MAJ praises African maritime co-operation

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Maritime Authority of Jamaica’s Director General, Rear Admiral (ret’d) Peter Brady, has praised the dedication of African States in working together towards achieving global maritime goals and meeting international environmental targets.

Speaking at the fourth meeting of the Association of African Maritime Administrations (AAMA) in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, hosted by the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety, he said: “The birth of the AAMA some six years ago marked a most significant development for maritime Africa when progressive thinking by responsible states of this great continent saw the wisdom of collective thinking and joint responsibility as an effective way to identify, share and apply common approaches to shipping related issues, not only for the benefit of individual national economies and livelihoods, but also for the sustainable development of the entire Africa. The AAMA must be congratulated for developing this model for the African maritime administrations to meet and discuss, exchange professional knowledge and develop and formulate maritime policies for the continent and its individual states.”

Representing both Jamaica and the wider Caribbean maritime sector, he pointed out the “critical importance” of international shipping “for our respective countries”, where the “lion’s share of international trade” depends on international shipping.

“And so the safety and security of shipping along with the need for its very high environmental requirements and efficiency, serve to guarantee the sustainable aspects of the business as the world marches towards the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.

As well as Admiral Brady, who represents Jamaica at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and is a Board Member of the World Maritime University, the meeting was also attended by Laurence Barchue, IMO Assistant Secretary General, and William Azuh, Head of the Africa section of the Technical Cooperation Division.

Admiral Brady praised the fact that AAMA “does not discriminate nor makes concession for status of country, that is to say, whether developing or developed. It requires the uniform interpretation and application of its international instruments for safety and security and environmental standards of ship source pollution which makes shipping’s record commendable.”

The meeting took the theme: ‘Protecting the African Marine Environment to Support Sustainable Development’.  Admiral Brady said: “Not only Africa but our entire planet has this imperative to develop our Blue Economy but with the pre-occupation to do so in a responsible way in order to achieve our sustainable development goals and thereby preserving and protecting its fragility.”

Praising the discussion programme for its relevant and topical agenda, he singled out:

  • The inclusion of education and training for protecting the African marine environment to support sustainable development. This was of significance not only to maritimers but also to those outside the formal system;
  • The inclusion of gender mainstreaming as it relates to African women in the maritime sector. This was of particular interest to Jamaica’s Women in Maritime Association Caribbean (WiMAC), whose President is MAJ Deputy Director General Claudia Grant, which is keen to identify success stories in comparative situations; and
  • The discussion on the impact of marine litter, especially plastics, on the marine environment. This was so relevant and current that the upcoming IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee Meeting in October already has several papers relating to this issue, from ocean governance principles to the development of action plans to address marine litter from ships.

Admiral Brady revealed that Caribbean maritime administrators may follow Africa’s lead and consider adopting this model of meeting which has broader objectives. “I shall be inviting member states of the CARICOM region to consider this approach at our next Senior Maritime Administrators (SMA) meeting,” he said.