Colombia’s Minister of National Defense: Guillermo Botero Nieto, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and Colombia’s Ambassador to South Africa Carlos Andres Barahona Nino. Mbalula received the flag as an official handover to South Africa for the next World Maritime Day 2020. Picture: Supplied.

Durban - South Africa's growing maritime industry will be on showcase to the rest of the world next year after Durban was officially named as the host for the International Maritime Organization’s World Maritime Day 2020 conference.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula received the hosting flag from his counterparts on Tuesday in Cartagena in the Republic of Colombia who hosted this year's event.

Mbalula  who attended the prestigious ceremony in the South America city received and welcomed the flag, handed over by the Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez. 

Mbalula addressing the delegates at the event he said: “South Africa is pleased to announce that the 2020 World Maritime Day Parallel Event will be hosted in the beautiful city of Durban in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. We will be grateful if you could spare your time and attend the event which will be hosted in the African soil. We assure you that you will have a great time to enjoy our landscape, the mountains and the rivers, clear skies and hospitality of our people".

World Maritime Day is an annual event attended by hundreds of officials from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member States, the United Nations (UN) Specialized Agencies, various intergovernmental organizations as well as non-governmental organizations. 

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula Welcomes the flag and addresses the delegates at the World Maritimes Day in Cartagena, Republic of Colombia. Video: Supplied.

The event is held to discuss a strategy to promote global partnership as well as regional cooperation on maritime issues.

IMO is the United Nations specialized agency, whose chief objective is to set international standards for safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping.

Prasheen Maharaj CEO of the Durban based Southern African Shipyards (SAS) said the maritime industry in South Africa was excited to be host delegates from around the world.

Marcina Majid, Southern African Shipyards shareholder the Deputy Minister of Transport Dikeledi Magadzi and CEO Prasheen Maharaj at a recent "Women in Maritime" dialogue at SAS'. Picture: Supplied

“We welcome the news of the handover of the official flag from IMO as the host of World Maritime Day Conference 2020. We are especially proud that the host city is Durban where we are based. This will certainly position Durban and South Africa on the global map as a Maritime destination. This will create great momentum for Operation Phakisa and assist in unlocking the full potential of the ocean economy for the benefit of our people. Southern African Shipyards will be one of the proud sponsors and participants in the prestigious global event," he said.

Also the founder of the nonprofit organisation SAS CARES and the a shareholder at SAS, Marcina Majid said the event will be a perfect platform to showcase the work and strides they are making in the industry to uplift our workers and community.

 “It's also a chance for us to partner with like minded NPO's and NGO's and well as benevolent companies globally who see this as an opportunity to give back to our country," she said.