‘Maritime Dev’t, Key For Economic Growth’

DZIFAThe International Maritime Organization (IMO) has said the goals of global economic development cannot be achieved without shipping or maritime development.

Mr. Koji Sekimizu, IMO Secretary General, explained that 90 per cent of international trade was seaborne, therefore, the international community needed to ensure that the world had a sustainable maritime industry.

He, therefore, tasked IMO member states to ratify all its Conventions as a first step to ensuring their effective implementation across the globe, saying member states had a responsibility for their implementation.

Mr Sekimizu stated these at the 2014 World Maritime Day, a parallel event held in Tangier, Morocco, which was on the theme: “IMO Conventions: Effective Implementation”.

According to a report made available to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday, by the Ghana Shippers Authority in Accra, Mr. Sekimizu said in order to operate efficiently, the international shipping industry depended on the global regulatory framework provided by the IMO.

“It is obvious that the alternative would be inferior levels of safety, and environmental protection and some general disorder within the maritime industry,” he noted.

“Undoubtedly, through the mechanism of its Member States, Flag State Inspections, and Port State Control, the IMO has achieved significant safety and security, and the protection of the marine environment.”

Mr. Sekimizu said: “What IMO has created is a global system of shared responsibility for maritime and ocean governance.

“IMO wants to ensure that in the future, we can maintain the system. We want to ensure that all member of governments ratify all IMO Conventions. This is a shared responsibility”.

He said the IMO currently had over 53 conventions, broadly prescribing best practices for shipping operations, driving technology for the achievement of the IMO mandate, and providing liability regimes for maritime incidents.

He said in order for a convention to enter into force, the number of nations required to ratify; and a share of world tonnage, which they must represent vary depending on the instrument.

Mr Sekimizu said, IMO Conventions needed to be ratified by governments, and then implemented and enforced in practice.

He said, “Once they enter into force, they are applied to ships on a global basis through a combination of flag state inspections and port state control.

“It is therefore now extremely difficult for sub-standard ships to operate without detection and sanctions”.

Mr. Sekimizu also announced the theme chosen by the IMO Council for 2015, “Maritime Education and Training”, which is very important in the light of the apparent shortage of seafarers.

He said, statistics on the global maritime workforce showed that seafarers were made up of 500,000 officers and about 1,000,000 ratings.

“With the projected expansion of world seaborne at an estimated 70 per cent within the next 15 to 20 years, the current workforce also ought to increase to about 70 per cent over the same period and this translates into an annual demand for an estimated 40,000 Officers annually, who fully comply with the IMO standard of competency specified in the STCW Convention.

“This is a significant challenge for everybody,” he said.

The IMO Secretary-General said it is important to educate and build up the future leaders in the maritime industry so they could understand the importance of the oceans, and the value of the IMO system.

The World Maritime Day was established in 2005 by a UN resolution on a recommendation of the IMO.

The celebration highlights, the challenges and importance of maritime issues in the management of the global economy and takes the form of lectures and workshops that revolve around the theme of World Maritime Day.

This year’s event was attended by Transport Ministers of IMO member countries, permanent national representatives at IMO, industry experts, ship owners associations and delegations from maritime agencies and merchant marine academies, and maritime universities.

On behalf of the Kingdom of Morocco, the Deputy Minister of Equipment, Transport and Logistics, presented an award to Mrs. Dzifa Aku Attivor, the Minister of Transport of Ghana.

The award was in recognition of her significant role in the development of the maritime industry in Ghana.

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