JIS News

September 20-25 will see Jamaica’s maritime community once again celebrating Maritime Awareness Week. This period marks an important calendar event as it affords the maritime industry an opportunity to articulate and show some of what it does, while also allowing for reflection and rededication to the many tasks that face us, such as contributing to the reduction of the levels of Green House Gasses (GHG) in the atmosphere. This year’s focus and theme relates to climate change as spearheaded by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The Marine Environment and Protection Committee (MEPC) of the IMO has been dedicating much time and effort at identifying technological, operational and market-based solutions to reduce ship emissions and its contribution to GHG. The actual theme “Climate Change: a challenge for IMO too” was chosen not only to bring awareness to the work of the IMO, but also to galvanize support among all it constituents and other stakeholders in general, from other UN agencies to what its staff members do at home. This is particularly important as curtailing climate change is everyone’s responsibility as the effects do not discriminate against regions since we are all inter-connected globally.
Locally, we will be focusing on our adapted theme “Climate Change: a challenge for Jamaica Maritime too.” Jamaica is a Flag, Port and Coastal State with a vibrant transshipment hub, a premier cruise ship destination, having a bunkering station, runs an international and local ship registry and caters to a large fishing and watersports industry, among other things. Through the Government’s 20/30 vision and the Transport Ministry’s thrust, there are plans to strengthen and diversify the country’s maritime development and it is therefore a welcome opportunity this week to highlight some of the challenges and solutions that we have devised in dealing with climate change.
A major milestone has been the ratification of the IMO’s marine pollution convention (MARPOL, 1973) and the Maritime Authority of Jamaica has been attending the MEPC meetings as one of the voices for small developing States. The marine pollution bill, which is in draft, incorporates the provisions of MARPOL and is in the final stages of development and we anticipate its passage into law in the near future.
Climate change has become one of the major challenges of this era and mankind’s dedication to curtailing further negative impacts is the only way to address the problem. We hope that the information and awareness gained from this week of activities will contribute towards making our actions more environmentally friendly.

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