National Meritime Day – April 5
In India 5th April 1964 marks the National Maritime Day of India. On this day in 1919 navigation history was created when SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd., journeyed to the United Kingdom, a crucial step for India shipping history when sea routes were controlled by the British.
According to historians, even during the Indus Valley civilization, India had a remarkable expertise in sea trade and maritime activities. The Indian sub-continent is strategically very crucial because of the geographical location of seas around it. Indian ship industry has shown incredible advancements since the time immemorial. During the ancient eras, sailing ships with wooden hull were in vogue.
India has thousands of kilometers of coastline serviced by a hundreds of ports. That explains India’s participation in international sea-borne commerce. Trade and commerce in India through sea route picked up the pace only after the advent of Europeans. The country has registered a notable growth in shipping post-independence era. If we talk about maritime history, United Nation has designated International Maritime Organization in charge of maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. India became a member of this agency in 1959. The organization convenes maritime conferences and drafts international maritime conventions on a regular basis.
It is believed that nearly 90 per cent of India’s international trade in terms of volume and 77 per cent in terms of value is moved by sea. It comes as no surprise to know that India has the honor of having the largest merchant shipping fleet among the developing countries. Maritime Day is wonderful reminder of nation’s abiding faith in the importance of maritime zone. Sea route development and preservation is absolutely essential for the all-round development of the country. April 5 repeats the necessity of protecting, preserving and defending our maritime zone.
Maritime history goes back to the hoary past. Because no country has jurisdiction over the seas, it has been necessary for nations to reach agreements regarding ways of dealing with ships, crews and cargoes when disputes arise. The London-based International Maritime Organisation is the United Nation’s specialised agency responsible for improving maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. The Organisation also convenes international maritime conferences and drafts international maritime conventions from time to time. IMO has 158 countries as its members, India became its member in 1959.