Environmental security highlighted as Jamaica celebrates World Maritime Day
JAMAICA JOINED the global shipping and logistics industry in its celebration of World Maritime Day, and the emphasis on environmental security, last Thursday, September 28.
The day was recognised under the theme ‘MARPOL at 50 – Our commitment goes on’, highlighting the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) that covers the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.
It also reflects the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping through a strong regulatory framework and its emphasis on the ongoing commitment to this work.
The day, which forms part of the shipping industry’s week-long Maritime Awareness Week, is observed annually on the last Thursday in September to recognise the work of employees in the international maritime community.
The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), which led the local charge, coordinated an illumination ceremony for its office building, an initiative of the IMO, which began in 2021, to light up relevant building and monuments in blue as part of celebrations on the day.
The event was chaired by Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester, the MAJ’s board chair, with remarks from Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport Daryl Vaz and the MAJ’s Director General Rear Admiral (ret’d) Peter Brady.
Vaz, in his address, said, “The Government of Jamaica, through the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, has embraced innovation and implemented technologies and fostered international cooperation to tackle the challenges we are facing with climate change and environmental conditions, by establishing policies and laws that protect the marine environment.
“Our seas continue to face threats from pollution, overfishing, introduction of invasive species and, again, the impacts of a rapidly changing climate. Tonight, as we stand here, there is more work to be done, and Jamaica remains committed to enhancing sustainable shipping, protecting the marine environment, and establishing policies and laws that will protect the marine environment,” he continued, adding that the day signals a “call to action”.
“It reminds us that we must forge ahead with renewed determination and innovation in protecting the industry. It calls upon us as a nation to redouble our efforts to create a maritime industry that is not only economically viable, but also ecologically responsible.”
He noted that Jamaica’s membership on the IMO Council is integral to its efforts to support the interests of CARICOM member states and those of small island developing states and least developing countries.
Jamaica launched its campaign for re-election to Category C of the IMO Council for the 2024-24 biennium in December 2022. Elections will be held during the IMO Assembly in London, United Kingdom, next month.
As part of its activities, the MAJ also addressed students at the Caribbean Maritime University on Tuesday, September 26. The engagement included a historic recap of MARPOL and its relation to the role crew members play in protecting the marine environment by ensuring regulations are followed, marine education and training, and port state control.