International Memorial to Seafarers unveiled at IMO Headquarters
An international memorial to the world’s seafarers, past, present and future, has been unveiled today (27 September 2001) in a spectacular ceremony at the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization.
The memorial, a seven-metre high, ten-tonne bronze representation of the bow of a cargo ship with a lone seafarer on the deck, is the work of internationally renowned sculptor Michael Sandle.
Its dramatic configuration and massive scale have transformed the front of the IMO building and created a major new London landmark on the Thames riverfront.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, IMO Secretary-General William O’Neil said, “The ship has a timeless air and the figure – rugged, reliable, and dependable – embodies all the qualities that have been demanded of seafarers throughout history.”
In a special written message prepared for the ceremony, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, said,
Mr O’Neil was accompanied by a distinguished array of speakers at the ceremony.
The Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr John Prescott, himself a former seafarer, was joined by Mr David Cockroft, General-Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation, representing seafarers, Mr Chris Horrocks, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Shipping and the International Shipping Federation, representing shipowners, and the Reverend Canon Bill Christianson, Secretary-General of the Mission to Seafarers.
The genesis of the memorial can be traced to 1998, when IMO Secretary-General William O'Neil proposed to the IMO Council that a trust fund be established dedicated to the training and education of seafarers.
It was also proposed that the fund should finance the creation of a sculpture that would be a lasting memorial to seafarers throughout the world.
Several internationally renowned artists were asked to put forward their interpretations of the brief and Michael Sandle’s design was chosen by a steering committee from a short-list of three.
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