Ever since the era of iron men manning wooden ships, the sea and the elements have relentlessly challenged the undaunted spirit of seafarers. Mariners, shipowners, governments and others in the maritime world have been concerned for years about the safety of ships, their crews, cargo and passengers. Maritime safety has never ceased to be a matter of grave concern for the world community at large. Indeed, the original IMO motto or abbreviated mission statement of “safer ships and cleaner seas” continues to be the cornerstone of maritime activities. In the modern era, concern for safety was brought to the forefront with the sinking of the Titanic, and in recent times it has been driven home time and again by disasters such as the capsizing of the roll on-roll off ferry Herald of Free Enterprise off Zeebrugge, the sinkings of the Donna Paz in The Philippines, and the Estonia in the Baltic Sea. While the rate of shipping casualties fell steadily during the early 1980s and the amount of pollution dropped by as much as 60 %, the late 1980s and early 1990s saw a sharp and dramatic reversal which rekindled global concern in both the public and private sectors over maritime safety and pollution of the seas. The following are some of the major maritime disasters involving both safety and pollution of the seas during this time:
- International Maritime Organization
- Civil Liability
- Bulk Carrier
- Classification Society
- Flag State
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