GOLDEN ANCHOR AWARD TO EFTHIMIOS E. MITROPOULOS
The 3rd Annual Golden Anchor Turkish Shipping Awards Ceremony which is organized by Maritime News Agency (www.denizhaber.com.tr www.turkishmaritime.com.tr ) and Dunya Journal was held on Friday, Jun 27, 2008 in Istanbul Rahmi Koc Museum.
Mr. Efthimios E.Mitropoulos Secretary General IMO, has been awarded the ?Life Time Achievement Award? by the Organization Committee of Golden Anchor in consideration of his support for organizing 82nd Maritime Safety Committee meeting in Istanbul.
Mr. Mitropoulos said in his speech ?I feel like I won Oscar and this award is not given only to me but it is also given all my colleague ? after he get his award from Mr. Binali Y?ld?r?m, Minister of Transportation of Turkey.
Mr. Mitropoulos also mentioned as addition to the other speakers concerning succes of Turkish National Football Team in the European Championship that, ?while we used to say ?they played like heros- for the Turkish foofball player so far, we say hereafter ?legend foootball players play like Turks?.
The speech of Mr. Efthimios E. Mitropoulos, as below;
"Minister, Undersecretaries, Excellencies, Admirals, Heads and representatives of international organizations, Mr. Karamitsos, President of the Assembly and Chairman of the Turkish Chamber of Shipping, distinguished representatives of the maritime community of Turkey, Chairman of the Turkish Maritime News, Deputy Chairman of Dünya Gazetesi, media representatives, ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honour and a pleasure to be here, once again, in this wonderful city that holds so many good memories for me personally.
I have been fortunate enough to visit Istanbul on several occasions, most recently in December 2006, following the generous offer of the Government of Turkey, which IMO was very happy to accept, to host the 82nd session of our Maritime Safety Committee here, while IMO"s own Headquarters was undergoing refurbishment. That meeting, the first for the Committee to be held in another country, was a great success and all those who attended left with a deep and lasting impression of the legendary Turkish hospitality, which was so generously bestowed and enjoyed with enthusiasm. Allow me, therefore, to reiterate our gratitude to our hosts, the Government of Turkey and, in particular, the Ministry of Transport and who also included the Turkish Chamber of Shipping and other entities of the national maritime sector. Minister Yildirim, a Governor of the WMU, a graduate himself, is a great friend and supporter of IMO and his presence here this evening gives me immense pleasure ? as did his presence at IMO to address our Assembly.
I am genuinely delighted to be ?on the receiving end? of Turkish hospitality once again and I would like to thank, in particular, the co-organizers of this event, the Turkish Maritime News and Dünya Gazetesi.
There is, of course, a serious point to this evening"s festivities: we are here to recognize and to honour those who have achieved excellence in their chosen career of shipping. It is always my pleasure to endorse and support awards schemes such as this, for several reasons:
? first, those who have achieved high standards deserve to have their hard work, contribution to shipping and success recognized and rewarded, both for their own sake and for the example they set to others;
? second, because IMO always champions the cause of quality in shipping, and the recipients of this evening"s awards have done more than most to bring about quality, which is greatly to the benefit of the industry as a whole; and
? third, because rewarding high achievers gives us an excellent opportunity to promote a positive image of shipping and to raise its profile among a wider audience.
The most effective way to improve the public"s perception of our industry is by improving what lies behind the image. Tonight"s award winners have all done their part to raise quality throughout the Turkish maritime sector ? their achievements, and those of the other nominees, contribute to IMO"s mission of safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans, and that is why I am so pleased to be associated with this event and to offer them my personal congratulations.
It is in this context that I think that shipping is ready for a new image, more representative of its present status and quality, and that the time is right for us to pursue it vigorously. The efforts of Governments and industry alike, wisely guided by IMO over the last half century, have borne fruit to the extent that, nowadays, international shipping not only offers a better quality of service, but can also point to long-term trends showing reductions in accidents at sea and in marine and atmospheric pollution.
All of which suggests that the poor image from which shipping has suffered in the past is, even belatedly, ready for change. The pendulum should now start to swing steadily from the negative to the positive and quality personnel ? people like tonight"s winners ? are in the vanguard.
The maritime press has an instrumental role to play in the shaping of shipping"s new and positive image and I am delighted for the opportunity to thank and congratulate all journalists involved for their services to the maritime sector.
Within Turkey itself, the maritime sector has, for some time now, been developing rapidly. The country"s location at the crossroads of two continents and three seas has ensured a privileged place for Turkey among the globe"s major trading hubs. Today, it is an important destination for the world"s leading shipping lines and is a significant player ? not only in ship ownership and operation but also in related disciplines such as seafarer training, shipbuilding and repair, ship recycling, bunkering, chandlery, agency, brokerage, chartering, forwarding, stevedoring, pilotage, towage, salvage, surveying and port operations.
And Istanbul is remarkable not only for its beauty, history, culture and hospitality, but also for the maritime safety and marine environmental protection measures that have been established in the Strait of Istanbul, the Strait of Çanakkale and the Marmara Sea. The density of traffic; the narrowness and configuration of the channels; the strong currents; and the occasionally reduced visibility, all combine to make navigation through these waters extremely hazardous ? a task, which is exacerbated by the unquestionable need to protect this highly populated city; and to preserve, in pristine condition, the marine environment throughout the extensive stretch of water that extends from the Aegean to the Black Sea.
IMO has assisted, through the adoption of traffic separation schemes and other routeing measures and mandatory ship reporting systems, in the establishment of a sound infrastructure that aims at ensuring the uninterrupted flow of traffic and the prevention of environmental risks throughout the area. The installation, by the Turkish Government, of a modern vessel traffic service to monitor and assist ships" navigation from the Aegean to the Black Seas, and vice versa, has substantially contributed to the improvement of the overall situation, for which Minister Yildirim and his Department are to be highly commended. And I was delighted to hear him announcing to me, this very morning, the coverage of the Marmara Sea with a chain of VTS stations, thus completing the monitoring of shipping traffic from the Aegean Sea, through the Straits and the Marmara Sea, to the Black Sea and vice versa. This means that a total of 204 miles of sea voyage will be kept under the watchful eyes of skilful VTS operators ready to provide assistance and advice to the through traffic and thus ensure safe and uneventful passage to the thousands of ships that make use of the waters the consolidated system covers. This is an achievement of enormous significance, both to safety and environmental protection that we and all those who benefit from the system, should acknowledge with appreciation and gratitude.
As a maritime country with a considerable tonnage under her flag, many ports and harbours to manage and benefit from and an extensive coastline to look after, Turkey plays an important role in the affairs of IMO ? not only as a Member of the Organization"s executive Council since 1999, but also in her triple capacity as a flag, port and coastal State. Turkey contributes significantly to our work on ship recycling matters and has a good record in search and rescue operations and environmental protection activities. The same can also be said as far as maritime training, human element and accident investigation issues are concerned. And last, but not least, Turkey hosts the Secretariat of the Black Sea Memorandum of Understanding on port State control, and is also a Member of the equivalent Memorandum for the Mediterranean, collaborating closely with IMO in both capacities.
Another clear demonstration of Turkey"s genuine interest in the affairs of IMO was its participation in a series of special events, arranged in London last week, to commemorate several landmarks in the Organization"s history. This included a speech by Deputy Under Secretary Mr. Suat Hayri Aka, on behalf of Minister Yildirim, on how Turkey views the future of IMO, which was followed, exactly eight days ago, by a splendid reception hosted by the Government of Turkey, marking the end of our week-long celebrations.
All of which goes to demonstrate that the winners of the Golden Anchor Turkish Shipping Awards are drawn from a proud maritime tradition that runs long and deep. These Awards, the purpose of which, as we have said, is to reward and celebrate quality in several categories of the Turkish maritime industry, are timely and very much merited. My renewed congratulations go to the winners, indeed to all who were nominated. I hope very much that your achievements will be a spur to others and an incentive for many more to join our industry ? and feel proud of it.