Jamaica through the Maritime Authority of Jamaica hosted the International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved introductory course in Ballast Water Management in the Wider Caribbean at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston from February 19-22, 2008.

The seminar was organized by Regional Activity Centre/Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Centre/Wider Caribbean Region (RAC/REMPEITC-Carib) and the Global Ballast (GloBallast) Partnership Project Coordination Unit at IMO and host country Jamaica.

The course was an introductory one geared towards personnel having different skills, knowledge and experience in ballast water related issues. The course had as one of its objectives the provision of a common set of knowledge and skills to all participants to enable them to take appropriate action in their various capacities, with a view towards promoting uniform implementation of the Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention.

In offering the introductory course in Ballast Water Management, regional capacity building was also foremost among the objectives. According to Mr. Dandu Pughiuc of the IMO, "the need for training and capacity building was identified as one of the barriers to the effective implementation of Ballast Water Control and Management measures from the very early stages of the GloBallast programme." In his opening address to participants in the course, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, director general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica also spoke to the importance of this introductory course in Ballast Water Management. Rear Admiral Peter Brady had this to say: "the course will provide a sound basis for education about the subject area and will equip participants to act as trainers in their own right within their respective countries."

The participating countries included Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Curacao, Cuba, Netherlands Antilles, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and Jamaica.

The presenters were Dr. Enir Girondi Reiss, Dr. Flavio da Costa Fernandes, Mr.Alexandre de Carvalho Leal Neto from Brazil and Mr. Curtis Roach the Regional Maritime Advisor for the Caribbean.

Mr. Jose Matheickal, chief technical advisor of the Global Ballast Water Management Programme and Mr. Dandu Pughiuc, Head of the Marine Bio-Safety Section of IMO were also in attendance.

Jamaica's hosting of this course was as a result of discussions between Dr Jose Matheickal, from the Marine Environment Division of the IMO and Rear Admiral Peter Brady, director general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica.

Jamaica is one of the four States within the region which were selected by the IMO-Glo-Ballast Programme to act as 'Lead Partner Country' (LPC) in the Caribbean in the rendering of assistance with training and the development of policy initiatives and other technical cooperation matters which may be needed to provide the institutional framework necessary for the implementation of the Ballast Water Management Convention. Jamaica's membership on the IMO Council also means that it has to play an active role in initiating and coordinating training in maritime matters at the regional level.

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