Maritime Industry Current Affairs - 2019

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India’s first Maritime Museum in Gujarat

The Government of India is planning to establish a National Maritime Heritage Museum at Lothal in Gujarat. The museum will also act as an independent research center for archaeology of boat building, reconstruction of maritime history and materials traded. It will hold display of salvaged materials from shipwreck sites in Indian Ocean waters.

Underwater Archaeology

The underwater archaeology involves remains of submerged shipwrecks, ports and records of maritime activity from archaeological excavations. The shipwrecks studies in India were initiated in 1989 in the Sunchi Reef, Goa. According to UNESCO, there are around 3 million undiscovered shipwrecks on the world’s ocean floor.

Significance

India has vast potential with its rich maritime history. The archaeological evidence from South East Asia and Persian Gulf say that Indian maritime voyagers ventured into eastern and western seas even before 4000 years ago. Studying about sunken ships will help to fill in gaps in India’s maritime history and trade links with other countries.

Lothal

Lothal is an ancient city of Indus Valley Civilization. It was discovered in 1954 by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). The site is important as the irrigation tank of the city was used as a dock in ancient times. Also the city was a part of a major river system (the five rivers flowing through Punjab) on the trade route. The GoI has requested UNESCO to add Lothal into the lists of UNESCO Heritage sites. The requisition is yet to receive approval.

September 28: World Maritime Day

The World Maritime Day (WMD) is observed every year on September 28 to highlight importance of shipping safety, maritime security and marine environment and to acknowledge maritime industry.

The 2017 theme of the day is ‘Connecting Ships, Ports and People’. It was chosen to provide an opportunity to focus on many diverse actors involved in shipping and logistics industry. It aims to focus on helping International Maritime Organization (IMO) member states to develop and implement maritime strategies to invest in a joined-up, interagency approach that addresses whole range of issues, including facilitation of maritime transport, increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of marine environment, and maritime security.

Background

The World Maritime Day marks date of adaptation of International Maritime Organization (IMO) Convention in 1958. The day was first observed in 1978. The IMO’s original name was the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) but it was changed to IMO in 1982.

International Maritime Organization (IMO)

IMO is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. It was established in 1948 in Geneva as ICMO and came into force in 1959. Its headquarters are in London, United Kingdom.

IMO has 171 member states and 3 associate members. India was one of the earliest members of the IMO and had joined it as a member-state in 1959. Its functions are to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit. This framework addresses various areas like safety, legal matters, environmental concerns, technical co-operation, maritime security and efficiency of shipping.