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Jun 28, 2004

Maritime administration upgraded with U.S. help

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With construction about to start on a modern cruise and port complex in Belize City, it appears that the administration of the country’s maritime interests is also expanding to meet new challenges. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods has more.

Major (Retired) Lloyd Jones, Ports Commissioner

?You could never be a hundred percent secure. I think that given our location, given our political stability, given all these factors, I think that Belize is fairly safe. That does not mean that we must be complacent, we still have to put in measures to ensure that we remain safe, and that is the key?

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

Ports Commissioner, Retired Major Lloyd Jones, speaking at the opening of the first National Maritime Communications Centre. Not until today did, the Belize Ports Authority had a proper system in place to communicate with international shipping seeking to enter our territorial waters. Jones says the new facility will not only allow them to keep in touch with any vessel up to one hundred miles out to sea but the nationwide network will also be of great assistance to local boaters.

Major Lloyd Jones

?What we are hoping to do is to have all calls concerning Maritime safety and security to come to this centre. And we are also in the near future will be providing a service where if you are going to sea as a boat owner, you can call the centre, tell us where you?re going, when you expect to get there, and give us a telephone number. And if you don?t call us by the time you said you should be back then we will call you and find out you are okay, where you are and things of that nature.?

Belize, as a member of the International Maritime Organization, has also complied with its International Ship and Ports Security Code. Jones says all of the country?s six port facilities operate under a security plan that meets the requirements of the I.S.P.S.

Major Lloyd Jones

?Most of our facilities were fairly okay in terms of security. There was a need, however, to adjust a little and the big thing here is that each of these facilities are operating under an approved Port facility security plan. That plan was approved by me as the Ports Commissioner in charged of the designated authority. The plan basically lays out how that facility intends to deal with various security incidents, whether it be a bomb threat, whether it be a fire, whether it be an actual terrorist attack. And we believe that given all the measures that they have put in place that we have in fact met the requirements of the code.?

The establishment of the National Maritime Centre was made possible through funds from the United States government. Jacqueline Woods for News Five.

The National Maritime Communication Centre is situated at the Fultec Systems compound on Coney Drive in Belize City.

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