Protection of the Caribbean Sea and meeting the International Maritime Organization (IMO) International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) 1973 will take centre stage in Jamaica this week when the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) joins the National Solid Waste Management Authority to present a training course on the Collection & Disposal of Ship Generated Garbage and Commercial Solid Waste.
The accredited course, on Wednesday November 9th, is designed to build awareness of the provisions of the MARPOL Convention, as well as to standardise procedures relating to the collection and disposal of ship generated garbage.
Bertrand Smith, MAJ Director of Legal Affairs, who will present on the MARPOL Convention at the workshop, explains: “The obligations of port States to give full and complete effect to the provisions of Annex V extends beyond the presence of reception facilities to ensuring that those who receive and manage the garbage are appropriately qualified.”
In May this year the Wider Caribbean Region was designated a special area for the prevention of pollution by garbage generated by ships in accordance with Annex V of MARPOL which regulates ship generated garbage.
With this new status, ships trading in the Caribbean Region and pleasure craft, are prohibited from discharging plastics, paper products, rags, glass, metals, crockery, dunnage, packing materials and other forms of ship generated garbage into the sea.
Jamaica, along with the other Caribbean countries, is able to enforce stricter standards on ships calling at its ports of entry and marinas or when they are transiting territorial waters. In addition, Jamaica has now put in place adequate measures to deal with ship generated waste and to bolster the special area status. These measures include a requirement that ships advise on the volumes and types of garbage which they require to be discharged at least 24 hours before arrival at a Jamaican port.
Although shipping contributes less than ten percent of the pollution of the marine environment, the ability to enforce the stricter standards for the discharge of garbage is an important measure to protect the fragile marine resources on which most of the Caribbean countries depend for tourism and fishing.