The IMO Council has endorsed a proposal by IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos to adopt “IMO: One hundred years after the Titanic” as the World Maritime Day theme for 2012.
“The time has come for us to return to this Organization’s roots and raison d’être, i.e. safety of life at sea,” Mr. Mitropoulos said.
One of the consequences of the sinking, in 1912, of the Titanic, in which 1,503 people lost their lives, was the adoption, two years later, of the first International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (the SOLAS Convention). The 1914 version of the Convention was gradually superseded, respectively, by SOLAS 1929, SOLAS 1948, SOLAS 1960 (the first adopted under the auspices of IMO, then known as IMCO) and SOLAS 1974. SOLAS 1974 is still in force today, amended and updated many times.
Mr. Mitropoulos said the selection of the theme proposed would provide an opportunity to:
- take stock of improvements in maritime safety during the 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic;
- pay tribute to the memory of those, who lost their lives in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic on that fatal night of 14 April 1912;
- highlight that the sacrifice of so many of the Titanic (passengers and crew) has not gone in vain;
- examine whether the lessons drawn from amongst the most costly (in human lives lost) accidents of the last 100 years have been learnt to the full;
- examine the safety record of shipping and identify those areas that have contributed the most to its improvement over the years;
- identify the most contributory factors (systems, concepts, mechanisms, etc) in the quest for ever-enhanced safety in shipping;
- examine which areas, within the overall spectrum of maritime safety (constructional, operational, cargo, human element, etc.), should be given priority consideration in the years to come; and
- pay tribute to all those who, in the course of the 100 years, have contributed to improvements in maritime safety.
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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