector. However, this year, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the celebrations as several Nations are observing a lockdown.
“While the Nation and rather the whole world is battling the outbreak of COVID-19, sailors of the Indian Navy (IN), the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Indian merchant marine are going through their share of hardship far from our shores. We must never forget their sacrifices and rigorous efforts for the society,” says Sanjay Dalmia, chairman of Dalmia group of companies.
With over 100,000 cases and more than 47,000 deaths across the globe, the coronavirus outbreak is critical. Precautionary measures like self-isolation are also practiced globally.
Although, we must remember the National Maritime Day for the years of sacrifice for defending our maritime zones, it is equally important to abide by the clarion call of the PM for social distancing as these are the difficult times and we can’t let the outbreak get the better of us. The multi-nation naval exercise “Milan” was also postponed due to the pandemic last month.