World Maritime Day: History, significance and theme

New Delhi (NVI): World Maritime Day is observed on September 24 to mark the contribution of international maritime industries towards the economy of the world especially shipping.

The Day, celebrated by International Maritime Organization (IMO), focuses on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security, and the marine environment. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of shipping safety, maritime security, and the marine environment.

The theme for 2020 World Maritime Day is “Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet”. This theme is to focus on providing an opportunity to raise awareness of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The shipping industry, with the support of the IMO regulatory framework, has already started the transition towards this sustainable future.

Amid COVID-19 protocols, the day will be celebrated in the form of an online event, due to social distancing measures caused by the pandemic. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the professionalism and sacrifice of the two million seafarers who serve on the world’s merchant fleet.

Shipping has continued to transport more than 80 per cent of world trade, including vital medical supplies, food, and other basic goods that are critical for the Covid-19.

Hundreds of thousands of seafarers face a humanitarian crisis as they have been stranded at sea, unable to get off the ships they operate with contracts extended by many months.

World Maritime Day was first held on March 17, 1978, to mark the date of the IMO Convention’s entry into force in 1958.

The IMO’s original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO.

Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation for most goods; it provides a dependable, low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating commerce, and helping to create prosperity among nations and peoples.

Furthermore, the membership of IMO includes virtually all the nations of the world with an interest in maritime affairs, including those involved in the shipping industry and coastal states with an interest in protecting their maritime environment.