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World Maritime Day 2010 Parallel Event

Buenos Aires, closing remarks

October 7, 2010

World Maritime Day 2010 Parallel Event
Buenos Aires
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Closing Remarks

Ambassador Cerutti, Admiral Olimbo, Excellencies, distinguished representatives of IMO Member States, Admirals, distinguished guests, cadets, media representatives, Ladies and gentlemen,
As we have heard today from so many of the speakers in what has been a lively and informative programme, the seafarer of the 21st century faces a wide range of challenges and a unique set of demands – which seem to be increasing almost daily both in scope and in severity.
Yet, given the truly global nature of the modern world and its economy, it is doubtful whether seafaring has ever been such a pivotal profession as it is today. The lifestyles and, indeed, the very lives of billions of people rely on this small, largely unsung and mostly unheralded workforce.
There is a clear imbalance here and, in choosing to make seafarers the central focus of this year’s World Maritime Day activities, we have established a platform from which that balance can be redressed. From the start, the intention was to provide all concerned with an opportunity to draw attention to seafarers; to raise their profile among those who depend on them, albeit unwittingly; to set in motion real and tangible efforts to address some of the problems they face; and to reassure seafarers themselves that, as far as the maritime community is concerned, they are certainly not “out of sight, out of mind”.
As the Year of the Seafarer draws towards its final quarter, I think we can look back with justified satisfaction on what has been achieved and, in that context, I should like to thank, once again, the Government of Argentina for so expertly hosting and organizing this Parallel Event, which has provided an important focal point for World Maritime Day celebrations in the Americas and helped to bring our message to this part of the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, as an ex-seafarer myself, I do not mind admitting that, from a personal perspective, the momentum that has built behind the “Year of the Seafarer” theme has given me enormous satisfaction and considerable encouragement that the future will be rosier than the present. We all stand indebted to seafarers and the services they provide.
In return, they deserve decent, safe and secure working conditions and to be treated fairly, with the degree of respect and dignity that they – and, indeed everyone – have a right to expect.
And, as we bring these proceedings to a close, let me urge all of you here and, indeed, the wider audience that may subsequently hear or read these remarks, not to let the end of 2010 be an end of concern and care for seafarers – rather the end of a year that marks the beginning of many more good things to come for the seafarers. I already mentioned in my opening address the annual Day of the Seafarer that will be held each year on 25 June. Let us resolve that this will become more than just a day of annual observance but also a catalyst that will serve to refresh and renew efforts to improve the lot of the world’s seafarers.
Let me, therefore, close this successful Event by thanking, once again, Argentina (and, in particular, the Navy and Prefectura Naval) for inviting us to their beautiful Capital City and for their warm and generous hospitality; and, also, by thanking the moderators and speakers for their contribution to the success of the meeting as well as my colleagues in the IMO Secretariat (Koji and Andrea) who worked to ensure that everything was in order and in conformity with IMO’s highest standards.
Thank you all – and “au revoir” – asta la vista – arrivederci - until we meet again for the 2011 World Maritime Day Parallel Event in Italy.