Recently i acquired the National Maritime Day of India Special Cover which was released on 5th April 2010. Thanks to Cdr. (retd) Narayan Acharya of Naval Philatelic Society (India)
History of the National Maritime Day:
April 5 of every year is celebrated as National Maritime Day in Indi
- This commemorates the voyage of the first Indian Ship “S.S. Loyalty” of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd from Mumbai to London on 5 April 1919.
- The celebrations continue for one week and this is known as National Maritime Week.
- National Welfare Board for Seafarers recommended at its Third Meeting held at Madras on 11th January, 1964 that the 5th April every year be celebrated as the National Maritime Day.
- 2010 marks the 47th National Maritime Week.
The principal objective of celebrating the Day is to enable the public to know more intimately about the activities of the Indian Shipping Industry and the important role it plays in the economy of the country. The need for shipping industry and the requirement of seafarers are highlighted in various. Shipping has been called as ‘Silent Service’ as most of the shipping activity takes place away from the land and along with country’s sea borders, i.e. at the ports. In the vast sub-continent of India, the public at large has very limited opportunities to opportunities to observe for themselves the yeoman service rendered by the Indian Shipping for the promotion of the economic well being of the country.
The observance of the National Maritime Day has, therefore served in bringing the people closer to the shipping industry and enabling them to participate in the celebrations and to share in the sense of pride and achievement at the rapid strides made by the Indian Shipping during the last five decades since the attainment of independence.
National martime day celebrations are held at all major ports viz. Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Goa, Visakhapatnam and Cochin and certain other ports like Kandla, Jamnagar, Paradip, Mangalore, Tuticorin, Karwar, etc. It includes laying of wreath at Seamen’s Memorials and pay tributes homage to seamen who laid down their lives while on high seas in 1st and 2nd world wars. On Merchant Navy Flag Day at New Delhi 1st Merchant Navy Flag is pinned on the wearing apparel of the Prime Minister of India by the Minister for Shipping. This practice has been prevalent from 2002 onwards. At the State level on Merchant Navy Flag Day the first Miniature Merchant Navy Flag is pinned on the wearing apparel of the Governor of Maharashtra by the Director General of Shipping in Mumbai.
India has about 7516 kilometres of coastline serviced by a total of 182 ports, 12 of them under a special status as Major Ports being under the purview of the Central Government. Seventy other ports termed as minor ones come under the jurisdiction of the respective State Governments. Ennore in Tamil Nadu has been declared as the 12th Major Port.
The Special Cover features the photo of Mr Narottam Morarjee (rigth) and Walchand Hirachand(left) who played a stellar role in revival of Indian Marcantile Marine.