By Kabeer Yousuf ‚Äî MUSCAT ‚Äî The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has hailed the Sultanate of Oman‚Äôs efforts in co-operating and co-ordinating with rest of the region in ensuring safety in the sea in terms of safeguarding human lives as well as marine species. It was conveyed yesterday by Jianxin Zhu, Director, Technical Co-operation Division, IMO, and Mohammed Amine el Housseini Hilal, Deputy Director, IMO, and Head-Arab and Africa (Francophone), Technical Co-operation Division.
Speaking to the Observer in an exclusive interview, the Director of IMO said the country has taken some serious steps in co-operating with the neighbouring countries and it is really laudable. ‚ÄúOman has set up some sort of co-ordination and co-operation with the neighbouring countries and the country and its Ministry of Transport and Communication deserve a big appreciation‚Äù. Oman is a member of IMO since 1974. In order to promote regional co-operation and understanding in maritime, Oman has initiated a committee for co-ordination comprising the naval officers, Coast Guard, and maritime authorities. This committee would look into any matter to be dealt with such as piracy, oil spillage, pollution and other marine accidents.
The top officials from IMO who are touched by the traditional Omani hospitality and selfless people, said that although the country is not under direct piracy threat it has all the measures in place to combat any such attempt. ‚ÄúOman is not under direct threat of piracy. Nonetheless, it has one of the best maritime strategies and it is safeguarded from any potential threats unless it‚Äôs natural‚Äù. They said in 2011 Oman sought some assistance from the IMO for consultancy in maritime security and the Organisation sent an Effect-finding Mission to assess the present scenario in the country and to seek ways of improvement. Those IMO consultants identified some measures to be undertaken by the country and we have been maintaining such a deep relation with the Ministry of Transport and Communication.
However, the key officials from the international body that governs, regulates and¬†implements maritime regulations said that¬†the world needs better maritime strategies and more consideration for seafarers taking in to consideration that a lion’s share of the global trade is carried out through the seas. ‚ÄúAbout 90 per cent of world trade is through the sea and the number of seafarers is estimated to be at least 1.5 million around the world. However, the maritime sector is not getting the respect and consideration that it deserves and it is no doubt that the appreciation and valuing of these seafarers‚Äô efforts would be an essential requirement. The countries around the globe need to take some serious steps to safeguard them from the hazards of sea. We need to act before any sea disasters take place,‚Äù they added.