Shipping : indispensable to the world
Shipping affects us all and this year's theme, 'Shipping: indispensable to the world', chosen by the United Nations specialised agency responsible for international shipping the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) - brings into sharp focus the vital importance of shipping - to economies and the peoples of the world.
Ninety per cent of goods moved globally are carried by ships and in Jamaica, some 93 per cent of our foreign trade is conducted via shipping. There is an inextricable link between shipping and peoples' very existence. Jamaica's sustainable economic development is dependent on shipping. Energy to generate electricity, to power transportation, to support our manufacturing industry, our export industry, our tourism, schools, hospitals - to simply keep the country going - is brought by sea in ships from our trading partners. Bulk energy, including liquified natural gas, cannot be transported by airplanes. The following statistics tell the amazing story about the amount of cargo a ship can convey: A single ship can carry enough grain to feed nearly four million people for a month; another, enough oil to heat an entire city for a year, and others can carry the same amount of finished goods as nearly 20,000 heavy trucks on the road. It is the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally sound way to convey bulk items per tonne mile.
The IMO develops and sets uniform standards which are adopted and adhered to by over 171 member states in the world. Jamaica became a member state in 1976 and is a party to many of the IMO conventions and rules. One such is the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, popularly called the SOLAS convention, under which a new rule took effect on July 1, 2016, stipulating that shippers (for export) must verify the weight of containers with their cargo, or run the risk of the containers not being shipped. This rule came about after numerous incidents, serious damage or loss of ships due to improper stowage of containers. As the focal point for IMO in Jamaica, the Maritime Authority of Jamaica sensitised the maritime and shipping industry to this new rule through a series of seminars and sensitisation sessions, and developed guidelines to facilitate the implementation of the requirement for Verified Gross Mass of export containers to ensure that export containers were not turned away when the rule came into effect. The SOLAS Convention is only one of many international maritime conventions promulgated by the IMO which Jamaica has accepted and enshrined in the Shipping Act and other relevant legislation. The government is also looking at other pieces of international maritime law developed by the IMO, including those related to pollution prevention by ships. Since we rely heavily on maritime trade, it is important that we observe the various rules governing safe, secure and environmentally sound shipping for sustainable maritime trade.
ACTIVITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Standards of training and certification of seafarers are pertinent to the operation of a reliable and indispensable shipping industry. Jamaica is fortunate to have the only IMO-recognised training institution in the English-speaking Caribbean, which trains our Jamaican officers who work aboard the world's fleet of ships. These officers are trained to international standards at the Caribbean Maritime Institute with academic and regulatory oversight by the Maritime Authority - which issues graduates' international certificates of competency, recognised globally.
The many entities in Jamaica that make up the maritime and shipping industry - among them the Caribbean Maritime Institute, the Port Authority of Jamaica, the Shipping Association of Jamaica, Kingston Wharves Limited, Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited - all take seriously their role to ensure that Jamaica carries out efficient, safe shipping operations that stand up to international scrutiny. We also take the opportunity on World Maritime Day to honour the many Jamaican seafarers who have dedicated their lives through sometimes hazardous experiences to bring to the world health supplies, food, energy and other vital amenities for our existence.
Jamaica is pleased to join the rest of the world in celebrating World Maritime Day by creating activities and opportunities to bring awareness to this indispensable industry - the shipping industry.
Rear Admiral Peter Brady
Maritime Authority of