World Maritime Day, which falls on September 28, is an opportunity to highlight the importance of the natural aquatic ecosystem that is the sea. Protecting the marine environment, which is exposed to the risk of pollution on a daily basis, is not only in our hands, but also the responsibility of institutions using the sea as a transportation route and workplace. We are talking about the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations, which is the originator of the holiday. World Maritime Day aims to make the world aware that the seas are a common asset, and their protection should be the interest and responsibility of both governments or institutions and communities.

World Maritime Day – a global good

The seas occupy an important position in much of the global economy, supporting sectors from tourism to fishing to international shipping. They are an environment characterized by great biodiversity, which is shrinking or even dying out due to irresponsible human activity. Continued pollution of the seas will lead to really serious consequences, which is why initiatives such as World Maritime Day bring worldwide attention to a specific problem and the need to take care of a clean environment. It is an all-human good, so in order to benefit from it and enjoy its beauty, we should all take care of it.

World Maritime Day 2023 – 50. The anniversary of the signing of the MARPOL treaty by the IMO.

This year’s World Maritime Day coincides with the 50th. anniversary of the signing of the environmental treaty MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships; short for marine pollution), which covers the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. To mark the occasion, the IMO has decided that the theme for World Maritime Day 2023 will be “MARPOL after 50. year – our commitment continues.” This underscores the IMO’s journey, which began more than half a century ago, to protect the environment from the impact of ships through a robust regulatory framework, creating an environmentally friendly shipping industry.

The IMO fulfills its role as a global regulator by ensuring that the maritime sector delivers cargo in a safe and environmentally sustainable manner. International shipping transports more than 80 percent. goods exchanged on the market.

It was MARPOL that influenced the ban on the discharge of plastic garbage into the sea, and operational waste (collected on board a ship), such as garbage and sewage, cannot simply be thrown overboard – it is strictly regulated. The way ships are designed and operated has changed. Thanks to this and other targeted interventions, the number of oil spills over the past 50 years has fallen by more than 90 percent. Air pollution regulations introduced have significantly reduced sulfur oxide emissions from ships. Recent efforts have focused on decarbonizing shipping as part of joining the global fight against climate change. MARPOL has changed shipping and the state of the seas and ensures that it will continue to do so, at least for the next 50 years.

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said: “Much has changed in shipping since the adoption of MARPOL on November 2, 1973, and IMO’s commitment to protecting and preserving the marine environment remains unwavering. The World Maritime Day theme for 2023 will help celebrate this legacy while underscoring our commitment, building on existing foundations as we move together toward a better future.”

Blue illumination of monuments and objects related to the sea

On World Maritime Day in 2021. secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization, in order to promote the essence of the event, initiated a campaign to illuminate in blue the IMO building, the Mariner’s Monument in London and other symbolic landmarks around the world. Since then, the action has been an annual symbolic effort to unite the maritime community. The secretary general announces that this year the facilities will again shine with blue light in the evening.

The illumination of the facilities is an effort to raise awareness of the important contribution of shipping to the development and functioning of the world. The secretary general wants more landmark buildings, bridges, seaports, ships, monuments, museums and other points of interest to join the initiative to light up blue on World Maritime Day 2023. To spread the word, the IMO Secretary General is encouraging people to use the hashtag #WorldMaritimeDay on social media.

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