By Jite Eriabie
Panama on Monday hosted the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) World Maritime Day Parallel Event, which was attended by the country’s President Juan Carlos Varela and the IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim.
They were accompanied by delegates of the 172 Member States, representatives from various sectors of the international maritime industry, Ministers and Maritime Authorities of Asia, Africa, Europe and America.
It was a two-fold event, celebrating the World Maritime Day and the 100th anniversary of Panama’s Ship Registry.
It was an academic and informative event in which the IMO and the first Ship Registry in the world, through prominent internationally renowned exhibitors develop important themes on international standards related to safety, maritime and marine protection, navigation and certification of seafarers.
The IMO assigns this distinction to countries with high potential and strongly committed to the implementation of international standards related to maritime safety and security, protection of the marine environment, navigation and certification of seafarers.
Panama’s Minister of Maritime Affairs Jorge Barakat emphasised that Panama, as an IMO strategic ally, recognised the importance of maritime transport in achieving “free trade flow” and that “the international decisions and regulations issued in this matter, have a direct impact on how much of the goods are distributed throughout the world, through ships, for the benefit of the final recipients, people; being loaded and unloaded precisely in the ports, so the synergy between these three elements is of utmost importance.”
“All the threats that affect the industry represent a danger for the very subsistence of humanity; therefore, Panama pays attention to problems such as pollution of the marine environment, climate change, global warming, acidification of the oceans and increasing its level, which must be treated with priority,” said Barakat.
The World Maritime Day was established by the IMO Governing Council at its thirty-eighth session in 1978. Each year, through a different theme, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of global shipping and in other aspects that the organization wishes to highlight. Since 2005, an official Parallel Event has also been organized in a Member State.
“The IMO is committed to helping achieve the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals. Maritime transport and ports can play an important role in helping to create conditions for increasing prosperity and stability through the promotion of maritime trade,” reiterated secretary-general Lim.
“Our motto of this year ‘ Connecting Ships, Ports and People’, emphasizes that the port and maritime sectors can be wealth creators both on land and at sea. For that trade to flow effectively, connections between ports, ships and people must be secure.”
“Optimum and efficient port infrastructure, the development and strengthening of intermodal connections and nation-wide connections can boost and support the growing economy by promoting the maritime service. Here in Panama, I see that they are especially aware of this, of the benefits that investment in maritime infrastructure can bring to a country,” concluded Lim.
The secretary general of the Latin American Agreement of Viña del Mar, Luis Alberto Arroz, added that the Viña del Mar Agreement will also hold the XXIV Meeting of the Committee and IX Meeting of Administrators of Information Centres and Technical Working Groups, “for this we have the presence of Member States, who collaborate with the different Maritime Authorities, in order to coordinate effective supervision of foreign vessels visiting the ports of the region, in compliance with the current international agreements on safety and the environment.”
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