World Maritime Day Parallel Event, Yokohama, Japan (closing remarks)

World Maritime Day Parallel Event
Yokohama, Japan
20-21 July 2015
Closing remarks by Koji Sekimizu
Secretary-General, International Maritime Organization

Vice-Minister, Madame Mayor, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassadors, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of all IMO Members and, indeed, the maritime community as a whole, I should like to renew our thanks and appreciation to the Government of Japan for inviting IMO to bring this year’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event to a country with such deep and strong roots and centuries-long traditions in shipping.

As we reach the end of this conference, I hope you will agree this has been a fascinating and insightful event.

I again congratulate MLIT as the host and organizer of this event.  This year has set a new standard for World Maritime Day Parallel Events, and I am very happy that organizers of future events such as the Islamic Republic of Iran, South Africa and of course Turkey are here to witness it.  I was also very heartened to see so many cadets training for maritime careers attending these events in their uniforms.  I hope that Member States will also send their cadets to the celebration of World Maritime Day in London in September.  We have many wonderful events planned, including two events for children, one for younger children and another for older ones about to make a career choice, as well as a Symposium that will follow on from these events.  The cadets would be most welcome at all these.

We have heard how maritime education and training are central to the sustainable development of shipping in the future, given that the industry will rely on a growing supply of skilled, high-quality manpower to meet increasing demand for its services from a growing global population.

Several distinguished speakers and panellists have told us about the importance of effective maritime education and training, from several different perspectives. Clearly, there are challenges that need to be faced, but it is encouraging to see how dynamically and creatively those challenges are being addressed.

Today, we have seen a most interesting demonstration of cadet training in our host country, Japan, which I am sure we all found fascinating. We have also learnt more about Japan’s maritime heritage, a subject which is personally very close to my heart. I am a great believer in the ability of maritime heritage to engage new audiences, and in particular younger people, and I am sure that the long and rich maritime history of Japan can be put to good use in turning the mind of a new generation to the maritime profession in this country.

And so, as we approach the end of a really thought-provoking and productive series of debates and presentations, it remains only for me to thank, once again, the Government of Japan for organizing this international event, which has also provided such a worthwhile opportunity for the country’s national maritime community to meet and interact with the international maritime world.

Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude: I mentioned in my opening remarks yesterday that the Parallel Event flag was flying, indicating that the event was truly underway. So now, taking inspiration from the Olympic Games, I am going to ask this year’s organizers, Japan, to formally hand over the World Maritime Day Parallel Event flag to next year’s hosts, Turkey.

Finally, I should like to present a commemorative plaque to Japan, in thanks and recognition of the wonderful job they have made of hosting this year’s event at the maritime city of Japan, Yokohama.

Thank you.