Sat | Aug 19, 2017

IMO hosts International Conference on Maritime Energy Management

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2017 | 2:00 AM
The Port of Kingston.

Jamaica was one of several countries meeting in Malmo, Sweden, from January 24-25 to examine the opportunities and challenges in the field of maritime energy with the aim of developing energy-efficient and low-carbon future for the global maritime industry.

The event was the International Conference on Maritime Energy Management (MARENER 2017) which brought together some 300 marine designers, regulators, administrators and researchers from 83 countries to discuss a range of topics aimed at improving the shipping industry's impact on the environment through the implementation of cost-efficient, renewable energy and alternative fuel systems.

The International Maritime Organization spearheaded the effort as it leads the worldwide maritime community which must respond to increasingly stringent environmental rules and regulations. This comes against a background of increasing overcapacity coupled with unstable energy costs.

Despite the challenge to the global environment posed by shipping, the industry remains the most efficient and cost-effective way to transport goods around the globe. Increasingly, the worldwide prosperity which this mode of transportation supports must be weighed against the industry's footprint on the maritime environment. Key to this is pursing maritime energy strategies which are both energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

Within the Caribbean there are a number of activities and operations, executed by the various maritime stakeholders, that have a significant impact on the surrounding environment. Being a region of small island developing states whose economies are highly dependent on maritime and shipping activities, we are among the most vulnerable to environmental shocks.

 

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Therefore, participation from the Caribbean in such a forum is significant as matters surrounding shipping and international trade stand to directly affect the economies of these states. Of the 14 states within the Caribbean region, just eight have ratified MARPOL Annex VI (an international agreement which establishes limits on nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and require the use of fuel with lower sulfur content, protecting people's health and the environment) and only two of these ratifying states having implemented the convention in their national law.

Denise Aiken, the director of legal affairs, at the Caribbean Maritime Institute, was Jamaica's representative at the conference. Aiken's presentation linked the effective regulation of the maritime and port operations within the Caribbean, focusing on the busier ports, such as the port of Kingston in Jamaica and Freeport in The Bahamas, to the adoption of energy-efficient port operations, while identifying some challenges they face. She also highlighted possible solutions to transform the port and maritime operations within the Caribbean.