Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson (FP)

The importance of safety of life at sea, and the fact that it involves everyone, was underscored during a service at the Paynes Bay Methodist Church to mark the start of Maritime Week yesterday.

Maritime Week runs from September 23 to 28 under the theme: 100 Years after the Titanic – Safety of Life at Sea.

Speaking during the service, Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson, said his Ministry was presently involved in reviewing legislation with respect to the Shipping Regulations which cover small commercial vessels, passenger ferries and water sports craft.

"These regulations will introduce a specific safety regime for such vessels including the safety inspection of vessels and certification of operating personnel," he explained.

But, he stressed, while administrations had the ability to legislate and monitor, safety at sea was still everyone’s responsibility. "I exhort all operators and users to become aware of the regulations and requirements, and apply them as necessary. Above all, I appeal for the use of good sense and cooperation among vessel operators, sea bathers and divers, so that all may use Barbados’ waters in safety," Mr. Hutson urged.

He added that his Ministry had also embarked on a continuous education programme to sensitise individuals about watersports operations and to provide orderly conduct of watersports since 2009.

At the international level, the Minister pointed out that Barbados was also signatory to the Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control. That, he said, involved the inspection of foreign ships in national ports to verify that they complied with international regulations, and that the ship was manned and operated in compliance with these rules.

"It is designed to target substandard ships with the main objective being their eventual withdrawal of service," he told the congregation.


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