Jamaica celebrates its role at the heart of maritime regulation as it launches its campaign for IMO re-election

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Jamaica underscored the importance of being at the heart of international maritime regulation by holding a reception in London to launch its campaign for re-election to Category C of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the 2024-25 biennium.

As the largest English-speaking island State in the Caribbean, Jamaica has a long history of involvement in maritime affairs and in shipping, which plays an integral role in the socio-economic development of the country.

Hosting the event, Mrs Corah Ann Robertson Sylvester (pictured), chair of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) said: “Jamaica’s continued membership in Category ‘C’ of the IMO Council will continue to improve our country’s capacity, and that of the Caribbean region, to contribute to major policy decisions, rule-making and the development of standards at international level.”

Mrs Robertson Sylvester outlined how Jamaica’s continuing membership on the Council will ensure the interests of the Member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as well as of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developing Countries (LDCs) continue to be adequately represented and defended within the IMO. “Climate change is of great concern for every State, and SIDs and LDCs suffer its impacts disproportionately. Jamaica supports the IMO and the global efforts to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. We are involved in many initiatives including GloMEEP as a Lead Pilot Country to combat climate change by reducing emissions from international shipping, and we are tasked to transfer knowledge gained to the rest of the Caribbean and other SIDS.”

At the Global level, Jamaica’s Prime Minister, among 13 other world leaders, is a member of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, as established by Norway’s Prime Minister. The 14 leaders of the Ocean Panel are committed to bringing a holistic approach to ocean management that balances protecting, production and prosperity to an area of the ocean the size of Africa.

A vigorous supporter of the IMO’s fight against climate change, consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13, Jamaica maintains that international shipping must be decarbonised by 2050, consistent with the Paris Climate Goals for emissions to reach net zero by 2050.

As a current member of the Council, Jamaica contributes actively to the work of the IMO, promoting adherence to international maritime standards and regulations. Jamaica keenly participates in the Council’s reform work including supporting the concept of a broader and more equitable representation geographically and the recognition of special status of SIDs and LDCs.

Jamaica plays a leadership role in the Caribbean in the areas of maritime administration, training and port related developments and through its participation in the work of the IMO. The MAJ’s Director General was Chair of the IMO’s Standards of Training and Watchkeeping Sub Committee for 10 years, while the Deputy Director General was also elected Chairman of the Sub Committee on Implementation of IMO Instruments (III) in 2018 and continues to serve in this capacity having been re-elected three times.

In addition, Jamaica continues to serve on the IMO’s panel of competent persons, established under the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), 1978 as amended. The country has demonstrated its commitment to the Voluntary IMO Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) and was audited in 2011. Jamaica also supported the implementation of the scheme through the provision of auditors and lead auditors for the conduct of audits of Member States and stands ready to assist other States in the region to prepare for audit under the IMO member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS).

Jamaica has a clear vested interest in port, flag and coastal State standards and has been actively supporting the work of the IMO in these areas for many years. Through both Government and also private sector initiatives, Jamaica has progressively developed its maritime infrastructure, which comprises container, cruise and bulk cargo ports. Jamaica’s maritime authority provides a fully functional maritime administration and ship registration, while the country’s other maritime activities include the training of seafarers and allied shipping personnel.

Jamaica has been producing officers for the global shipping industry since 1980. These officers are trained to international standard at the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), and the country continues to fill the demand for the increased output of seafarers.

The Government of Jamaica has submitted its candidature for re-election to Category “C” of the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for the period 2024-2025, at elections to be held during the 33rd Regular Session of the IMO Assembly in November 2023 in London, United Kingdom.

Mrs Robertson Sylvester concluded: “It is important for Jamaica to be re-elected to the Council as a responsible maritime nation that represents the interests of Caribbean States, Small Island Developing States, and Least Developed Countries. We are fully committed to, and involved in, the work of the IMO.”

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