Jamaica has taken the first step towards becoming a maritime hub after launching a bid to be elected to Category ‘C’ with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council on February 2, 2017.
Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness welcomed the launch as a way of strengthening the economy. It was attended by members of the diplomatic and consular corporation, senior public officials and members of the shipping industry.
The election presents the country with an opportunity to attract more shipping and allied services, allowing it to further support employment, imports of goods and realise its aim of becoming the fourth node in the global logistics chain.
Jamaica has shown commitment to improving the maritime sector through its role as host of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) on Port State Control.
The forum is collaboration between CARICOM, a grouping of twenty countries from the Caribbean community, and other States in the Caribbean, that are carrying out inspections to prevent sub-standard ships in the region.
Holness (pictured) said: “Jamaica is heavily dependent on the sector for much of our supply of consumer goods, energy, rolling stock, including vital transportation requirements, raw materials for our factories, and for the export of our products to overseas markets.
“Additionally, the country boasts a remarkable maritime infrastructure built around the Maritime Authority of Jamaica. We are the location of the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI) which is on the cusp of becoming the only Maritime University in the Caribbean region. The country has one of the top ranked container transhipment facilities in the region handling general cargo, break bulk and container, bauxite/alumina and gypsum.”
The IMO Assembly elected the following States to be Members of its Council for the 2016-2017 biennium:
Category (a) 10 States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services:
China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.
Category (b) 10 States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade:
Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden.
Category (c) 20 States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world:
Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey.
Jamaica’s Minister of Transport and Mining The Honourable L. Michael Henry CD MP said: “I am very pleased to be associated with yet another event which is designed to showcase Jamaica in a positive light. We consider our bid to be elected to Category ‘C’ of the IMO as a strategic move in order to raise our maritime profile in this governing body.
“Jamaica when viewed through the lens of the international maritime community and especially by virtue of our signatory status of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – we are responsible for discharging three types of jurisdiction under the maritime treaties to which we are a party.
“Firstly, we are a Coastal State, a reality which means that Jamaica’s maritime space is about 20 times that of our land space. Secondly, we are a Flag State, which means that we have a Ship Registry that registers ships all over the world. Thirdly, we are a Port State – meaning that we have the right through the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, to inspect foreign flagged vessels.”