CARIBMEPA officially launched at CSA
Two major steps in regional efforts to protect the Caribbean’s marine environment were taken on the first day of the Caribbean Shipping Association’s (CSA) Caribbean Shipping Executives’ Conference (CSEC), held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel from May 20-21. The first was the official launch of the Caribbean Marine Environment Protection Agency (CARIBMEPA) and the second, the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between CSA and CARIBMEPA.
Juan Carlos Croston, president of the CSA, said that, “In signing the MOU with CARIBMEPA, the CSA is joining the framework of CARIBMEPA and giving support to the activities and the movement to protect the Caribbean Sea”.
CARIBMEPA will act as a consolidator for marine environment issues and actions in the Caribbean; be an umbrella organisation for engaging industry, regulators, governments, conservation groups, educators and others in protecting the marine environment; act as a focal point for facilitating the implementation of MARPOL in the Caribbean; and educate the public about protecting the marine environment.
Carleen Lyden Walker, co-founder and executive director of the North America Marine Environment Protection Agency (NAMEPA), congratulated the CSA for placing marine environment protection as an item of top priority for the 18th meeting of CSEC. She said that CARIBMEPA will join NAMEPA in promoting and assisting the implementation of MARPOL, which is the main International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. MARPOL has been mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which is a United Nations specialised agency that promotes safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping through cooperation.
Rawle Badaloo, a past president of the CSA, is co-leader of CARIBMEPA and the CSA’s representative. Currently, CARIBMEPA is an ‘association of associations’, including NAMEPA, OAS-CIP, American Salvage Association, RAC/REMPEITC, CSA, Cruise Line International Association, MTTC Caribbean, Port Management Association of the Caribbean, Caribbean Maritime University, Central American Commission of Maritime Transport, and Women in Maritime Association – Caribbean.
Earlier on during the first day of the CSEC meeting, Prime Minister Andrew Holness had given his and the Government of Jamaica’s support for harnessing the blue economy for the sustainable development of the environment. Walker, who is also an IMO maritime ambassador, said that she was heartened by the prime minister’s remarks and expressed her hope that all government leaders will follow his example because, while 86 per cent of the nations in the wider Caribbean Region had ratified MARPOL, only 24 per cent have implemented it, leaving the region vulnerable to marine pollution.
The signing of this MOU and the launch of CARIBMEPA are certainly steps in the right direction for a region so dependent upon the marine environment for food, trade, tourism and recreation.
The CSEC is the first of two conferences hosted by the CSA annually. The CSA is the voice of the Caribbean shipping industry and was established in 1971 to facilitate the development of an efficient, viable Caribbean shipping industry. Conferences hosted by the CSA provide forum in which matters relevant to the growth and development of Caribbean shipping are discussed.