World Maritime Day is observed on 24 September to mark the contribution of international maritime industries towards the economy of the world especially shipping. Every year the International Maritime Organization (IMO) celebrates World Maritime Day. The exact date is left to individual Governments but, it is usually celebrated during the last week in September, generally the last Thursday of the month. World Maritime Day focuses on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security, and the marine environment. It aims to raise awareness about the importance of shipping safety, maritime security, and the marine environment.
 

Theme of World Maritime Day
  1. The theme for 2020 World Maritime Day is "Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet". 
  2. This theme is to focus on providing an opportunity to raise awareness of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  3. The shipping industry, with the support of the IMO regulatory framework, has already started the transition towards this sustainable future.
  4. Amid the Covid-19 the day will be celebrated in the form of an online event, due to social distancing measures caused by the pandemic. 
  5. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the professionalism and sacrifice of the two million seafarers who serve on the world’s merchant fleet.
  6. Shipping has continued to transport more than 80% of world trade, including vital medical supplies, food, and other basic goods that are critical for the Covid-19. 
  7. Hundreds of thousands of seafarers face a humanitarian crisis as they have been stranded at sea, unable to get off the ships they operate with contracts extended by many months.
Flashback
  1. World Maritime Day was first held on 17 March 1978, to mark the date of the IMO Convention’s entry into force in 1958.
  2. The IMO’s original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) but the name was changed in 1982 to IMO
  3. Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation for most goods; it provides a dependable, low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating commerce, and helping to create prosperity among nations and peoples.
  4. The membership of IMO 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.
  5. UNESCO adopted the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in 2001
  6. Currently ratified by 61 countries, but not yet by India, this international treaty encourages state parties to better research, identify and conserve underwater cultural heritage through appropriate legal and scientific measures. 
  7. The cooperation and exchange of knowledge among countries is critical in this endeavour and strongly emphasised by the Convention.
  8. Countries like Australia, Spain, Italy, China, or Egypt have made their underwater cultural heritage accessible to the public in a variety of ways attracting millions of visitors.