The 2016 World Maritime Day has come and gone without the usual pomp and panache that characterized previous celebrations, both within the public and private sectors of the nation’s economy.
A top official of one of the terminals in Apapa, on grounds of anonymity said there is nothing to celebrate in the Nigerian maritime sector now stressing that “There are so many problems here in Nigeria that we need to iron out rather than celebrating World Maritime Day. We are aware and we are taking cognizance of that, but the economy does not allow for a merry-making now. It’s that sad.”
World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day within the last lap of September every year, providing opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasise a particular aspect of International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO’s) work.
The theme of this year’s celebration is : “Shipping is indispensable to the world”, global maritime community celebrated the yearly-dedicated day amid pomp and pageantry.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in his World Maritime Day message said: “As the World Maritime Day theme for 2016 so rightly acknowledges, shipping is indispensable to the world – and is set to remain central to world economic growth as we make the inevitable transition towards an era of clean and sustainable development.
“This is a message that needs, and deserves, a wider audience. Almost everyone in the world today relies on shipping to some extent – but very few are aware of it,” he said.
Lim further urged all those involved in shipping to take the opportunity to highlight this vital industry, on which so many depend.
United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, also issued a message for the World Maritime Day, saying: “The importance of shipping in supporting and sustaining today’s global society makes it indispensable to the world, and to meeting the challenge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,”
Whereas a stimulating debate on shipping’s future challenges took place at IMO Headquarters in London, with thousands tuning in worldwide via online participation and hundreds submitting their questions to the panel, from Peru to New Zealand, on social media, hundreds of thousands of people engaged with the theme – Shipping: indispensable to the world.
But the situation was different here in Nigeria as it was a calm atmosphere, and there was no sign, celebration or official event whatsoever to debate on maritime issues relating to the theme.
Stakeholders had expected top government bodies like the Ministry of Transport; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA); Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to be part of the celebration or drive it.