Maritime Authority Maintaining High Standards


The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) has been operating in compliance with all the major International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Conventions, including the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention, as it continues to play a significant role in ensuring that the local maritime industry is safe, secure, and efficient. Institutionalised by the Shipping Act of 1998, the MAJ is the implementing body for the conventions of the United Nation’s Specialized Agency for International Shipping, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), to which Jamaica is a member state. Chairman of the IMO’s sub-committee on Standards of Training and Watchkeeping (STW), Rear Admiral Peter Brady explains to JIS News that the STW is the legislative body for the International Convention on the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. The STW sub-committee makes the rules and regulations, establishes the guidelines and standards and guidelines for masters, chief engineers and officers (seafarers) globally. Jamaica is a signatory to the STCW Convention and is among a ‘white list’ of countries that have been recognised as meeting fully all the requirements of the Convention.
“Jamaica takes its maritime responsibility very seriously. We first of all recognize that shipping is an international business and therefore it is governed by international rules. What we have done is to make sure that we sign the international treaties, the international conventions that govern safety, security, pollution prevention, competency of seafarers, and implement them,” Rear Admiral Brady who is also the Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, informs.
As a member state of the IMO, Jamaica has benefited from the IMO’s Technical Cooperation Programmes. The MAJ has also hosted many IMO regional training programmes. These programmes have resulted in the creation of skilled personnel trained in maritime safety and security and marine pollution prevention.
In addition, the MAJ has assisted other Caribbean countries in matters such as the establishment of maritime administrations, training, and port state control activities. Under the STCW Convention the Maritime Authority of Jamaica has ‘academic oversight’ for the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), the only International Maritime Organisation recognized institute of its kind in the English speaking Caribbean. The institution offers tertiary training in maritime education and training. To date approximately 2,500 Jamaican certificated seafarers including some 750 officers have been trained at the institution since its inception in 1980. “The Caribbean Maritime Institute trains seafarers, and the MAJ ensures that that training is consistent with the international rules for standardization of training under the STCW Convention,” he elaborates.
“The MAJ also examines the Jamaican and CARICOM candidates from the CMI and issue the certificates to the successful seafarers. Thus in addition to regulating the certification of Jamaican seafarers under the Shipping Act, we are the only IMO accredited body in CARICOM authorized to issue certificates of competency to seafarers,” he adds. Rear Admiral Brady explains that in addition, the Authority also endorses certificates of foreign nationals who work as crew on all Jamaican flagged vessels which trade globally. This is done with member states of the IMO with whom they have a reciprocal agreement consistent with the provisions of the STCW Convention. As part of its mandate, the MAJ has the responsibility of pursuing the development of shipping and to regulate all issue relating to merchant shipping and seafarers. “We administer the registration of ships, the Shipping Act gives us the authority to register international ships wherever they may be in the world and at any time of the day or night we carry out this function, taking into account time zone differences across the globe,” the Director General informs. In addition, the MAJ also regulates the construction and navigation of ships to ensure that they are safe and are in compliance with international rules and regulations. “In terms of the construction of ships, The MAJ has in-house trained surveyors and inspectors, who whenever any ship is regulated by us in our registry.we have to make sure that those ships are properly built according to the standards that are laid down,” he explains.
“We also regulate navigation within Jamaica’s legally recognized maritime space which means that vessels that ply Jamaican waters have to observe the basic rules of the collision regulations but also the requirements for safety, security and pollution prevention. In addition we have a responsibility to ensure that our flag ships navigating worldwide are doing so with competent officers to ensure safe navigation,” he informs. According to the Director General, another function of the institution is to administer the policy for development of shipping. “All the kind of services that is provided for ships, and we have to make sure that they are of the highest possible standard,” he notes.
The MAJ also inspects ships and other vessels for the purpose of maritime safety and prevention of pollution as well as for maritime security, which is a new requirement under the IMO. “What we require is that all foreign ships visiting Jamaica’s ports are in compliance with the international rules for safety, pollution prevention and maritime security. We do this through our Port State Control regime. Our surveyors and our inspectors are Port State Control officers. They go on board foreign ships that visit Jamaican waters and make sure that these ships are in compliance with these standards,’ he explains. He adds that “if they are not in compliance with these regulations then we may detain them until they rectify the deficiencies and can bring them into compliance. We do this from time to time”. As the Caribbean’s leading maritime administration, the MAJ intends to continue to fulfill its mandate and to provide an environmentally safe and secure shipping environment.
“Shipping is an international business and we take our maritime responsibilities very seriously. Shipping is governed by international rules and regulations. We really have a mission to continue our contribution, along with other Government and private sector entities, to the development of our shipping industry and that it maintains the highest standards,” Rear Admiral Brady states.

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