International shipping and world trade
We live in a global society which is supported by a global economy, and that economy simply could not function the way it does if it were not for ships and the shipping industry. Shipping is truly the linchpin of the global economy: without shipping, intercontinental trade, the bulk transport of raw materials and the import/export of affordable food and manufactured goods would simply not be possible. Shipping is perhaps the most international of all the world's great industries and one of the most dangerous. It has always been recognized that the best way of improving safety at sea is by developing international regulations that are followed by all shipping nations. Regulating the maritime industry to promote safety and security and prevention of pollution from ships worldwide has been the function of the International Maritime Organization since its inception in 1959. Of all the sectors that make up the global transport infrastructure, shipping probably has the lowest public profile and the least representative public image. Its importance is not well known although not a single area of our life remains unaffected by it. The IMO Council at its 93rd session in November 2004 endorsed the proposal of Secretary-General Mr. Efthimios Mitropoulos that the theme for World Maritime Day 2005 would be "International Shipping - Carrier of World Trade". The theme was chosen to provide an ideal opportunity to draw attention to the vital role that shipping plays in underpinning the international economy and its significant contribution to international trade and the world economy as the most efficient, safe and environmentally friendly method of transporting goods around the globe. IMO's response to current environmental challenges was the theme chosen for 2007 and "IMO: 60 years in the service of shipping for 2008. The latter was chosen as an appropriate way in which to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the IMO Convention (1948) and the 50th anniversary of its entry into force (1958). Climate change: a challenge for IMO tool is the theme chosen for 2009.