STATEMENT OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA BY H.E. MR. DWIGHT C.R. GARDINER, AMBASSADOR, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA TO THE IMO AND DIRECTOR GENERAL OF THE ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA MARITIME ADMINISTRATION ON THE OCCASION OF THE 28th SESSION OF THE IMO ASSEMBLY
Thank you Mr. President; and congratulations on your election as President of this Assembly.
Mr. President, Secretary General, Honorable Ministers, Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen: Good morning!
On behalf of the State of Antigua and Barbuda, it is with great pleasure that I address the 28th session of the International Maritime Organization Assembly. The Honorable Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Minister with responsibility for Merchant Shipping and Ship Registration, Dr. Winston Baldwin Spencer, conveys his best wishes to this august body for a fruitful session.
First, I must extend Antigua and Barbuda’s deepest sympathizes to the Government and People of the Philippines to the terrible tragedy inflicted on them by Typhoon – Haiyan.
Mr. President, I am pleased to report that Antigua and Barbuda through its Maritime Administration, realized the goals and objectives that were outlined in our current five year Strategic Plan.
We are now making significant progress regarding the new strategic thrusts in the Plan covering the period 2014 – 2018; the highlight of which is meeting the provisions of the IMO Mandatory Triple I Code.
One of our major achievements under the current strategic period was the successful VIMSAS Audit of Antigua and Barbuda in June of 2012. This audit was an invaluable experience and embraced flag, coastal and port state responsibilities.
At the regional level, Antigua and Barbuda remains committed to the enhancement of shipping. Therefore, we continue to work closely with the IMO and regional bodies with respect to the hosting of workshops and/or seminars, as well as providing technical expertise in other fora throughout the region. We steadfastly believe that these workshops and seminars are invaluable to the capacity building of our region. As such, Antigua and Barbuda will continue to do its part in facilitating this growth which will be of tremendous benefit to individual states and the Caribbean region as a whole.
Within our regional philosophy we are, in association with the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, converting our LRIT National Data Centre into a Co-operative Data Centre (CDC). This is aimed at reducing the cost associated with the maintenance of the Data Center (DC) and encouraging other states, within the Wider Caribbean Region, with a relatively small ship registry, to join the LRIT System. We have received the IMO’s approval, completed the developmental phase, and are presently conducting the integration testing.
Another regional initiative which Antigua and Barbuda is currently involved is the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Oceans Governance Committee. The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States established this Committee as a mechanism to cooperate on “Oceans’ Governance” issues utilizing a harmonized approach. As a member state, Antigua and Barbuda is committed to ensuring that this regime incorporates all necessary obligations under the IMO MANDATORY INSTRUMENTS.
To this end, we are spearheading an initiative in collaboration with the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office to ensure that Member States have modern survey data and the necessary mechanisms to meet their hydrographic obligations under SOLAS.
The State of Antigua and Barbuda continues as the Chair of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control. Under our stewardship and with the excellent support of the Vice Chairman, the Secretary General and the Committee members, we now have 15 member states and one associate member state; including three observer states that are on the verge of becoming full members.
Mr. President, as shown in this brief presentation, the State of Antigua and Barbuda continues in its unwavering commitment to achieving the goals of the IMO. I further submit that our country will continue on the path of achievement and go beyond the successes outlined in my presentation today.
I thank you for affording me the time to outline my country’s extensive work in the past two years through its Maritime Administration. Our achievements have been significant and serve to highlight and underscore our resolute commitment, promotion and advancement of our common goals of maritime safety, security, the welfare of seafarers and the protection of the marine environment.