Today (27 October) I am in Tangier for the 2014 World Maritime Day Parallel Event.
Yesterday, when I arrived at Tangier, I was greeted by Mr Najib Boulif, Minister Delegate of Transport. He showed me around the Maritime Traffic Surveillance Centre in the Strait of Gibraltar (Tangier Traffic VTS) and the modern port complex of Tangier Med, one of the largest in Africa and in the Mediterranean region. Morocco is investing heavily in port development, taking advantage of its geographic location on one of the busiest shipping channels in the world and a coastline that extends to both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Its maritime development policy has been firmly established at the highest level of Government, and its plans are being implemented at full speed.
Today I attended the opening ceremony of the Parallel Event with Mr Aziz Rebbah, Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics. I spoke about the exciting and promising maritime developments in Morocco, about the importance of the “IMO system” and about maritime education and training.
Over the last half century, within its remit, IMO has effectively established a global system of shared responsibilities for maritime and ocean governance. We have established the value of global standards and a level playing field, of effective implementation and enforcement mechanisms (including the Member State Audit Scheme). We have achieved significant improvements in safety and reduced the harmful impacts of shipping on the environment. All of these things have been achieved with the help of a global system of cooperation among flag State administrations, port State authorities, coastal State authorities (such as coast guards, hydrographic authorities, search and rescue centres), the shipping industry, the ship-building industry, the insurance industry, classification societies, as well as the port and logistics operators that connect shipping to other modes of transportation. This is a great mechanism for sharing responsibilities and ensuring the global maritime transportation system is sustainable.
I ask all IMO Member States to ratify all IMO conventions and perform their responsibilities as flag, port and coastal States under this “IMO system”.
Shipping is indispensable for sustainable development. Sustainable development goals for ocean‑related matters cannot be achieved without it. We must ensure that future maritime leaders are educated to understand the value of the oceans, the value of shipping, the value of the maritime industry and the value of the “IMO system”. And, in order to raise the awareness of shipping’s contribution to sustainable development, I propose to promote our shared maritime heritage to the general public. If properly presented, maritime heritage can attract widespread public attention. In this context, I have proposed that each host country of the World Maritime Day Parallel Event should provide a presentation of its maritime heritage to the participants in the event.
Today, I was reminded that the Moroccan explorer Ibn Battuta, who was one of the greatest travellers in maritime history and even visited Beijing, China, in the mid-fourteenth century, was born here in Tangier. This historic fact indicates the maritime roots from which the present and future maritime industry of Morocco is growing.
I appreciate very much all the efforts made by the people of Morocco who proposed and realized the holding of this year’s Parallel Event in Tangier, including Her Highness Princess Lalla Joumala, Permanent Representative of Morocco to IMO and Ambassador in London, who was so passionate to bring this year’s event to Tangier and to shine a spotlight on the maritime heritage of this great maritime nation.