It’s no coincidence that the unofficial holiday comes on the cusp of Memorial Day- which honors those who have fallen in wars and conflicts. Throughout the US history, and particularly in World War II, mariners in the Merchant Marine made great sacrifices. This year, the event falls on Friday, 22 May.
It goes without saying that 2020 is unlike any other year in our lifetimes, for reasons well known. Among other disruptions, supply chains for all manner of materials have been disrupted and, perhaps permanently, altered. Though certain trade flows are reduced, the role of US ports is paramount. In the US, as in many industrialised countries, the role of ports is often invisible- except to those who work around the waterfront.
This year, amidst all the changed patterns of moving goods, The American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA) has initiated the “Sound Off for Seaports”, where vessels will blow their horns four times, at noon, on each of the days during 18 - 22 May.
AAPA seeks to spearhead “support of seaports and the people who fill our carts, move our products and support the work of farmers, small business owners, retailers and manufacturers across the country!” They add: “With crew screenings, vessel quarantines and other protection measures, seaports are safeguarding public health around the world -- while our front-line workers keep vital consumer goods, medical supplies, energy and raw materials on the move.”
In the States, maritime businesses have been deemed to be essential a designation that should not be lost on those within earshot of the horn blasts.
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