Authorities to implement flag weather warning for small vessels

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The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) plans to institute a flag weather warning system with accompanying signs at seaport departure points, to provide vessels with alerts on storm and wind conditions.

This was disclosed at a town hall meeting for small passenger vessel operators held at Fort Charles, Port Royal, last Thursday.

The meeting was held in the wake of the marine causalty on December 27, 2018, in the Lime Cay basin, which resulted in the death of two women.

In his address, director general MAJ Rear Admiral Peter Brady urged the operators to adhere to the safety requirements outlined in the Shipping Act and the Harbour Rules. He also stressed that boat operators should be properly briefed before going out to sea.

“You [also] make sure that they put on the life jackets and not only put them on, but that they are fitted. You have to say to them, ‘In the event that we encounter bad weather, you follow my instructions and these are things that we do’… and you list what you are going to do,” he pointed out.

“Those of you who want to engage in carrying paying passengers, you have to come to the maritime authority for us to properly certify you, and give you the right instructions for the people you carry. Make sure you carry the right equipment,” Rear Admiral Brady added.

Vessel operators were also encouraged to ensure that their boats are in proper working condition.

At the event, presentations were also made by safety director at the MAJ, Steven Spence, and licence processing manager at Tourism Product Development Company, Sheryll Lewis.

The MAJ is responsible for the development of shipping in Jamaica and for regulating matters related to merchant shipping and seafarers. It also has oversight for the regulation of safety, security and marine environment protection; and for discharging Jamaica’s Treaty obligations in relation to the International Maritime Organization.

— JIS

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