India celebrates National Maritime Day every year on April 5. The country will celebrate the 58th edition of National Maritime Day this year, the first of which was celebrated in 1964 to spread awareness about intercontinental commerce and the economy.
On this day in 1919, meaning over a century ago, the Indian shipping started when SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd, sailed to London (UK) from Mumbai. The date is truly historic because the sea routes were still under British control at the time. According to the Directorate General of Shipping, India now has 43 shipping companies owning 1,401 ships with a combined 12.69 million gross tonnage as of December 2018.
Besides the historical significance, the day is also celebrated to extend support to the global economy, the most well-organized, safe and sound environmentally responsive approach of transporting goods from one corner to another in this world.
In 1959, India also became a member of the International Maritime Organisation, which is responsible for maritime protection and preventing pollution from ships.
Award Ceremony: On this day, an award ceremony is also organised to honour those who have made outstanding contributions to the Indian Maritime Sector. They receive the Varuna Award for their sustained and unimaginable contribution. The award includes a statue of Lord Varuna and a scroll honouring the awardee.
Besides the Varuna Award, the NMD award of excellence is also handed to people for their lifetime contribution and distinguished achievements at the senior functional level in the maritime cSector. This award, too, carries a trophy and a citation.
To recognise the efforts of distinguished individuals in the area of maritime education and training, the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Maritime Education and Training award is given to them.