7th General Assembly of the International Association of Maritime Universities

Dalian, China

Human life has been closely connected with the sea since the beginning of history, but it was in the second half of the 20th century that worldwide maritime transportation developed most dramatically. It is now an essential means of global logistics, supporting our lives and the development of our countries.

About 90% of world trade is by sea, which means that maritime transportation is a major factor of globalization which drives the world economy.

On the other hand the expansion of maritime transportation has also brought various problems with it. We have developed our port facilities and established new sea routes.
But at the same time, there has been a rise in marine accidents, including oil spills and the pollution of the sea and coastal areas. These, in turn, have brought adverse effects on human health and marine ecosystems. The ever-increasing amount of pollution has moved well beyond the self-cleaning capacity of the sea. The sea was once believed to have virtually unlimited capacity for use by human beings. However, it has turned out to be very fragile. Moreover, its development and exploitation now threaten the very basis of our lives.


In order to cope with such crises, we need to do more than just use the sea. We need to move toward protecting it. We need to adapt ourselves to its changes. Since the maritime community’s activities are such a large part of the human use of the sea, it is crucial for us to review our own behavior, and make appropriate changes in the way we treat the sea.

Under the leadership of the International Maritime Organization the maritime community has been working together in many ways, such as the development of international regulations.This system has produced significant improvements in maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment.

However, we are now facing the emergence of new challenges that defy the conventional way of handling problems on a case-by-case basis. Such problems include environmental damage, and the inadequate management of ships throughout their life cycle. Both of these have been brought to light by the question of how we dismantle and scrap our ships. We also need to find ways to deal with the disruption of transportation caused by marine accidents, as well as piracy and terrorism in internationally vital sea lanes such as the Strait of Malacca. More needs to be done to deal with these problems. Yet another area that requires further effort is one of your university’s main themes: a seafarer-centered safety management framework for the international shipping industry.

However, efforts based on conventional methods and procedures are insufficient to deal with such issues.