World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day, celebrated every year on September 27. It provides an opportunity to focus on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities. On this day, the IMO also celebrates 70 years since the Organization was adopted. This year’s World Maritime Day theme is “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future”.
IMO was adopted on 6 March 1948 and it entered into force 10 years later, on 17 March 1958, when the 21st State ratified the treaty. IMO’s first meeting took plade in London on 6 January 1959, at Church House in central London, United Kingdom.
Shipping transports more than 80% of global trade to people and communities all over the world. IMO has adopted more than 50 international instruments, covering all aspects of international shipping, including ship design, construction, equipment, crewing, navigation, operation and disposal.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said in his annual World Maritime Day Message:
IMO’s heritage for 70 years has been to drive improvements in shipping to achieve a better world today. Our challenge for the years to come remains – to work in collaboration with all stakeholders to create better shipping – for a better future.
In addition, IMO published a short animated film showing how it has developed mandatory international regulations for shipping.
The animation presents IMO’s voyage from the 1948 United Nations conference in Geneva, which saw its founding convention adopted, through to today. It highlights key developments such as new rules for tanker safety following the infamous Torrey Canyon incident in 1967, the satellite-based Global Maritime Distress and Safety System and the designation of several vital environmentally sensitive areas around the world which today receive special protection from shipping.
Commenting on the occasion, Australia has announced its candidacy for re-election to the 2020-21 governing Council of the IMO.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said that safe and efficient shipping is fundamental for Australia’s economic competitiveness and it has an equally strong interest in ensuring shipping does not damage the marine environment.
What is more, Australia established a working group to develop reforms to the IMO including increased transparency and membership representation.
On this World Maritime Day, we reflect on the good work the IMO has done over the past 70 years and look to what we can do to carry on that work into the future.
…Mr McCormack said.
On the occasion, The Mission to Seafarers announced launch of an education pack for primary school pupils to be used in the classroom to educate young children on the impact the maritime industry has upon them and wider society.
The Flying Angel Education Resource was put together in response to the growing discussion amongst maritime industry stakeholders and education specialists to educate young pupils about how international trade impacts their lives, as well as to fuel awareness of the maritime industry in a bid to secure the next generation of industry colleagues.