Maritime safety seminar timely

The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) through its Division of Maritime Affairs held a seminar last Wednesday at SLASPA’s Headquarters to discuss Maritime safety, laws and effective utilization of the International Safety Management (ISM) Code.
The seminar was also so held to facilitate discussions with owners and captains of the larger catamarans and vessels being used to conduct boat rides along the coast of the island.
The gathering comes amidst the continued desire to enhance boating safety and to improve upon security concerns for the operations of these activities.
Mr Christopher Alexander, Director of Maritime Affairs at SLASPA stated, “The International Safety Management (ISM) Code which is a relatively new phenomenon in the shipping industry is based on the requirements of ISO 9001.   The Code requires that all companies who manage ships develop, implement, and maintain a Safety Management System.
“As such, we thought it was prudent that all boating stakeholders are armed with this knowledge as they will be required to have some capability of ensuring that they comply with the requirements of the Code.”
The ISM Code requires the company to establish a “Safety and Environmental Protection Policy; Define responsibilities and authority both ashore and afloat; Appoint a designated person (or person); Define the Master’s responsibilities under the Code; Provide adequate resources and personnel; Develop plans for shipboard operations; Identify and prepare for all emergency situations;
Report all accidents, incidents and hazardous occurrences; Ensure ship and equipment are properly maintained; Follow strict document control procedures and they must Conduct Internal Audits and Management Review Meetings.”
There are also many benefits to complying which include reduced chances of human error; Improved communication and feedback; Fewer personal injuries;
Reduced risk of pollution.; Safer cargo handling and carriage and Reduced risk of accidents.
While SLASPA encouraged boat owners to implement these programs as soon as possible, Mr Alexander added that boat owners will be responsible for covering whatever costs necessary to ensure their boats are within the required standards.
Meanwhile, in light of the recent cruise ship accident off the cost of Italy, Mr Alexander took some time to explain that measures are in place should St Lucia face such an event.
“We are more than ready to handle such a catastrophe,” he said.
More than 20 stakeholders took part in the spirited discussions, including the former minister for Tourism, Allen Chastanet and the director of yachting, Cuthbert Didier who welcomed the initiative and thanked SLASPA for
hosting it.

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