IMO a century after the ‘Titanic’

27 Sep 2012
'Titanic' - a "pivotal disaster", according to IMO

'Titanic' - a "pivotal disaster", according to IMO

27 September is the International Maritime Organization’s World Maritime Day. This year’s theme, ‘IMO: One hundred years after the “Titanic”’, was chosen to reflect on passenger ship safety today, and into the future.

In his message marking the 35th celebration of World Maritime Day, IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu recalled that the Titanic tragedy, on 14 April 1912, which transformed in a few short hours the world’s most celebrated ship into a name forever associated with disaster, prompted the major shipping nations of the world, at that time, to take decisive action to address maritime safety. This led to the adoption, two years later, of the first-ever International Convention on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and, ultimately, to the establishment of IMO itself.

“Today, much updated and revised, SOLAS is still the most important international treaty addressing maritime safety,” Mr. Sekimizu said. “This year, as we look back on that pivotal disaster 100 years ago, I urge IMO Member Governments and the shipping industry as a whole to refresh their determination to improve and enhance the safety of passenger shipping today, and into the future.”

Mr Sekimizu announced a two-day symposium at IMO Headquarters, in London, in conjunction with IMO’s Maritime Safety Committee next June, on the ‘Future of Ship Safety’.

“Each new generation of vessels brings fresh challenges and, regrettably, accidents still occur, reinforcing the need for continual improvement. Our efforts to promote maritime safety, not least of passenger ships, will never stop. We should respond quickly to accidents and we must be proactive,” he said.

United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon also issued a message for World Maritime Day, reflecting on the Titanic tragedy and noting that each successive generation brings new challenges.

“Thanks largely to the IMO regulatory regime, shipping today is safer and more environmentally friendly than it has ever been. A century after the Titanic was lost in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, the IMO is striving to ensure continual improvement in safety at sea. Its work is as important now as ever,” Mr. Ban said.

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