JIS News

The Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) is seeking to develop a waste treatment facility for the Kingston Harbour, which will treat oil waste from ships.The facility, as proposed, will be the first of the kind in the Caribbean and will position Jamaica’s shipping industry more competitively.
Communications Officer for the SAJ, Sydney Lowrie, who spoke to JIS News at the launch of the Maritime Awareness Week Exhibition at the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Library on Tuesday (Sept. 25), said that the treatment facility “would make our port facilities more competitive, because ships would now have a place in the Caribbean where their used engine oil can then be taken out of the ship, taken to this facility, go through a process that can make it re-useable”.
He informed that a feasibility study on the project, which was commissioned in the 1990s, has been done, “and we’re lobbying for the project to get started with the support of all the partners involved in the maritime industry.”
Mr. Lowrie said that a meeting is being sought with Minister of Transport and Works, Mike Henry to discuss among other things, the proposals from the study. “His office has not given us the exact day and time, but when we do, that will be one of the items on the agenda,” he told JIS News, noting that it is too early to say when this facility will come to fruition.
Minister Henry, in his remarks at the launch, indicated that funding and legislation would be critical steps toward establishing the proposed facility.
In the meantime, Managing Committee member of the SAJ, Joseph Lowe, noted that the theme for Maritime Awareness Week: ‘Jamaica’s Maritime Industry: responding to environmental challenges’, “underscores the direction in which our local industry must proceed for sustainable growth and development, but it also vindicates the initiative of the SAJ in commissioning the first feasibility for the development of a ship-generated waste treatment facility for Kingston Harbour.”
He credited the SAJ for leading other initiatives, which he said, were aimed “at sensitizing our people on how the sea serves mankind and why we must protect its fragile eco-system.”
He informed that in 1994, the SAJ mounted a campaign to assist in the restoration of Kingston Harbour and established an environmental committee to recommend solutions. Later, a publication was proposed as another way to spread the message to stop activities that are polluting the marine environment.
“The Association had come to the position that although the shipping industry was only a small part of the problem, we could, with positive action, be a major part of the solution. It is out of the recommendations of the SAJ environmental committee, that the publication ‘Save our Seas’ was published by the SAJ,” Mr. Lowe said.
He noted that as the Association recognizes the need to protect the environment, even as the maritime industry undergoes modernization, and is proud of the fact that Jamaica is a signatory to the International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 76/78).
He added that the SAJ, which lobbies on behalf of stakeholders in the maritime industry, will continue working with its maritime partners “so that Jamaicans will come to enjoy the benefits of a healthy marine environment”.
Maritime Awareness Week was developed around World Maritime Day, which is an annual observance of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The IMO, of which Jamaica is a member, sets the general theme of World Maritime Day and member states may modify it to suit their local situation.

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