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Day of Hiswtory : Celebration of World Maritime Day

A United Nations (UN), via the International Maritime Organization (IMO), created World Maritime Day to celebrate the international maritime industry’s contribution towards the world’s economy, especially in shipping. The event’s date varies by year and country but it is always on the last week of September.

Small Syrian harbour in Tartus
World Maritime Day focuses on the marine environment, as well as safety and security for boats and ships..©iStockphoto.com/Olga Kolos

What Do People Do?

World Maritime Day focuses on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work. The day also features a special message from the IMO’s secretary-general, which is backed up by a discussion paper on the selected subject in more detail.

World Maritime Day is celebrated in many countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Many maritime organizations and unions hold special events and activities to celebrate this day. These activities and events range from symposiums to luncheons, as well as school lessons that focus on the day. Some classes may organize a trip to a maritime museum so students can understand the significance of the maritime industry in shaping world history and its importance in world trade.

Public Life

World Maritime Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.

Background

Throughout history, people have understood that international regulations that are followed by many countries worldwide could improve marine safety so many treaties have been adopted since the 19th century. Various countries proposed for a permanent international body to be established to promote maritime safety more effectively but it was not until the UN was established that these hopes were realized. An international conference in Geneva in 1948 adopted a convention formally establishing the IMO, a specialized UN agency that develops and maintains a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping.

The IMO’s original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO. The IMO focuses on areas such as safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.

World Maritime Day was first held on March 17, 1978 to mark the date of the IMO Convention’s entry into force in 1958. At that time, the organization had 21 member states. It now has about 167 member states and three associate members. This membership includes virtually all the nations of the world with an interest in maritime affairs, including those involved in the shipping industry and coastal states with an interest in protecting their maritime environment.

Note: The dates below are a rough guide on when World Maritime Day is observed, based on the most recent previous dates it was observed by the UN. It is also important to note that the exact date is left to individual governments but is usually celebrated during the last week in September.

World Maritime Day Observances


1950–1999
2000–2014
2015–2025
2026–2049
2050–2099
2100–2149
2150–2199
2200–2249
2250–2299
2300–2349
2350–2399
2400–2449
2450–2499
2500–2549
2550–2599
2600–2649
2650–2699
2700–2749
2750–2799
2800–2849
2850–2899
2900–2949
2950–2999
3000–3049
3050–3099
3100–3149
3150–3199
3200–3249
3250–3299
3300–3349
3350–3399
3400–3449
3450–3499
3500–3549
3550–3599
3600–3649
3650–3699
3700–3749
3750–3799
3800–3849
3850–3899
3900–3949
3950–3999

Year Weekday Date Name Holiday Type
2015 Thu 24 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2016 Thu 29 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2017 Thu 28 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2018 Thu 27 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2019 Thu 26 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2020 Thu 24 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2021 Thu 23 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2022 Thu 22 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2023 Thu 28 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2024 Thu 26 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance
2025 Thu 25 Sep World Maritime Day United Nations observance

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