On this World Maritime Day, organised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), under the theme: "Seafarers: at the core of shipping’s future" I laud the professionalism, commitment and resilience of seafarers, male and female – both Jamaicans and other nationalities.
Indeed the pandemic has placed additional demands on seafarers and we owe thanks to these dedicated men and women who have spent long months at sea and away from their families to ensure world trade continues to flow, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic. Even at this stage of technological advancements, ships still have to be operated by human beings, seafarers whose dedication, commitment and professionalism help to keep us supplied with our human needs.
The Government of Jamaica has demonstrated its commitment to the welfare of seafarers by passing an amendment to the Shipping Act in 2020 to incorporate the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), known as the “Bill of Rights for Seafarers”. The legislation also extended the protections provided to seafarers involved in the operation of ships to members of the crew who work in the hospitality division.
Jamaica is also proud to say that we were among the first set of IMO Member States to recognize the seafarers as key workers, who we have designated in law as “essential workers “.
Our Port State Control Officers at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica go on board foreign flagged ships that call at our ports, and in addition to checking for compliance with the safety, security and environmental international instruments, they ensure that the provisions of the MLC are being strictly observed on board those vessels.
Jamaica has also worked with the Caribbean Maritime University to provide appropriate globally accepted IMO, training standards and qualifications to enable our seafaring workforce to perform successfully in their careers at sea. Many of our seafarers serve with reputable shipping lines on all types of ships from LNG tankers to containers ships, bulk carriers and now even in cruise ships.
The Government, through the Maritime Authority of Jamaica continues to work proactively with the IMO and the ILO rules, to put in place the necessary regulations and mechanisms to operate a safe and successful shipping industry, not only to preserve and protect our fragile marine environment but also to provide for the welfare and safety of our seafarers.
The Government of Jamaica salutes our hard working seafarers on World Maritime Day 2021. You have made us proud.