Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, says several pieces of legislation will be enacted to ensure improved working conditions for ship workers and to decrease pollution of the country’s maritime space.
Among them is legislation to implement the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006), which is crucial for the hospitality section of the industry.
“This legislation will ensure that crew, including those in the hospitality division of cruise ships, will enjoy decent living and working conditions onboard ships, including the right to be repatriated when their contracts have been terminated,” he said.
Minister Montague was making his contribution to the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in Parliament on June 2.
He told the House that the Maritime Authority will be establishing a desk that will develop mechanisms to keep track of seafarers.
“The Bill has been finalised and should be brought to Cabinet shortly. The provisions of this Bill and the signing of the maritime treaty have given protection to Jamaican ship workers, especially in this pandemic,” he noted.
In addition, legislation to incorporate the MARPOL Convention, which addresses the prevention of pollution from ships by oil, garbage, noxious substances, sewage and air emissions, is in an advanced stage and is expected to be passed in Parliament this financial year.
Minister Montague said that the legislation, when passed, “will provide for very high fines for polluting our waters and will establish the regulatory framework for managing the growing bunkering sector”.
The Minister further told the House that the Government will be implementing a new model for the growth of the Jamaica Ship Registry (JSR).
He said that Cabinet has given approval for the process to engage a private investor partner for the operation, management and finance of the JSR, as well as to move to the transaction phase.
“This will see identification of an appropriate partner. It is expected that the PPP (public-private partnership) will be concluded in this fiscal year,” he said.
Minister Montague reported that Jamaica has met the January deadline for the 2020 International Maritime Organization (IMO) 0.5 per cent sulphur fuel cap, and that legislation is “far advanced” to regulate the bunkering industry.
He told the House that Jamaica was successfully re-elected to the IMO Council in December 2019 and was also re-elected to Chair the IMO’s III Sub-Committee in 2019, which deals with implementation of IMO instruments.