JIS News

Director General of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Rear Admiral Peter Brady, has said that more Jamaicans need to know about maritime affairs, including the roles and responsibilities of the government’s maritime institutions.
Speaking on (Sept. 25), at the official launch of the Maritime Awareness Week exhibition at the Tom Redcam Library in Kingston, he said that maritime affairs were ‘alien’ to many Jamaicans, hence the attitude of indifference taken to critical issues having to do with marine pollution.
He noted that with Jamaica’s economy so heavily dependent on shipping, “we cannot continue to turn our backs on the sea as an island state, as a maritime state. The sea gives us bounty. We have to protect it.” Mr. Brady pointed out that over 90 per cent of the island’s trade took place by sea.
“Cruise shipping is a winner for us; many families depend on fishing directly and indirectly, through exports of fish products; the potential for offshore oil and gas is an open secret in this country, and tourism in this country is buoyant largely because of marine attractions,” the Director General added.
He explained that the exhibition was the community’s way of breaking through the ignorance about the marine sector. “Having an exhibition at the parish library allows the sector a chance to sensitize and educate the general public on all the things that we do, about the types of environmental challenges being faced by the maritime sector and how we are responding to these challenges,” he said. The Director General said the exhibition was the combined effort of the state’s maritime entities – the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), the Port Authority of Jamaica, Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), the JDF Coast Guard, which is the enforcement team for marine pollution regulations, and the National Environmental and Planning Agency – to inform about their roles.
“These organizations work tirelessly to frame the basis for legislation to Parliament; to regulate maritime safety and maritime security; to preserve the marine environment and to keep our shipping industry viable, and the provision of quality labour, which is educated and trained to the highest international standards by the Caribbean Maritime Institute, to work the ports efficiently, and also to provide capable seafarers for jobs on ships,” he said. He noted that the exhibition would clarify and edify the public on maritime affairs, such as maritime conventions and other jargon. “While we in the maritime community know what is meant by the IMO, many Jamaicans don’t know that it is really an abbreviation for the International Maritime Organisation, a specialized United Nations agency that concerns itself with regulating shipping safety worldwide, and producing a number of international maritime rules, such as MARPOL, the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships, such as ballast water,” the Director General said.
He said there was no better place than the library to reach out to the public that did not generally come in contact with maritime affairs. He is encouraging children and adults to use their lunch hour to “pop in and have a look at what we are showing” as a means of acquiring knowledge about the community.
“Learn about critical issues on marine pollution at the local, global and community level,” he encouraged. The exhibition ends on Thursday, September 27, which will also be observed as Maritime Awareness Day.

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