Safety at Sea

08 November 2023

The International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), administered by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is generally regarded as the most important of all treaties concerning the safety of ships. The first version was adopted in 1914, two years after the sinking of the Titanic.

The Arctic is warming more than twice as rapidly as the global average. Sea-ice loss is expected to lead to an increase in maritime traffic. Less ice does not mean less danger because there is a constant and often hidden threat. The consequences of a major accident in Arctic waters would be devastating for the environment. It is important to improve forecasts and warnings of both weather and ice conditions in Polar and marginal regions.

About 40% of the global population live within 100 km of the coast. WMO works to protect communities from coastal hazards, such as waves, storm surge and sea level rise, through improved Multi Hazard Early Warning Systems and impact-based forecasts.

The world’s highest significant wave height by ship observation was measured at 18.5 m (60.7 ft) in the North Atlantic on 8 February 2000. The world’s highest significant wave height by buoy was measured at 19.0 m (62.3 ft) in the North Atlantic on 4 February 2013. (WMO Global Weather & Climate Extremes Archive, Arizona State University).

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