On World Maritime Day, UN urges ratification of conventions to protect global seaways

26 September 2014 | Press Releases

New York, 25 September 2014 – The implementation of measures ensuring shipping safety, maritime security and the protection of the marine environment can only be guaranteed if Member States ratify conventions enshrined by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nations officials said today.

Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization. UN Photo/P. Filgueiras

Koji Sekimizu, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization. UN Photo/P. Filgueiras

Marking the annual observance of World Maritime Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon celebrated the IMO’s contribution towards making global shipping “progressively safer, more secure and more environment-friendly” through over 50 conventions aimed at safeguarding the world’s seaways.

But, he added in his message, the ratification and enforcement of the conventions was a key step forward in securing the application of these protections.

“The real value of those conventions can be fully realized only if they are properly implemented. This entails early entry into force, broad participation, effective policies and programmes, stringent oversight and vigorous enforcement,” Mr. Ban stated.

“I urge all concerned to strengthen their efforts to achieve the full and effective implementation of all IMO conventions,” he added.

The theme of this year’s World Maritime Day, the 37th to be observed, is IMO Conventions: effective implementation.

IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu similarly underscored the importance of ratifying the conventions and warned that there were still several conventions for which “a slow pace of ratification and a lack of implementation are serious causes for concern.”

“A slow pace of ratification, a prolonged state of non-fulfilment of entry-into-force conditions, a lack of compliance oversight and of enforcement mechanisms all add up to ineffective implementation, which in turn prevents the benefits enshrined in IMO measures from being fully felt,” he stated in his message for the Day.

Pointing to those conventions which have occupied IMO efforts but have yet to enter into force, Mr. Sekimizu highlighted the Ballast Water Management Convention, the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, the Cape Town Agreement of 2012 to implement the Torremolinos Protocol on fishing vessel safety, the 2010 Protocol to the HNS Convention, and the Nairobi Convention on wreck removal.

“During the course of this year, our theme has enabled us to make genuine progress towards ratification, entry into force and implementation of all IMO conventions – but especially those which have yet to be widely accepted,” he continued.

“And this is what IMO is really all about.”