A new program to develop and implement a Sustainable Maritime Transport System (SMART) in the Caribbean has started in a preparatory phase, aimed at helping Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean region to build back better from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the maritime sector.
The economies of Caribbean SIDS are heavily dependent on the maritime sector. The long-term program will aim to provide safe, secure, efficient and reliable freight transport across the region, while minimizing pollution, maximizing energy efficiency and ensuring resource conservation.
The preparatory phase of the program, which is funded by the Norwegian government, began with the regional kick-off meeting of the Carib-SMART preparatory phase (held virtually on April 25, 2022). Stakeholders involved in the programme, including Heads of Maritime Administrations of Caribbean Member States, reviewed the draft work plan for the preparatory phase of the programme.
The work plan recognizes that a sustainable maritime transportation system (SMART) must provide seamless and reliable service in the most efficient way. To achieve this, the complexity of the interrelation between the different actors in the maritime transport system of the Caribbean SIDS must be recognized and taken into account in the planning of specific actions.
The development of the program will recognize that a SMART system in the Caribbean region requires well-organized administrations that cooperate at the regional level and promote compliance with global standards, supported by institutions with relevant technical expertise. This would start with the transposition and implementation of international maritime conventions and regional codes through legal, policy and institutional reforms as well as building the necessary capacities to implement and enforce these regulations.
The SMART system will also focus on the coordinated support of shore-based entities intrinsic to navigation, such as aids to navigation providers, oceanographic, hydrographic and meteorological services, search and rescue services, disaster responders incident and emergency response, port facilities, trade facilitation measures, and cargo handling and logistics systems – as well as a reliable supply of fuel for ships.
The need for a skilled and flexible workforce will be an essential part of the SMART system. The program will seek the collaboration of actors ashore, from both industry and government, for the protection and care of seafarers, to ensure that the social integrity of the system is not eroded and that qualified and professional seafarers benefit from an attractive and healthy environment. working environment.
The preparatory phase will aim to develop, design and obtain regional approval for the long-term technical assistance program (Carib-SMART program). The preparatory phase is executed by IMO through IMO’s Technical Cooperation Division (TCD), supported by the Partnerships and Projects Department (PPD).
The regional kick-off meeting brought together the Heads of Maritime Administrations of Caribbean Member States, Legal Focal Points, representatives of the IMO Secretariat and the Secretariats of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean (OECS); and consultants recruited for the Preparatory Phase of the Programme. All consultants come from the Latin America and Caribbean region and many are graduates of IMO training institutes: the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) in Malta and the World Maritime University (WMU) in Sweden.
News from the Sea, May 6