"Connecting Ships, Ports and People" has been selected as the World Maritime Day theme for 2017 .
The theme was chosen to provide an opportunity to focus on the many diverse actors involved in the shipping and logistics areas.
The maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people that operate them, can and should play a significant role helping Member States to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through promoting trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land and, through developing a sustainable blue economy, at sea.
The aim of the 2017 theme is to build on the World Maritime Day theme for 2016, "Shipping: indispensable to the world", by focussing on helping IMO Member States to develop and implement maritime strategies to invest in a joined-up, interagency approach that addresses the whole range of issues, including the facilitation of maritime transport, and increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment, and maritime security.
In this way, IMO will be contributing to achieving the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are a broad response to the challenges facing the world today – increasing world population; climate change; threats to the environment; unsustainable exploitation of natural resources; threats to food security; societal threats posed by organized criminals and violent extremists; and instability leading to mixed migration.
Ultimately, more efficient shipping, working in partnership with a port sector supported by governments, will be a major driver towards global stability and sustainable development for the good of all people.
“Throughout the year, we will highlight the importance of ‘joined-up’ maritime development across all sectors, both from a policy and a practical perspective. The benefits of a free and efficient flow of goods and trade extend far beyond the ships and ports themselves,” Lim said.
“As a UN agency, IMO has a strong commitment to helping achieve the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals. Shipping and ports can play a significant role in helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade. The port and maritime sectors can be wealth creators, both on land and at sea,” Lim said.
During a tour of the port led by Mr. Clemence Cheng, Chief Executive Officer of the Port of Felixstowe and Managing Director of Hutchison Ports Europe, Lim witnessed port operations at first hand, observing the clear link between ships and ports and the people that operate them. He also spoke to crew on board the container ship Munkebo Maersk about the significance of the World Maritime Day theme for seafarers as well as for the wider public, the people who depend on shipping for most of everything they need and want.
THE PORT/SHIP RELATIONSHIP
More than anything else we need to fix the relationship between Port and Ship and talk to each other over the high fence that divides us.
I know that the ports will say that they already do this but discussions with ship owner representative bodies do not deal with or even raise most of the subjects that concern those on board the ships.
Once the ship is alongside, and the navigation phase is over, then most of our problems are in the relationship between those who work in the port and those who work in the ship and the perception each has of the other. The seamen see themselves as the customers, while the port sees the ships as the customers and the two observations are quite different. The seamen see the port as a place where they obviously work at loading and discharging the cargo, but also where they can hopefully obtain a little rest and recreation before heading back to Those who work in the port sees it as a factory complex, with very little, if any consideration for those on board, once again a considerable difference in opinion.
Fatigue is now a constant concern in the ports. We do have fatigue regulations on our ships but these cannot be observed as no port will offer a layby berth or is willing to allow ships to remain until those on board are properly rested. The rush to sail the ships as soon as they complete their cargo work is leading to accidents, which does not concern the port as the ship has left the berth, and anyway it is the Captains responsibility as he sailed the ship. No one discusses the pressure that has been applied to him to sail regardless.
To many large ports the idea of crew going ashore is a nuisance that they will hinder as by using various safety or security regulations. How often do we see port labour buses in use but nothing provide for the seafarers.
It would be interesting for ports to see for a moment their standing as graded by those on board ships. A port such as Rotterdam which prides itself on its efficiency would find itself with a zero rating from seamen who have been berthed alongside miles of sheds and dark empty roads at night with no transportation and the nearest café, shop or bar many miles away. One must wonder at the minds of those who designed such a complex without the slightest consideration for those on the ships on which they depend for their existence. To be fair, Rotterdam is not the only such port design. In such ports, without the help of the Padres of the various seafarers clubs and societies, which do such a superb job around the world, many seamen’s lives would be more depressing than they are increasingly becoming..
On the other hand, a small port with the town nearby or even a distant river port with a few bars and shops and helpfulness instead of hindrance from officials, could well receive a five star rating. Perhaps we should persuade the publishers of port guide books to start such a star rating program!
Of necessity, the ship and port have to relate to each other and the needs of each somehow be achieved. Owing to the situation of the individual ship staying for a comparative short time in a large port, the onus for the acceptance of the ship as a factory and a home lies with the port. In the end the port is also responsible for the conduct of the berths within its area., a fact that would seem to be a surprise to many port managements.
With regard to the state officials who work in the port dealing with the ships and those on them, the situation is more complex. The attitude up to now in almost all ports is to stand aside and wait until their business is over, saying that what they do is of no concern of the port management. But if abuse by these officials occurs in a number of ports on such a regular basis, and we all know it does, and that abuse now is affecting not just the relationship between the port and the ships, but the very reputation of the ports, surely the ports either individually or collectively have a duty to speak out. And yet, in not one conference dealing with port issues, has this and the accompanying almost universal port corruption ever been raised. Let us see if this matter is to be raised by those leading this initiative.
Yet in the end, ships do not need ports for their survival, yet the ports need ships for theirs. Not wishing to offend the purists, the ship is merely a metal box, it is the officers and crew who make the ship, operate it and bring it to the port. Somewhere, within the senior port management authority, serious thought must be given to the position of the ships crews within their structure and that these are given the same consideration as their own employees, and treated more as guests of the port rather than an irritation.
This can only be to the benefit of all of us concerned with the maritime industry.
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World Maritime Day 2017 theme ”Connecting Ships, Ports and People”