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Full Membership of Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding Discussed
2016-11-10

Acting Premier, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering received a courtesy call from Ambassador Dwight Gardiner, Chairman of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control, on November 4.

During the courtesy call, Ambassador Gardiner discussed with the Honourable Ag. Premier, the benefits of the Virgin Islands becoming a full member of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) of the Port State Control.

The Virgin Islands has maintained Observer status in the CMOU since its inception in 1996. Membership in the CMOU, however, would enable the Territory to participate in a more productive and meaningful manner in activities of Committees, be eligible to host the Secretariat, Caribbean Maritime Information Centre or any other body of the CMOU, and stand for elected office associated with this critical regional maritime body. Marine Officers of the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry would also be provided with opportunities to be trained as recognised Port State Control Officers (PSCO) aiding succession planning.

The vision of the Government to be more actively involved in the CMOU is befitting the stature of a territory with a rich maritime history such as the Virgin Islands.

Honourable Ag. Premier and Ambassador Gardiner both agreed that full membership in the CMOU may be the right way forward for the Virgin Islands to ensure safety of lives of the waterways users, protection of the environment and safety of vessels.  The Caribbean Maritime Information Centre database of all ship inspections will provide a snapshot of the quality ships entering Virgin Islands waters. This provides an opportunity for sub-standard ships to be targeted for inspection and ensure rectification of defects by the Virgin Islands Shipping Registry.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) which works in conjunction with the CMOU supports the idea  that every flag state administration (Ship Registration Administration) such as the Virgin Islands, should have laws and trained staff to conduct Port State Control and MOU’s are an important vehicle to such training throughout the world.

The Virgin Islands Shipping Registry (VISR) conducted 25 Port State Control in 2016 but were not eligible for reporting to the CMOU due to their observer status.

Additionally, under the VISR’s current Observer status, any ship that has been deemed unsafe and subsequently detained in the Territory can jump detention without regional coordinated ramifications.

Port State Control is internationally recognized as an effective tool to reduce the number of sub-standard ships operating on the seas. It is the inspection of vessels that are registered in other jurisdictions (foreign vessels). PSC officers (inspectors) inspect the competency of the master and officers on board, and the condition of the ship and certifies that its equipment complies with the requirements of international conventions such as the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) convention, International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC) and others relevant to the maritime industry.

Currently the CMOU has 17 Member States including the Cayman Islands, and is actively seeking to extend its arms for membership to credibly, well established shipping registries such as the Virgin Islands.

Photograph attached

Photo and caption: Ag. Premier, Dr. the Honourable Kedrick D. Pickering and Ambassador Dwight Gardiner, Chairman of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control (Photo credit: Ronnielle Frazer/GIS)

Author

Ms. Natalie Hodge
Telephone: 468-3701 ext. 2257 (desk)
Email:nathodge@gov.vg


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