Skip to Main Content

Ships will Sound their Horns in Canada to support “Unsung Heroes of Global Trade” for International Workers’ Day May 1

April 29, 2020 – Ships will sound their horns at ports across Canada at 12 noon (local time) on May 1 to recognize the 1.2 million seafarers around the world, who are keeping countries supplied with food, fuel and important supplies such as vital medical equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canada’s marine industry associations, including the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the Chamber of Shipping, the Shipping Federation of Canada, and the Association of Canadian Port Authorities have engaged their members to participate in this world-wide initiative.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITWF) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) are encouraging this gesture of solidarity to recognize seafarers, the “unsung heroes of global trade,” during International Workers’ Day.

This global initiative will also help draw attention to issues with crew changes that some international ships have encountered due to COVID-19-related border and travel restrictions, resulting in seafarers extending their time onboard ships after lengthy periods at sea. While the Canadian government has recognized ship crews as “essential workers” and has been working with the marine sector to resolve any issues that arise – the ICS and ITWF have been advocating for the implementation of similar measures in other countries around the world. Link to Letter.


“We’re proud of our seafarers and all other marine workers on shore that have continued to operate quietly and efficiently to keep logistics chains working at full capacity. Essential goods including bulk grain for making bread and pasta and various other supplies and containerized medical goods continue to flow to Canadians, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ninety percent of all goods worldwide are transported at some point on ships. We want to give a big “shout out” to all the women and men who are involved in this incredible effort, and for all their hard work under difficult circumstances.”

Bruce Burrows, President and CEO of the Chamber of Marine Commerce.

“During this pandemic, the challenges of life in a ship are extraordinary. With numerous nations not allowing crew changes and a near shutdown of international airline travel, a significant number of seafarers are unable to return home to their families through normal crew change procedures. As anyone who has spent time at sea will know, we must all come together in a crisis and support each other in all possible ways.”

Robert Lewis-Manning, President of the Chamber of Shipping.

“I would like to recognize the contributions of our port workers, seafarers and all other marine workers for their role in ensuring vital goods such as food, clothes and pharmaceutical products keep moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of Canada’s 17 Port Authorities, we thank you for your dedication to making this happen every single day of the year and wish you all a happy and safe International Workers’ Day.”

Wendy Zatylny, President, Association of Canadian Port Authorities

“Seafarers the world over are playing an essential role in responding to this global crisis by delivering food, medicine, PPE and other critical goods to those who need them most. They will play just as important a role when Canada and other countries transition towards recovery by maintaining vital links to the world and to North America’s truck and rail networks. We are proud to take part in the #HeroesAtSeaShoutout and to recognize the contribution of these unsung professionals in keeping Canada open to trade, both today and beyond the crisis.”

Michael Broad, President, Shipping Federation of Canada


A Video/Audio Sample of ship in Canadian waters sounding the Horn (from the past month to provide you an example of what will happen)

Video clips on the day from ships/port (taken on phones) may be available by media request.


Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Region:
Julia Fields
Chamber of Marine Commerce
(613) 294-8515

East Coast:
Michel Hachey
Association of Canadian Port Authorities
(613) 407-7486

West Coast:
Janet Kelly
Chamber of Shipping
(604) 681 2351

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce (CMC) is a bi-national association that represents diverse marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as Canadian domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system's significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

Media Contact:
Jason Card
Chamber of Marine Commerce
(613) 447 5401