September 30, 2004

World Maritime Day message from Mitropolous stresses security

Efthimios E. MitropolousAddressing the international maritime community in a World Maritime Day message, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos commended governments and the shipping industry for their efforts in ensuring the timely implementation of the IMO maritime security measures, including the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code - the ISPS Code, which were adopted in 2002 and entered into force on July 1, 2004.

But he warned against complacency.

"Now that the new international maritime security measures are in force, we must not make the mistake of resting on our laurels and assuming the work has been completed," warns IMO Secretary-General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, in a message to mark World Maritime Day. "The risks are too high to allow for any hint of complacency and we must make sure that high levels of vigilance and awareness are maintained and built upon until they become second nature throughout the shipping and port industries. Terrorism is not a matter of concern to one country or a group of countries —it is a global issue that affects us all and we should spare no effort to ensure that, together, we build a robust and resilient defense."

The Secretary-General highlighted the fact that, in a broader context, IMO's work in the realm of maritime security also provides support for its objectives in enhancing safety and also preventing pollution of the marine environment.

"The detrimental impact on the environment of a successful attack on a ship laden with oil, chemicals or other hazardous or noxious substances could be immense and, by raising our defenses against terrorists, we are providing further protection in this respect,"Mitropoulos said.

The work of the IMO global technical co-operation program on maritime security was particularly important in helping Member States, especially those in the developing world, to fully and effectively implement the security measures, Mitropoulos noted. A Maritime Security Trust Fund has been established to provide a dedicated source of financial support for IMO maritime security technical co-operation activities.

You can read the full text of the message here


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