Director of Legal Affairs at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, Bertrand Smith, has said that Jamaica will need to implement the necessary legal and administrative framework to ensure that its ships comply with the International Maritime Organizations (IMO) standards on sulphur and other greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank, Tuesday(September 15), to highlight activities of Maritime Awareness Week, September 20-25, Mr. Smith stressed that as a coastal state with 95% of its trade coming in by sea, climate change will definitely pose a challenge for Jamaica’s maritime industry.
He also highlighted that while ships account for only 2.7% of the total global emissions, the IMO has been taking steps to further reduce the CO2 and other harmful emissions from ships. Jamaica, he noted, is also obligated to implement these measures.
“As a coastal state, we encourage more ships to call at our ports. However, with more ships, we will be encouraging more greenhouse gases to be emitted in our area,” he stated.
Former Head of the Climate Studies Group in the Department of Physics, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Anthony Chen, speaking on Greenhouse Gases and the impact of Climate Change on the maritime industry, during a JIS Think Tank session Tuesday (September 15) at the JIS, Half Way Tree Road, Kingston.
“We therefore have an obligation to ensure that we put in mechanisms, if possible, to reduce the risk of an increase in CO2 and other gases emitted by ships which call at our ports,” he added.
Jamaica ratified the 1997 protocol to the MARPOL convention, which deals with the regulation of air pollution in 2007.
“What this protocol does is it ensures that bunkers that the ships use, have no more than 4.5% of sulphur content,” he explained.
The Maritime Authority of Jamaica is now in discussions with bunker supply companies and Petrojam Limited, to ensure that the fuel that the companies supply to the ships meets the standard.
This protocol, Mr. Smith said, also allows countries to establish sulphur emission areas, whereby ships that go to these particular areas have to use fuel with 1.5% sulphur content.
“This ensures that the ship’s emissions do not contribute to climate change,” he said.
Mr. Smith pointed out that while Jamaica has some challenges in instituting some of the IMO’s requirements for reducing climate change, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica remains committed to protecting the marine environment, while conducting its operations.
Former Head of the Climate Studies Group in the Department of Physics, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Professor Anthony Chen, underscored the possibly debilitating effects that climate change may have on Jamaica.
“If the sea rises by two metres, it will threaten our ports. It will certainly threaten the airport. We need to make sure that the temperatures don’t get to the dangerous levels,” he warned.
Maritime Awareness Week will be celebrated under the theme, “Climate Change; A challenge for Jamaica too!”
The week’s activities will begin with a service at The Church of St Margaret, Old Hope Road, Liguanea, at 8:15 am. A three-day exhibition on Jamaica’s maritime industry will be on at the maritime institute, September 21-23.
Two “Lunch and Learn” panel discussions are scheduled for Kingston and Montego Bay, September 24 and 25, respectively. These discussions will be held at the Shipping Association of Jamaica, Fourth Avenue, Newport West, Kingston and at The Pelican, Gloucester Avenue, Montego Bay. The Public is invited to all the activities.