JIS News

On Thursday, September 30, the Jamaica maritime fraternity will observe World Maritime Day. The main objective of this year’s celebrations is to ensure greater sensitisation and understanding of maritime matters, Carolyn Graham, Research Analyst at the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), told JIS News in an interview.
World Maritime Day is designed to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety and the marine environment, and to emphasise a particular aspect of the work of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
This year’s theme is, ‘Jamaica 2004 – Focus on maritime security’.
Over the last 30 years the IMO and individual maritime associations have had to contend with not only the natural perils characteristic of the open seas, but also the increased incidence of man-made threats of crime and violence, along with the scourge of international terrorism.
The events of September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the United States, gave an unprecedented impetus to the IMO’s concern about unlawful acts, which threaten the safety and well being of ships, their passengers and crews. In the wake of September 11, it was evident that new, more stringent and comprehensive measures were necessary within the shipping industry, to address the issue of maritime security.
In 2002, the IMO Conference adopted a series of wide-ranging new security measures and 11 associated resolutions, which represented the culmination of intense and detailed work by the IMO, including the International Ship and Port Security (ISPS) Code, which came into effect on July 1, 2004.
“We just had the ISPS implementation deadline, which was July 1, and some people are still not aware, or not too sure of what it is about, so this World Maritime Day is going to be more media-focused to sensitise persons, to put more information out on the ISPS Code,” Miss Graham said.
She explained that many of the issues and new security measures would have a direct impact on the Jamaican public, but little was known about many of them.
To this end, the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Coast Guard, the Marine Police, and the Ministry of Transport and Works would work together to ensure that members of the general public were adequately informed on all issues pertaining to the maritime industry and maritime security, especially in terms of how they would be affected, Miss Graham pointed out.
Some of the activities planned as part of this year’s celebrations include the publication of a newspaper supplement; an outside broadcast on World Maritime Day; and sundry other media-related informative exercises.
The CMI’s graduation, which is traditionally held on World Maritime Day, has been postponed in the wake of Hurricane Ivan.
Every year the IMO celebrates World Maritime Day. The exact date for the celebration is left to individual member countries and associate members, but is usually celebrated during the last week in September.

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