Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, says Jamaica is making progress in its quest towards becoming a leading maritime state.
He said this is occurring against the backdrop of “careful observation of international standards, [and] protection and preservation of the country’s natural environment”.
“We must ensure that shipping activities in our entire marine space and for our flagships sailing internationally are in compliance with the IMO’s international regulations for safety and security as well as the prevention of marine pollution, including air emissions by ships,” the Minister stated.
He was speaking during a recent virtual ceremony to launch Jamaica’s bid for a seat on the IMO’s 40-member Council.
Mr. Montague said the IMO’s application of global standards through robust treaties and regulations has set the bar for member countries to follow.
He noted that these treaties and regulations, which have led to international trade being largely uninterrupted, have been adopted and effectively implemented by states, including Jamaica.
“The resilience of international shipping has, again, proven that the application of robust uniform rules and standards will guarantee uninterrupted vital trade for our lives and livelihood, in spite of this new challenge faced over the past 15 months,” he said.
The Minister added that the import and export trade has been guaranteed because ships have kept sailing, even while there have been major welfare problems with crewing.
“Our plans to position Jamaica as a viable shipping centre, a subset of the Logistics Hub, will continue in spite of the obvious economic shocks of the [coronavirus] COVID-19 pandemic. This has the potential to attract more shipping and allied services, and to be a driver of economic development,” Mr. Montague said.
He pointed out that Jamaica is also active in the global fight against climate change in several fora, including at the IMO.
This, Mr. Montague noted, is in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13, which calls for urgent action to be taken towards combatting climate change and its impacts.
He also highlighted Jamaica’s participation in the historic IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting in 2018, which adopted the Organization’s Initial Strategy on Reduction of GHG (greenhouse gas) Emissions from ships.
“We comply through our agency, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), which implements and enforces the provisions of the Shipping Act. This piece of modern legislation preserves the IMO’s international maritime conventions, to which Jamaica is party,” the Minister stated.
He added that as a Flag State (country where a commercial ship is licensed or registered) with a respected ship registry that registers ships all over the world, it is incumbent on the country to ensure that the Jamaican fleet is effectively monitored for the observance of international rules and standards.
Jamaica also hosts the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, a forum which involves collaboration and coordination among CARICOM and other regional states towards fulfilling the uniform IMO Port State control inspection requirements for the region.