The Maritime Authority of Jamaica, and other key players in the country’s shipping industry, have spoken out in support of the need for more effective international measures to tackle piracy and added its voice to calls for greater resources to rid the high seas of this increasing threat.
Rear Admiral Brady said: “We have just cause to join the IMO and the international shipping community in the call for measures to protect international trade by sea. Jamaica supports the various recommendations and guidance developed by the IMO in conjunction with its partners in the international shipping community in an effort to prepare ships’ crews to counter the attacks by pirates. At the same time we laud the efforts of the IMO to develop public awareness to the scourge of piracy, while encouraging countries most equipped to assist by lending their resources to counter piracy.”
Speaking at a high profile luncheon in Kingston to mark World Maritime Day (September 29th 2011), MAJ Director General Rear, Admiral Peter Brady, said: “We join the rest of the world in solidarity towards ridding international shipping of piracy.”
Jamaica has not escaped the effects of piracy. As a Flag State (through the Jamaica Ship Registry) it regularly has vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden carrying bulk and other cargoes. Last year the Jamaican-flagged bulk carrier Miltiades was attacked 130 miles off the coast of Yemen by several pirates carrying AK-47 weapons who had approached the vessel from a skiff. MAJ Legal Director Bertrand Smith reported: “The quick action of the Master and crew was able to repel the attack with no injuries or deaths.”
In addition Jamaica is an important crew supply nation working with the Caribbean Maritime Institute to provide quality training of Masters, Chief Engineers and other marine officers. Earlier this year two Jamaican seafarers were assaulted by criminals who boarded their vessel off the coast of Benin. Mr Smith said: “The growth of the CMI has resulted in many young Jamaican women and men gainfully employed in internationally trading ships, some of which transit the Gulf of Aden and other high risk areas.”
In fact one CMI graduate, who recently transited the Indian Ocean, told the MAJ: “Piracy is one of my biggest fears. I hear too many stories about hijacking and kidnapping for months and that hurts my head when I think about it.”