Thursday, September 23, 2010

Today IS World Maritime Day 2010

33rd Annual Celebration by the IMO
Shipping News Feature

WORLDWIDE – This year has been designated “2010: Year of the Seafarer” by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and today marks the official World Maritime Day with celebrations at the IMO’s head office and across the globe. The aim of the annual events is to highlight issues key to both the organization and the shipping community at large.

In his World Maritime Day message to the international maritime community, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos said that the intention of the theme had been to draw attention to the unique circumstances within which seafarers spend their working lives, while rendering their indispensable services, but also to make a palpable and beneficial difference.

"In selecting the “Year of the Seafarer” theme, our intention was also to use it as an excellent opportunity to reassure those who labour at the “sharp end” of the industry – the seafarers themselves – that those of us who work in other areas of the maritime community, and yet whose actions have a direct bearing on seafarers’ everyday lives, understand the extreme pressures they face and approach our tasks with genuine interest and concern for them and their families,” Mr. Mitropoulos said.

Mr. Mitropoulos added he welcomed wholeheartedly the decision of the Manila Conference, in June 2010, which adopted major revisions to the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention) and its associated Code, to make the 25th of June of each year the annual “Day of the Seafarer”, a day on which to mark the unique contribution made by seafarers from all over the world to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole. The date chosen was that on which the Conference was concluded and acknowledges the significance of the STCW amendments then adopted for the maritime community and those who serve it on board ships.

Mr. Mitropoulos went on to ask the industry to maintain high standards for staff, request that politicians shouldered the responsibility for policies ensuring companies implemented safe working practices and acceptable conditions. He asked for even handed treatment for seafarers caught up in legal disputes and for educators to stress the range and importance of maritime jobs.

The Secretary-General also addressed the media, requesting they consider all sides of a story before publishing and asked they consider the vast amount of goods which arrived without comment at their destinations. To seafarers themselves Mr. Mitropoulos said:

“The entire maritime community appreciates you and your indispensable services; is aware of the conditions under which you operate; shows compassion for the sacrifices you make; does care for you; and works to ensure your safety and security, praying that you always have calm seas, fair winds and a safe return home – which it wishes you wholeheartedly.”

To celebrate further Argentina is hosting the 2010 IMO World Maritime Day Parallel Event, with celebrations being held in Buenos Aires on the 7th and 8th October 2010, including a seminar on the first day, followed by the unveiling of a Plaque in Honour of the Seafarer on the second day.

Photo. The Secretary- General speaking at SMU, courtesy of the IMO.