Secretary General of the UN specialised agency responsible for shipping, International Maritime Organization, Mr Koji Sekimizu, will spearhead a delegation of IMO representatives to Jamaica at the end of this month. Mr Sekimizu assumed the position of the 170-member state Organization on January 1, 2012 and this is his first visit to the Caribbean.
The four-day visit, hosted by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), will culminate in a High Level Symposium (HLS) of the Ministers of Transport in the Caribbean, drawing delegates from a variety of the region’s States and overseas territories, as well as Jamaica. The HLS is intended to inform the responsible Ministers in the region on critical developments that will affect their countries’ reputations as responsible maritime states. Mr Sekimizu will address the group on “The Institutionalization of the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS)”.
The VIMSAS scheme was instituted by the IMO to ensure states are giving full and complete effect to the provisions of its major Conventions and will become mandatory in 2015. Jamaica has already been successfully audited under VIMSAS in September 2011 as part of its drive to discharge responsibly its Flag, Port and Coastal State obligations.
Prior to the symposium, the MAJ will host a seminar for Senior Maritime Administrators, as part of the IMO’s Integrated Technical Co-operation Programme (ITCP) in the Caribbean. The Caribbean region, including Jamaica, has benefited greatly from the assistance of the IMO through its ITCP, which provides assistance to countries that may have difficulties giving full and complete effect to the IMO’s instruments and aims to build human, institutional and legal capacities.
Mr Sekimizu is scheduled to call on key Jamaican Ministers of Government and maritime entities, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, the Caribbean Maritime Institute and the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard – the agency of Government which conducts maritime search and rescue operations.
This is only the second time in approximately 25 years that a Secretary General of the IMO has visited Jamaica, which is a long-standing member of the IMO since 1976 and a member of the IMO Council, Category C having been elected 2009 and in 2011. The IMO Council is the governing body of the Organization when its Assembly, which meets once every two years, is not in session.
MAJ Director General, Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said: “We are looking forward to the IMO Secretary General’s visit which will be extremely beneficial to both Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region.
“Jamaica is very supportive of the work of the IMO. We participate in a number of IMO committees and working groups which make international rules and standards for the safety, security, prevention of pollution by ships, and promulgate the international Conventions and other instruments. Jamaica participates in meetings of the Maritime Safety Committee, Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Legal Committee, Flag State Implementation Sub Committee, the STW (training and certification of seafarers) Sub Committee, the Council and the IMO Assembly.”