World Maritime Day


Kuwait - stamp World Maritime Day 1987The Assembly of Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (IMCO, now IMO) at its tenth regular session held in November 1977, decided to institute a World Maritime Day  to be observed annually on 17 March, the anniversary of the date of entry into force in 1958 of the Convention establishing the IMCO.


The first World Maritime Day was dedicated to the Promotion of the Safety, Welfare and Training of Seafarers and all who operate on or in connection with ships. With this in view, IMCO adopted "Safety of life at sea" for celebration of the First World Maritime Day. Programmes and events high lighted the work and activities of IMCO aimed at improving safety at sea and the development of procedures and the training of ships personnel designed to ensure the safest handling and management of ships, crews, cargoes and passengers.


The Second World Maritime Day, celebrated on 16 March 1979 had "Safer shipping and cleaner oceans" as the main theme adopted by IMCO.


It has now been decided by IM(C)O that World Maritime Day will be celebrated every year in the last week of September. The actual date will be left to individual member governments.


To mark the occasion, the Secretary-General of IMO always prepares a special message and this is backed up by a paper which discusses the selected subject in greater depth.


1978   Safety of life at sea (IMCO 30th anniversary)

1979   Safer shipping and cleaner oceans

1997   Optimum maritime safety demands a focus on people

1998   Shipping and the oceans (IMO 50th anniversary)

1999   IMO and the new millennium

2000   Building maritime partnerships

2001   Globalization and the role of the seafarer

2002   Safer shipping demands a safety culture

2003   Committed people working for safe, secure and clean seas

2004   Focus on maritime security

2005   International shipping - Carrier of world trade

2006   Technical co-operation: IMO's response to the 2005 World Summit

2007   IMO's response to current environmental challenges

2008   IMO: 60 years in the service of shipping

2009   Climate change: a challenge for IMO too!





The World Maritime Day section on the IMO website.



Stamp catalogue - 1978


Union of Soviet Socialist Republics        15 June 1978



Stamp catalogue - 1979


German Democratic Republic                20 March 1979









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last revised: 5 July 2009