World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day, which provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasise a particular aspect of the IMO's work.
Each World Maritime Day has its own theme, which is reflected in the IMO’s work throughout the year. In 2015, attention has focused on the need for high-quality maritime education and training, as the bedrock of a safe and secure shipping industry.
“Without a quality labour force, motivated, trained and skilled to the appropriate international standards, shipping cannot thrive,” IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said, in his annual World Maritime Day Message on Thursday 24 September 2015.
“Not only that, all the many advances that have been made, in terms of safety and environmental impact, are at risk if personnel within the industry are unable to implement them properly,” Mr. Sekimizu said. “The importance of training and education for the maritime personnel of today and tomorrow is greater than ever before.”
Mr. Sekimizu also highlighted the need for greater efforts to be made to bring new generations into seafaring as a profession, noting that seafaring must be seen to appeal to new generations as a rewarding and fulfilling career. “The world depends on a safe, secure and efficient shipping industry; and the shipping industry depends on an adequate supply of seafarers to operate the ships that carry the essential cargoes we all rely on,” Mr. Sekimizu said.
To encourage young people to choose further education and careers in the maritime world and to raise awareness, IMO’s London Headquarters opened its doors on Tuesday (22 September) and Wednesday (23 September) to more than 300 primary and secondary age school children, from local and international schools based in London, for special World Maritime Day events.
The young people engaged with seafarer cadets from all over the world and representatives from maritime training institutes and international shipping organisations, who outlined the benefits and attractions of a career at sea and in the broader maritime professions.
IMO has also established the IMO Maritime Ambassador Scheme, to promote the rich and varied career opportunities for young people, both at sea and ashore, in the multi-faceted maritime world.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also issued a message for World Maritime Day
"Today, shipping is a modern, highly technical, professional discipline that requires a great deal of skill, knowledge and expertise from the maritime workforce. A safe, secure and clean shipping industry can only be built on effective standards of education and training,” Mr. Ban said.