KINGSTON, Jamaica – CARIBMEPA (Caribbean Marine Environment Protection Association) was launched today at the annual Caribbean Shipping Association’s Caribbean Shipping Executives Conference being held in Kingston, Jamaica. With its primary mission to facilitate the implementation of MARPOL in the Caribbean Sea, CARIBMEPA will act as a consolidator for marine environment issues and actions in the Caribbean; be an umbrella organization for engaging industry, regulators, governments, conservation groups, educators and more in protecting the marine environment; act as a focal point for facilitating the implementation of MARPOL in the Caribbean and educate the public about protecting the marine environment.
“Two and a half years ago, I learned that while 86% of the nations in the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR) had ratified MARPOL, only 24% have implemented it, leaving the region vulnerable to marine pollution,” stated Carleen Lyden Walker, NAMEPA and CARIBMEPA Founder. “In subsequent meetings we learned there are barriers to implementation, as well as a lack of knowledge about the urgency to protect the rich marine environment in the Caribbean.”
Currently, CARIBMEPA is an “association of associations” including NAMEPA (North American Marine Environment Protection Association) , OAS-CIP, American Salvage Association (ASA), RAC/REMPEITC, Caribbean Shipping Association (CSA), Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), MTTC Caribbean, Port Management Association of the Caribbean (PMAC), Caribbean Maritime University, Central American Commission of Maritime Transport (COCATRAM) and Women in Maritime Association- Caribbean (WiMAC).
“We need to move quickly to protect the Caribbean,” observed Rawle Baddaloo, CARIBMEPA Co-Lead and CSA representative. “As shipping traffic in the region increases, so do the risks. Our governments must work to protect our waters, and therefore our prosperity. The environmental, social, and economic impacts of marine pollution in the Caribbean have been well documented over the last 3 decades and expose a very serious threat to the sustainable development of our region.”
The importance of this work was underscored in a recent High-Level Symposium in Montego Bay attended by Ministers of Transportation for the WCR during which they signed a resolution calling for the “establishment of a Caribbean marine environment protection association”. CARIBMEPA is being incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
The work program towards supporting the protection of the Caribbean marine environment through MARPOL and other tools includes:
Members of the stakeholder associations are currently developing and resourcing the work program with a goal of completing the agenda by 2021.
- Facilitate development of legislation and strategies for implementing MARPOL and response
- Support the development of a MARPOL Training Academy at the Caribbean Maritime University
- Facilitate a potentially polluting wreck prioritization program
- Participate in development of regional waste disposal strategies
- Educate the public- Beach cleanups, school education projects, art contests, etc.