The Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ) is taking steps to expand the range of services provided to vessels operating in local waters to include bunkering, ship repair and crewing.
Minister of Transport and Mining, Audley Shaw, in making the disclosure in his 2023/2024 Sectoral presentation in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 9), said the move is in keeping with efforts to position Jamaica as a shipping centre.
He said that in March, the MAJ gave approval for Shell Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to commence operations in Jamaica as the fourth bunkering operator, and the first involving LNG, in keeping with the Government’s position to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“It is expected that Jamaica will become an LNG bunkering hub and increase our competitiveness as a shipping centre. A floating dry dock, which will be used to repair mainly commercial vessels, including container ships, bulk carriers and tankers, will arrive in Jamaica by the end of this year,” the Minister told the House.
He noted that Prime Minister, the Most Andrew Holness, broke ground for the floating dry dock earlier this year, which will provide employment for skilled and unskilled labour and generate foreign exchange earnings.
Minister Shaw further reported that the MAJ and the Maritime Administration of Norway have entered into a reciprocal agreement to facilitate the placement of Jamaican seafarers on a Norwegian-registered Floating Storage Regassification Unit stationed in Portland Bight that supplies gas to the bauxite companies.
The arrangement extends to other vessels flying the Norwegian flag.
Additionally, through a similar reciprocal arrangement with the Netherlands, seafarers were employed on the LNG tanker CORAL ANTHELIA, which transfers fuel from the Portland Bight in Clarendon to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) plant in Bogue, St. James.
Meanwhile, Minister Shaw informed the House that come December, Jamaica will be pursuing re-election to Category C of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council.
“We are optimistic about this re-election, as Jamaica has consistently been a leader in maritime activities, representing the interests of other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the region,” the Minister said.