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Jamaica hosts regional forum on prevention of maritime pollution

Published:Tuesday | February 28, 2023 | 12:05 AM
The workshop was part of the International Maritime Organization’s push to promote sustainable shipping and maritime development.
The workshop was part of the International Maritime Organization’s push to promote sustainable shipping and maritime development.

Jamaica recently hosted a regional workshop which addressed challenges faced by some Caribbean states to provide adequate facilities for ships to discharge waste generated during their normal operations.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) workshop, which was supported by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), was held in Montego Bay from February 7-9.

The meeting focused on small island developing states (SIDS) of the wider Caribbean and matters related to their meeting of obligations for adequate port facilities to collect ship-generated waste and cargo residues, as required under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

The MARPOL Convention was adopted in 1973 by the IMO and is the primary global accord covering the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

The workshop centred on three of MARPOL’s six annexes, III-V, which cover Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form; Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships; and Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships, respectively. Participants achieved a better understanding and indepth knowledge of matters related to the implementation and enforcement of the annexes through presentations and group discussions over the three-day event.

They noted the limited capacity of many states in the region to properly process waste streams generated on their islands as part of the problem. The point highlighted a related lack of capability to process additional waste offloaded from vessels calling at their ports.

Representative of the IMO’s Marine Environmental Division, Helen Buni, in her opening remarks delivered remotely from the organisation’s London headquarters, said the full implementation and enforcement of MARPOL remains a problem within the region, and elsewhere in the world.

Buni said, “IMO’s audits have shown persistent problems with MARPOL implementation, which often result from gaps in national legislation or unclear attribution of responsibilities to the different ministries and authorities involved,” she said, adding, “We can all learn from each other. And IMO is ready to support this process.”

The event formed part of the IMO’s efforts to support Caribbean SIDS in addressing known causes which hinder proper implementation of the MARPOL Convention.

The workshop was delivered through the IMO’s Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme, with additional expertise provided by the MAJ and the United States Coast Guard.

The promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development is one of the major priorities of the IMO. Matters of energy efficiency, new technology and innovation, and maritime traffic management underscore its commitment to provide the framework needed for a green and sustainable global maritime transportation system.

To support this, the IMO previously announced ‘MARPOL at 50 – Our commitment goes on’ as its World Maritime Day theme.

In its explanation, the IMO said the theme reflects its long history of protecting the environment from the impact of shipping through a strong regulatory framework.

At the time, IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said much has changed since the MARPOL Convention was adopted on November 2, 1973, but the body’s pledge to protect and preserve the marine environment is unwavering. He said the theme will “allow us to celebrate this legacy, while also underscoring our dedication to building on the existing foundations as we move towards a brighter future”.

World Maritime Day will be celebrated on September 28.