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Oct 21, 2014

CARICOM Countries Meet to Discuss Shipping Safety Measures

Merlene Bailey-Martinez

A weeklong conference is underway at the Best Western Plaza where representatives from thirteen CARICOM countries have converged to discuss the safety of fishing vessels.  It’s one of the worst safety records of any industry, yet has largely remained below the radar of the Safety of Life at Sea Convention, a list of international safety measures authorized by the International Maritime Organization for cargo shipping.  The Cape Town Agreement is a basic set of safety measures for larger high seas fishing vessels.  Ports Commissioner Merlene Bailey-Martinez told News Five today that the International Merchant Marine Registry of Belize, IMMARBE, is most affected by the agreements.

 

Merlene Bailey-Martinez, Ports Commissioner

“The Cape Town Agreement and the Torremolinos Protocol, these are conventions dealing with the safety of fishing vessels.  Belize has not yet signed on to it but the workshop is designed to bring awareness and hopefully to promote the ratification of those two instruments, particularly the Cape Town Agreement that deals with the safety of fishing vessels.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Can you give us an idea of all the stakeholders who are participating in this ongoing conference?”

 

Merlene Bailey-Martinez

“There are thirteen other CARICOM countries represented but locally we have the Department of the Environment, Fisheries, CRFM, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism, we have of course IMMARBE.  IMMARBE is the single most important stakeholder because all the vessels that this protocol relates to come under the administration of IMMARBE as a key stakeholder in the workshop.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“I gather that this has more to do with high seas fishing as opposed to local fisheries?”

 

Merlene Bailey-Martinez

“Yes, primarily, I should say primarily to vessels that are over twenty-four meters in length; however, some of the safety provisions apply to all fishing vessels.  So there’s a small provision for other vessels but primarily for vessels of twenty-four meters in length and over and those are fairly large vessels.”

 

The meetings will wrap up later this week.

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