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Story Highlights

  • The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is working with other maritime administrations globally to maintain stability in the shipping industry as the world deals with the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • In an interview with JIS News, MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said shipping is very important to international trade and more so to Jamaica, as 93 per cent of Jamaica’s trade comes by sea.
  • He emphasised that the status quo has to be maintained in shipping because of its importance to the global supply chain and because countries like Jamaica are dependent on it.

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is working with other maritime administrations globally to maintain stability in the shipping industry as the world deals with the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

In an interview with JIS News, MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said shipping is very important to international trade and more so to Jamaica, as 93 per cent of Jamaica’s trade comes by sea.

He emphasised that the status quo has to be maintained in shipping because of its importance to the global supply chain and because countries like Jamaica are dependent on it.

“It is, therefore, very important that shipping, which is the most important plank in the global supply chain, should be able to operate as near to normal as possible,” the Director General said.

“Our mandate at the MAJ is to ensure that shipping takes place in Jamaica safely, securely and with due regard for the environment, while at the same time ensuring that the people who operate ships can do so efficiently and that they have the competence to do so,” he added.

Rear Admiral Brady pointed out, however, that this must be achieved within the context of the measures that the Government of Jamaica has put in place to contain the spread of the disease.

He said that the directives from the Government that require the scaling down of most activities are being adhered to within the offices of the MAJ.

The Director General noted that while activities connected with loading and unloading of ships would not be interrupted, these operations at the seaports will be done with strict adherence to government guidelines.

“While we are very clear that we will not be allowing passenger vessels to disembark passengers in Jamaica at this time, there are other needs that a ship has that require some interactions with people on the shore side, and these have to be handled carefully,” he said.

These, he noted, include the collection of supplies, removal of garbage, the execution of repairs and some of the requisite statutory and regulatory matters, such as certification and licensing of seafarers and crew changeovers.

The Director General said that under the current rules, crew changeovers may not be possible and that in response to this, maritime states around the world have put measures in place that are in line with the new guidelines to facilitate extension of crewing contracts and certification.

He pointed out that ship repair could determine the failure of a ship and be the difference between whether or not it is able to sail.

Rear Admiral Brady gave an assurance that the MAJ was working closely with all stakeholders under the prevailing circumstances to make the necessary adjustments to keep the shipping industry afloat while abiding by all regulations that have been implemented.

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