WMO-IMO Addresses Extreme Maritime Weather

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 29, 2019

Image: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Image: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held the first joint symposium on  extreme maritime weather: Towards safety of life at sea and a sustainable blue economy.

The symposium has highlighted the need for the gap to be closed between met-ocean (meteorology and oceanography) information providers and the users of this information in the maritime industry.

The October 23-25 event at IMO headquarters in London brought together about 200 stakeholders from shipping (including freight, passenger ferries, cruise liners), offshore industry, ports and harbors, coast guards, insurance providers and the met-ocean community - both public and private).

Global examples of extreme maritime weather and a wide variety of related issues were discussed. These included insurance, investigation and indemnity, ocean forecasting to improve decision making by maritime sectors, digital delivery of maritime safety information, decision support in polar regions from short to longer term seasonal time scales, voyage route optimization, decision support for the offshore industry, and search and rescue.

Nusrat Ghani, UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Transport stressed the need for met-ocean and shipping communities to build dialogue on global solutions in shipping and maritime transport, especially in the changing climate.

In an opening video address, Peter Thomson, UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, hailed the symposium as “timely.”

“With the great majority of world trade carried by ships, the value of the historical loss of cargo due to extreme weather conditions is simply vast. Most of these tragedies could have been avoided if better information, communication and preparedness measures had been available at the time,” he said. “The good news is that ocean information services are being continually developed, including early warnings and improved predictions.”

The “blue economy” is estimated at US$ 3-6 trillion/year, accounting for 70% of world trade, which provides livelihoods for over 6 billion people.

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