Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO); Mr Kitack Lim, has vowed that the organisation will continue to place a premium on the safety and well-being of the world’s 1.6Million seafarers.
The IMO Secretary-General gave the assurance at the opening of the 31st regular session of the IMO Assembly which started yesterday at the IMO Headquarters in London.
He told the gathering that the well-being of over 1.6 million seafarers working on board seagoing ships every day, to deliver goods to people around the world is, and will remain, a priority.
“I believe that we all are passionate about the safety of shipping and seafarers as well as seafarer rights, including fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident.
“We have to recognize the need to keep regulations and guidance up to date, as seafarers have to adapt to the increasing demands, many driven by technology, which have a significant impact on their day-to-day life”, he said.
Underscoring the threat of piracy and maritime crime on shipping and seafarers, he acknowledged that such threats are assuming different dimensions.
“The world is constantly changing. Threats to the port and shipping sectors like piracy and armed robbery, in particular in the Gulf of Guinea, but also emerging issues like cyber security, are continuously evolving”
The IMO Scribe also acknowledged the recent global maritime security conference which was hosted by Nigeria as one of such efforts that would help in the fight against such crimes.
“There is a need for global and regional efforts to fight these threats. IMO, through the cooperation among littoral States, is making good progress in strengthening its support to countries around the world to boost their maritime security capacities”
“One example is the very successful Global Maritime Security Conference that took place in Abuja, Nigeria in October. I am sure that we will continue our cooperation with similar efforts in the future”.
“IMO is also showing a strong commitment to address the rise of digitalization and automation in the maritime industry to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of shipping.
“IMO must also ensure that technologies which increase connectivity and efficiency of working practices in maritime transport are adopted; be it in marine communications or the exchange of information; through approaches like the maritime single window or in ship-to-ship as well as ship-to-shore interfaces”
“Cooperation and communication between shipping, ports and logistics will be vital to enhance the efficiency and sustainability of shipping and therefore facilitate trade and foster economic growth and prosperity”, he said.