Thursday, 25 September 2014

World Maritime Day 2014

September 25, 2014.

Over the years, IMO has built up an enviable track record for developing and adopting new international conventions. There are some 53 in all.

Collectively, they are aimed either at the prevention of accidents, casualties and environmental damage from ships; at mitigating the negative effects of accidents when they do occur, or at establishing a mechanism for ensuring that those who suffer the consequences of an accident can be adequately compensated.

While most of these are in force and have done so much to make shipping safer, more efficient and more environment-friendly, there are still several conventions for which a slow pace of ratification and a lack of implementation are serious causes for concern. There is no doubt that more can, indeed must, be done in this respect.

The adoption of an IMO convention can feel like the end of a process. A conference is held, the text is agreed, there are handshakes all round. But this should not be where the process ends. Indeed, adoption of a convention should be just the end of the beginning, because an IMO convention is only worth anything if it is effectively and universally implemented. All those hundreds, even thousands of man-hours spent refining the text, all that technical expertise that has been brought to bear, all those studies and all that research count for nothing unless the end result has a tangible impact. And, for that to happen, ratification, widespread entry into force and effective implementation are all needed.
It was with this in mind that the theme for World Maritime Day 2014 – namely “IMO conventions: effective implementation” – was selected. It is a theme that provides an opportunity to shine a spotlight on those IMO treaty instruments which have not yet entered into force, as well as those for which ratification by more States and more effective implementation would yield significant benefits.

The traditional diplomatic reception to celebrate the Day will be held at IMO Headquarters on 25 September 2014. The World Maritime Day Parallel Event will be held in Morocco from 27 to 29 October 2014. 

"At a time when the world is beset by conflict and crisis, it is easy to forget that, day in and day out, the international shipping industry works quietly and efficiently to keep the wheels of global trade in motion and ensure the timely delivery of the goods and commodities on which we all rely.

For more than 50 years, international conventions developed by the International Maritime Organization have made global shipping progressively safer, more secure and more environment-friendly. There are more than 50 in all. Collectively, they are aimed at strengthening maritime safety and security, protecting the marine environment, mitigating the negative effects of accidents or establishing regulations covering liability and compensation for damage.

The real value of those conventions can be fully realized only if they are properly implemented. This entails early entry into force, broad participation, effective policies and programmes, stringent oversight and vigorous enforcement. Shipping States, coastal States and the shipping industry itself all have a part to play.

On World Maritime Day, let us recall the often unheralded but always vital contribution by international shipping to peoples and communities all over the world.  I urge all concerned to strengthen their efforts to achieve the full and effective implementation of all IMO conventions." 
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General



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