Jamaica has maintained its position at the heart of international maritime rule-making following its re-election to the International Maritime Organization’s Council.
Jamaica is a Category C Council member and will serve until 2013. The Maritime Authority of Jamaica’s Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, chairs the IMO’s Standards of Training and Watchkeeping ( STW ) sub-committee.
Speaking at the IMO’s 27th Assembly meeting in London this week, Jamaica ’s High Commissioner Mr Anthony Johnson said: “ Jamaica ’s recognition and support for the IMO starts from the very seat of the Jamaican Government, to its institutions and agencies which implement the international instruments adopted by this Organization.
Jamaica, a member of the IMO Council since 1976, is fully committed to its role. The Hon Michael Henry, Minister of Transport and Works, told the Assembly: “Jamaica believes its role in the Council is critical to ensuring the interests of member States of the Caribbean Community as well as other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCS) continue to be adequately represented within the IMO.
He outlined the importance of Jamaica ’s maritime sector saying: “ Jamaica considers the development and growth of our maritime sector as a major feature of our 2030 Development Plan to grow the economy while providing employment through a range of professional services.”
Highlighting Jamaica’s substantial investments in world-class ports in cruise and transhipment, its role as a world leading cruise destination with ports able to handle the Genesis class vessels, and the importance of its maritime training institute which is the only IMO accredited English speaking officer training institution in the region, Mr Henry said: “The potential to develop as a ‘shipping centre’ is now being realized and actively supported at the highest policy levels. This all fits into the national transportation policy to integrate all aspects of transportation within the multi-modal concept.”
As a Council member Jamaica has vowed to continue its work in support of the IMO which has included:
·Providing leadership through technical assistance to CARICOM in training and capacity building, complementing and augmenting the work of the Regional Maritime Adviser (RMA) through the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme;
·Assisting CARICOM States to strengthen their national Administrations and hosting of the Secretariat of the Caribbean Port State Control.
•As a Regional partner, providing host-ship facilities for numerous IMO seminars and workshops including a Regional Seminar on Manila Amendments to the STCW Convention and Code and a workshop on Annex V of the MARPOL Convention.
•Providing experts to deliver training at a number of Regional Workshops outside of Jamaica .
•As a lead partnering country (LPC) under the Globallast Partnership Initiative, conducting several Regional Seminars relating to the Ballast Water Convention. Currently Jamaica chairs the Regional Task Force on Ballast Water Management and has provided assistance to other Caribbean States through the sharing of experiences in carrying out our obligations in Port State Control and in establishing the appropriate policies.
•Ratification of all major conventions governing maritime safety, security and pollution prevention.
•As a port State , Jamaica has joined forces with its Caribbean partners to eliminate sub-standard shipping in the region through active participation in the work of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (CMOU).
•Jamaica has already undergone a voluntary assessment under the VIMSAS audit regime.
Mr Henry said: “Over recent years Jamaica has developed its maritime infrastructure which comprises container, cruise and bulk cargo ports. Jamaica is a major container transshipment hub in the region accommodating more than 3, 500 vessel calls annually and with its port expansion plans, Jamaica will be a key international hub in the post Panama canal era. Our large investments in port infrastructure complements my Government’s plans for enhanced logistics and distribution centres embracing the land, sea and aviation sectors, a truly multi-modal thrust.
Rear Admiral Peter Brady said: “I am delighted that Jamaica has retained its Council seat and thank everyone who supported us. This is an exciting time for Jamaica as we develop as a regional shipping centre and enhance our capability within the maritime sector.”