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September 27, 2018

The World Maritime Day (WMD) is being annually celebrated under the ambit of International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in the last week of September. The IMO, for those who may not be aware, is the principal organ of the United Nations dealing with and coordinating all maritime related issues ranging from safety, security and environmental concerns to training standards of seafarers and even technical cooperation aspects. It is this organisation which, mindful of the massive contribution made by the international maritime industry in bolstering the global economy, instituted the World Maritime Day that has since become a regular annual feature in the calendar of all seafaring nations. The first time this day was celebrated was on 17 March 1978 to mark the 30thanniversary of the convention which created the IMOs parent organisation, the Intergovernmental Maritime Consultative Organisation. The member states have since swelled from 21 to 174 at present. Pakistan became member of IMO in 1958. As in 2018, IMO celebrates 70 years since 1948 when the Convention establishing the Organization was adopted. While commemorating the day, the IMO keeps highlighting a different aspect of its work each year. This day also serves as a reminder to all and sundry that a vibrant and sustainable blue economy is a boon to all mankind.

While the IMO picks a specific date during the last week of every September for its own celebration, it allows each individual government the flexibility to select its own date within the same week. This year IMO selected 27 September as the date for celebrating World Maritime Day. The IMO also chooses an appropriate theme each year to lay a suitable emphasis on. Taking a cue from last year’s theme about ‘Connecting Ships, Ports and People’ the current theme, much more ambitious, is about “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future”. It is arguably for the first time that maritime nations are being thematically nudged into viewing the vital inter-connectivity between better shipping principal components that yield better future for countries in maritime sphere.

One cannot help notice that the broader term ‘better shipping’ has been used in lieu of the ubiquitous ‘seafarer’ as had earlier been the norm. The word ‘better shipping’ goes way beyond seafarer to encompass all those involved in the maritime industry in any way. As a matter of fact, all those participating in any manner for ‘better shipping’ robust cyclic activity have a valid claim for ‘better future’. This is not to say that the role of seafarers in the trade thriving at sea stands diminished. The contribution of seafarers for better shipping is unique in its own way. The seafarers spend long and lonely hours at sea but relentlessly battle despondency, human scourges and the elements at the same time in a bid to keep the wheels of world trade rolling along. The IMO had in fact singled out the seafarers for a signal honour by dedicating the year 2010 as the year of the seafarer, which also constituted the theme of that year’s World Maritime Day. A similar theme about the role of the seafarer in the globalisation process had also resounded some nine years earlier. The unique contribution made by seafarers to international seaborne trade, the world economy and civil society as a whole has also been recognised by the maritime fraternity of nations by designating 25 June as the day of the seafarer. The seafarers that overall contribute for better shipping abide by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers(STCW). This convention was established on the needs of basic requirements on training, certification and watch keeping for seafarers on an international level. Previously the standards of training, certification and watch keeping of officers and ratings were established by individual governments, usually without reference to practices in other countries.

Read the full article here 

World Maritime Day theme 2019: “Empowering Women in the Maritime Community”
September 7, 2018

“Empowering Women in the Maritime Community” has been selected as the World Maritime Day theme for 2019. This will provide an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to highlight the important contribution of women all over the world to the maritime sector.

The Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), meeting for its 120th session at IMO Headquarters in London, endorsed the theme, following a proposal by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

“IMO has a strong commitment to helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and continues to support the participation of women in both shore-based and seagoing posts, in line with the goals outlined under SDG 5: ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’,” Mr Lim said.

“This theme will give IMO the opportunity to work with various maritime stakeholders towards achieving the SDGs, particularly SDG 5, to foster an environment in which women are identified and selected for career development opportunities in maritime administrations, ports and maritime training institutes and to encourage more conversation for gender equality in the maritime space,” Mr. Lim said.

Read the full article here 

The UK’s Reliance on Seafarers
June 22, 2018

Seafarers Awareness Week 2018 will start 23 June, coordinated and promoted by Seafarers UK. This year the focus is on UK maritime employment opportunities, including shore-based jobs, with an emphasis on engineering – one sector in which the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Commercial Shipping are currently struggling to recruit people.

The maritime industry is one of the most important for the UK, as an estimated 95% of imports arrive by ship, including much of our everyday food and fuel. Regardless of this dependency many people are completely unaware of the essential role of the shipping industry, the seafarers who work in it, and the importance of our sea ports.

To give you an insight into the maritime industry, here are some interesting facts you may not know about:


The UK’s most valuable food export is chocolate: £571m exported every year.


The UK imports 565,000 tonnes of potatoes every year, the equivalent to 38,750 London buses!


A large cargo ship contains as much steel as 8 Eiffel Towers and has a capacity equivalent to 22,000 20-foot containers. Those containers would fill more than 30 trains each a mile long and stacked two containers high. Inside them you could fit 863 million tins of baked beans.


A single 20-foot container can hold approximately 48,000 bananas and the average container vessel can carry 746 million in a single voyage.That’s enough to give everyone in Europe and North America a banana for breakfast. 


The UK’s sea ports handle over half a billion tonnes of goods a year. That’s more than 8 tonnes or a small lorry load for each person in the UK.


65 million seafarers are employed by the global shipping industry.


120,000 people from the UK work at sea.


As an island nation the UK relies on shipping for 95% of its imports and exports.


The average container ship will travel three quarters of the way to the moon every year during its trip across the oceans.


Many Merchant Navy seafarers work at sea for more than 9 months every year.


Seafarers UK gives grants totalling £2.5 million to other maritime charities and projects every year.




Christmas working at sea
January 3, 2018

Christmas Eve on Board: How do our crews celebrate Christmas?

How does one celebrate Christmas at sea? What’s the mood like? What are the rituals and traditions? And what is – and isn’t – allowed? We asked these questions to Arnold Lipinski, Senior Director Marine Fleet Personnel in Hamburg, who himself spent many Christmas Eves on board a ship when he was still a seafarer.

Read full article here https://www.hapag-lloyd.com/en/news-insights/insights/2017/12/christmas-eve-on-board–how-do-our-crews-celebrate-christmas-.html