The 45th National Maritime Day celebrations began with the inauguration of Merchant Navy Week by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.
The Minister of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Thiru T.R. Baalu pinned the first miniature merchant navy flag on the wearing apparel of the Prime Minister. On this occasion, the secretary, Shri. A.P.V.N Sharma also pinned the merchant navy flag on the wearing apparel of Thiru T.R. Baalu. Merchant Navy Week is celebrated throughout the country every year culminating into National Maritime Day on 5th April, in commemoration of the sailing of the first Indian Vessel SS Loyalty on its maiden voyage on 5th April 1919 from Mumbai to London. The principle objective of the Merchant Navy Week and the National maritime Day celebrations is to create awareness amongst the countrymen about the Indian shipping industry and to underline its vital role in bolstering the country’s economy. The activities of the shipping industry and the requirement of seafarers are highlighted during the week long celebrations through different media which include special newspaper features, brochures/souvenirs, seminars, radio/TV programs, workshops, exhibitions, competitions etc.