World Maritime Day is celebrated on the last Thursday of every September, on September 26 this year, to honor the tireless work of the international maritime industry workers. The word ‘maritime’ comes from the Latin word ‘maritimus,’ which means ‘of the sea.’ The day illuminates the role that every maritime officer, service agent, and seafarer plays in our individual lives. Life at sea is hard. Long hours, precarious pay, and the emotional toll of being separated from your family for months can be an intense challenge. Since 1978, every last Thursday of September has been celebrated as World Maritime Day. The day coincides with the establishment of the International Maritime Organisation in 1958.
History of World Maritime Day
A safe and reliable international shipping industry is the foundation of the global free market. Being a cost-effective and efficient mode of transportation makes it an indispensable asset to our shared prosperity. The shipping industry employs over 1.5 million people.
The International Maritime Organization was established in 1948 to regulate the shipping industry. IMO maintains a comprehensive framework that includes technical cooperation, environmental regulation, legal remedies, and safety for all its staff.
For years, the International Maritime Organisation’s biggest focus has been to develop sustainable working conditions for its global staff. IMO seeks to establish an institutional framework that prepares us for a green future. The influx of new technology, innovative techniques, efficient training, and heightened security are some of its recent measures.
Decades after its establishment, the International Maritime Organization declared the last Thursday of every September as World Maritime Day. A theme is dedicated to the celebration each year.
World Maritime Day is observed to make the voices of seafarers heard and understood. Life at sea is risky and comes with brand new challenges every day. The well-being and security of our seafarers are instrumental to the success of the global economy. For long, their tireless work has been taken for granted, IMO seeks to change that.
World Maritime Day timeline
The Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention is organized by the United Nations after the Titanic disaster.
The Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization is established at the Geneva Convention.
World Maritime Day is adopted to honor and appreciate the world of seafarers.
The International Maritime Organization establishes the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden.
World Maritime Day FAQs
Who established the International Maritime Organization?
IMO was established by the United Nations, 20 years after the Titanic disaster that shook the world and brought the dangers of this unregulated industry to light.
How can I get a job in the shipping industry?
There are tons of job opportunities in the shipping industry, and each requires a specific skill set and a specialized degree. You can learn more about openings by researching your desired role and its requirements.
What kind of protections do shipping workers have?
The shipping industry was the first to implement International Safety Standards, all the way in 1990. The industry workers are protected by the International Maritime Organization and the International Labor Organization.
How To Celebrate World Maritime Day
Learn about life at the sea
Did you know that over 90% of ships have no communication with the world when they are out at sea? Or that an average maritime worker makes somewhere between $45,000 to $60,000 per annum? There are fascinating things to be learned about life at sea, and no better day to do it than World Maritime Day.
Thank a seafarer
The International Maritime Organization accepts letters of appreciation from well-wishers all year around. Let the maritime workers know that you appreciate their service and are praying for their safety.
Read seafarer’s profiles produced by the International Maritime Organization
In its quest to seek appreciation and recognition for the maritime workers, IMO has released a series of profiles on seafarers sharing their views on the future of shipping and the challenges they face. You can watch these profiles on YouTube.
5 Facts About The Global Shipping Industry That Will Blow Your Mind
Ships at sea, dating back centuries
Findings from the Bronze age prove that shipping is the oldest mode of transportation for goods.
It’s safe, it’s green
Shipping is the most environmentally friendly form of transport, and it is also one of the safest industries for workers.
Use the sea, you save pennies
Shipping is the most affordable way of commercial transport.
One ship saves a hundred train rides
Many rail rides worth of goods can be loaded onto a single carrier ship.
Ships travel the distance to the Moon
In its lifetime, the distance covered by a large container ship can measure up to the distance between the Earth and the Moon, times nine.
Why World Maritime Day is Important
The shipping industry is the backbone of the global economy
More than 80% of world trade is transported by the shipping industry — and the people who keep it all running are the maritime workers. On the final Thursday of every September, we raise a toast in their honor.
Their situation needs attention
Thousands of seafarers are stranded at the sea, tied up in unsustainable contracts. The International Maritime Organization seeks to push the governments to designate shipping industry personnel as essential workers.
We need a sustainable shipping industry
The deteriorating working condition of seafarers is dangerous and sustainable. World Maritime Day seeks to bring attention to their most immediate concerns. The quest towards a safe and secure shipping industry will benefit us all.
World Maritime Day dates