World Maritime Day 2017 – “Connecting Ships, Ports and People”

ISSN 2369-873X

22 September 2017
Posted by Marc-André Poisson

The United Nations state that maritime transport is the backbone of globalization and lies at the heart of cross-border transport networks that support supply chains and enable international trade. Contrary to what some might think, world seaborne trade is growing. With increased traffic though, comes increased risks.

On this World Maritime Day 2017 (September 28), we highlight some of the great work done by the Marine Accident Investigators' International Forum (MAIIF), an international non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of marine safety and the prevention of marine pollution. I'm also very proud to currently be the Chairman of MAIIF.

By applying the International Maritime Organization (IMO) casualty investigation code, members of MAIIF conduct marine safety investigations into marine casualties and marine incidents. We exchange ideas, experiences, and information acquired in marine accident investigations. We also promote and improve marine accident investigation, and foster cooperation and communication between marine accident investigators. MAIIF is a pillar that helps the IMO achieve its sustainable development goals and is key to this year's theme of "Connecting Ships, Ports and People."

Marine casualties offer MAIIF members unique opportunities to learn lessons and improve safety. The most effective way to improve safety at sea is by developing international regulations that are followed by all shipping nations. For example, in response to the Titanic disaster, the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention was adopted in 1914, the most important of all international treaties concerning the safety of merchant ships. The adoption of the SOLAS Convention can be credited in large part to the investigation led by the British Wreck Commissioner. Today, the work conducted by MAIIF members helps to improve conventions and support the work of the IMO, the global regulator of safety at sea.

Just like at the TSB, MAIIF members do not assign blame or determine liability. When a marine accident happens and a safety investigation is conducted by a member of MAIIF, you can rest assured that the work carried out will be in the interest of safety for all mariners and the public.

Finally, most investigators at the TSB and MAIIF members have sea-born experience. They often relate to their present job as one of the highlight of their careers. I therefore take this opportunity to encourage Canadian youth and youth around the World to think about starting a career at sea or in shipping. It is a tremendous opportunity, and the skills learned are readily transferable in highly valued occupations such as marine safety investigators.

Image of Marc-André Poisson

Marc-André Poisson is Director of Marine Investigations at the TSB. He holds several college and university diplomas obtained in Canada and Europe. A professional mariner, he also has command at sea experience and has been an emergency responder. Marc-André is the proud father of two young women.

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