World Maritime Day 2000 - Building Maritime Partnerships

    The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the right and only place where issues concerning international shipping safety and environmental protection should be considered and adopted, according to Mr. William A. O'Neil, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization in his annual World Maritime Day message.

    "We are in an exceptional position to provide the necessary guidance, leadership and focus on all matters relating to ship safety and the prevention of marine pollution by ships," Mr. O'Neil said.

    IMO's 158 Member States form a unique partnership, providing a forum where flag States and port States work together, through consensus, to produce and review the regulations, recommendations and guidelines that ensure ships are safe and environmentally friendly.

    Mr. O'Neil pointed out that the partnership of IMO Member States is merely the start of the process. Safety at sea begins in the committee rooms at IMO's headquarters in London - but moves outside to embrace all who are linked to the shipping industry.

    He stressed that the list of partners who have a role to play in achieving IMO's twin objectives of safer shipping and cleaner oceans is lengthy, including shipbuilders and designers, classification societies, port State control inspectors, charterers, ship operators and, ultimately, the seafarers who staff and operate the world’s fleet. Hydrographers, map-makers, educators, equipment manufacturers, insurers and countless other groups or individuals all have their part to play as well, he added. Many of these groups are represented at IMO through international inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations which attend IMO meetings as active observers and whose expertise is called on in the decision-making process.

    "That is why we have chosen the theme of 'Building maritime partnerships' for this year's World Maritime Day," said Mr. O'Neil. "Our experience with the application of the partnership philosophy has been outstanding. It has enabled IMO to undertake joint programmes with governments, labour, shipping and industry organizations which have a maritime interest."

    A specific example of partnership in action is IMO's technical co-operation programme, under which IMO provides guidance and support to those countries that request assistance to enable them to strengthen their maritime infrastructure and meet the requirements for the proper implementation of international standards in shipping. But at the end of the day, the key partners in all facets of shipping are the people, from those onshore to those on board ship, Mr. O'Neil said.

    Mr. O'Neil added: "This year's World Maritime Day is particularly significant for the world's seafarers because I will be announcing the results of a competition to design a memorial to seafarers to be erected at IMO. * This memorial - to be unveiled a year from now - will serve not only as a monument to those seafarers who have lost their lives at sea but also as a permanent reminder of the contribution made by seafarers to world trade and of the contribution that shipping - and its seafarers - make to every aspect of our daily lives."

    "Shipping is a modern, international and multi-faceted industry that eventually touches just about everyone on the planet. And there is not a single individual or group involved with shipping that stands alone, outside the network of partnerships. It is fundamental that we all commit to a process of continually re-examining the standards that we have established and the mechanisms we have created for ensuring their proper, uniform implementation. In this, a global industry, our objectives can only be achieved through global partnerships in a global forum," said Mr. O'Neil.