World Maritime Day

World Maritime Day Quick Facts - NZ

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2024 Date26 September 2024
2025 Date25 September 2025

World Maritime Day

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World Maritime Day History

World Maritime Day is an annual observance established by the United Nations, through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to raise awareness of the vital importance of shipping to global trade, security, and the environment. The occasion also highlights the contributions that maritime industries make to the sustainable development of the world economy. Themes such as maritime safety, environmental protection, and gender equality in the sector have been spotlighted during previous World Maritime Day events.

New Zealand’s maritime sector has played an important role in shaping the nation's economic and social evolution. The country boasts a rich maritime history, including navigational achievements by Māori and Captain James Cook’s three expeditions during the 18th century. Additionally, New Zealand’s geographical location fosters its reliance on shipping to support its export-led economy, with maritime services contributing significantly to the nation's growth. As a member of the IMO since 1961, New Zealand is actively involved in themes and initiatives promoted during World Maritime Day celebrations, recognizing the essential role of maritime activity to its success.

World Maritime Day is observed annually on the last Thursday of September. While each country individually commemorates the occasion, the New Zealand maritime community, including authorities and service providers, often take part in seminars, workshops, and exhibitions to promote awareness and appreciation of the industry. These activities emphasize the importance of shipping for exports, regional development, and the sustainability of the country's maritime environment. By celebrating World Maritime Day, New Zealand aims to honour its storied history and contribute to the global effort of ensuring a vibrant and sustainable maritime sector.

World Maritime Day facts

  • The theme for World Maritime Day in 2023 was MARPOL at 50- Our commitment goes on.
  • Between 1990 and 2020, the volume of cargo transported by ships more than doubled, from four to nearly 10.7 billion tons.
  • The three biggest shipping fleets in the world are owned by Greece, Japan, and Germany. The U.S is fifth.
  • The Māori arrived by sea to New Zealand over 700 years ago, navigating by the stars in large canoes called waka. In 1769, the British explorer Captain James Cook arrived in New Zealand, initiating a period of European exploration and later colonization.
  • New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is the 4th largest in the world, covering over 4 million square kilometers of ocean.

Top things to do in NZ for World Maritime Day

  • Take part in a guided tour of local fishing villages and seafood markets, offering a glimpse of the country's thriving fishing industry.
  • Enjoy a dolphin or whale-watching tour in Kaikoura, where sperm whales, dusky dolphins, and other marine animals can be spotted throughout the year.

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