By Peta-Gay Hodges
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Jamaica has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Republic of Kenya for the Reciprocal Recognition of Standards of Training Certification and Watch-keeping (STCW) Certificates for Seafarers by Nationals.
The undertaking is for the recognition and endorsement of certificates under Regulation I/10 of the International Convention on STCW for Seafarers, 1978.
Speaking during the virtual signing ceremony on Thursday, December 17, director-general of the Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Rear Admiral Peter Brady, said the MAJ and, by extension, the government of Jamaica are proud to be a co-signatory of the agreement.
He added that the degree of importance that has been placed on the undertaking is grounded in the fact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic did not deter both countries from executing the undertaking.
Admiral Brady pointed out that the proposal evolved from dialogue between himself and the principal secretary of the State Department of Shipping and Maritime, ministry of transport, infrastructure, housing urban development and public works of Kenya, Nancy Karigithu.
The director-general said the signing of the MOU was a significant occasion for the seafarers of both countries “and, indeed, our respective maritime parent bodies, and governments as we utilise the facility of the International Convention on STCW for Seafarers to allow our professional mariners to legally work onboard the ships that are flagged by our two countries”. He said that it was also symbolic of the strong relationship Jamaica shares with Kenya.
“We are linked by our past and we are determined to move our economies into the future by building partnerships and leveraging the maritime opportunities,” Admiral Brady stated.
According to him, the MAJ recognises that seafarers must be trained and certified in line with the standards stipulated by the STCW Convention, if international recognition is to be maintained.
“Our approved maritime institutions and our administrations are recognized by the IMO’s panel of competent persons and are on IMO’s white list of countries which are deemed to give full and complete effect to the STCW Convention as amended,” he said.
“This is very critical because, internationally, trading ships operate at global standards required by international rules and measures promulgated in treaties or conventions by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Both our countries have acceded to the STCW Convention which has been enshrined in our respective domestic laws,” the director-general added.
He argued that Kenya and Jamaica proudly serve on the IMO governing body as Council members, which places an extra obligation on both territories to ensure that, among other areas of maritime safety and security and the observation of the highest marine environmental standards at sea, Kenyan and Jamaican seafarers who operate the ships that conduct global trade must also maintain their quality standards as highly trained seafarers with internationally recognised certificates of competence.
Admiral Brady expressed hope that the agreement will serve to strengthen maritime relationships and, by extension, the economies of both countries and serve to build further cooperation in many other areas.
For her part, Karigithu said her government was appreciative that, going forward, the citizens of both countries will be able to derive benefits in terms of maritime education and job opportunities in the shipping industry, following the execution of the undertaking.
“Allow me, on behalf of the government of Kenya, to express my sincere gratitude to the government of Jamaica for the unwavering support you have provided during this endeavour to conclude a written undertaking to establish arrangements for the recognition and endorsement of certificates under regulation I/10 of the STCW Convention,” she said.
“We appreciate the mutual benefits that will accrue under this Undertaking, including support for training [and where possible employment] of our seafarers onboard our flagged vessels and cooperation in maritime education and training in order to achieve sustainable growth,” she added.
Karigithu also expressed appreciation for the excellent diplomatic relations between the two nations and confidence that the undertaking will further deepen the partnership.