Jamaica seeks re-election to IMO Council
Last Thursday, Jamaica launched its bid to be re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at a Jamaica House ceremony. The council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the assembly, for supervising the work of the organisation. Between sessions of the Assembly, the council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness welcomed the move, telling the audience the decision to launch the candidature comes against the background of the importance of the maritime sector to the Jamaican economy.
He 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."
Addressing guests at the Jamaica House launch, Minister of Transport and Mining L. Michael Henry 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.
"First, we are a coastal state, a reality which means that Jamaica's maritime space is about 20 times that of our land space. Second, we are a flag state, which means that we have a ship registry that registers ships all over the world. Third, we are a port state - meaning that we have the right, through the Maritime Authority of Jamaica, to inspect foreign-flagged vessels."
Henry also announced that Jamaica hosts the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control - a forum which involves collaboration among CARICOM and other states in the Caribbean carrying out inspections to prevent substandard ships in the region.
Welcoming the launch, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, said: "As an island nation, we depend on the maritime industry to support jobs and to import foods and goods. As a country, we are on the cusp of rolling out concrete plans to be the fourth node in the global logistics chain, with the full support of the Government. This move is about positioning Jamaica as a viable maritime hub; this will have the potential to attract more shipping and allied services, as we continue to grow and trade."
The launch was attended by members of the diplomatic corps, and members of the consular corps, senior public officials and members of the shipping industry.