Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg and Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela commemorated World Maritime Day, which this year has the theme ‘Sustainable Shipping for a Sustainable Planet’.
Minister Ian Borg began by thanking all workers in the sector for the priceless contribution they continued to give even during the most difficult times brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and stressed that the maritime industry and seamen were crucial for our country to continue receiving daily necessities, medicine and the medical equipment we needed.
He said that, “Malta always works hard to be a principal active participant in international fora, like the International Maritime Organisation, and to promote sustainable shipping. Our country’s proactivity has been clear during these last years, especially in the contribution we gave towards the development of measures for less emissions by ships, less sulphur in ship fuel, the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention, the assistance we have always given to developing countries, and the commitment to see more women participating in this important sector.
“Today, we have a register that has doubled in number in seven years but continued to reduce the average age of vessels, a register that performs exceptionally with regard to sustainability. In the meantime, we are continuously working towards favourable conditions for seamen, and recently introduced new health protocols to this end. Malta will remain a leading maritime nation and we will continue working with organisations, fora and the industry for a bigger and more sustainable sector.”
In his address, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela, who is, among other things, responsible for sustainable development, noted that this year’s theme for the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s World Maritime Day focuses on the importance of sustainability – ‘Sustainable shipping for a sustainable planet’.
Minister Abela said that the infrastructural sector and the maritime industry can work hand in hand with the sustainable development sector. He added that, in this sector, we need to witness the integration of three main aspects; the economic, the social and the environmental aspects. “I note, for example, that as an island we can consider more sustainable transport by sea. To connect more places by sea we need more infrastructural works,” said Minister Abela.
He also said that if we look at the governance of oceans, we can see that in this sector Malta also has a long history, especially with regard to Malta’s initiative that led to the creation of the Law of the Seas. He reminded those present of the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) which falls within the International Maritime Organization and which is in Malta, led by Professor David Attard, who just last month was re-elected to the Law of the Sea Tribunal with a strong vote of confidence.
In his conclusion, he commended Minister Borg for the work done so that Malta could open a new maritime registry office in our Embassy in Athens, Greece, last year. “It is such things that as an island, in our small size, make us sustainable. Because, with this type of vessel registration industry, we are making use of assets that do not need physical space,” concluded Minister Abela.