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Ensuring maritime safety

May 11, 2010, 1:30 PM

The issue of maritime safety, security and environmental protection is vital, and we salute the on going PMAWCA regional meeting in Banjul.

The 33rd Annual Council meeting of the Port Management Association of West and Central Africa (PMAWCA) in The Gambia is most welcome.

Port state control for the coordinated inspection of ships calling at the ports of the sub-region is essential in order to keep away sub-standard vessels.

PMAWCA seeks to provide security for ships, passengers and cargoes in the sub-region's coastal waters against piracy, armed robbery and other unlawful acts or terrorism against shipping, as well as against marine pollution and illegal exploitation of the resources of the exclusive economic zones of member states of the organization.

We also call for the strengthening and fostering of cooperation among maritime academies in the sub-region to further boost maritime security in our part of the world.

The effective flow of information in the sub-region is fundamental, in order to assist port state control activities for the coordinated inspection of ships in the ports of the member states of the organization.

We are told that PMAWCA as a sub-regional economic and inter-governmental organisation was established at the end of the historic October 1972 Constitutive Assembly held in Freetown, Sierra Leone, by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). 

As a member of the PMAWCA, we need to ensure the successful implementation of the PMAWCA's strategic plan for reforms. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) recommendations also should be fully adhered to fully, in the best interest of all.

Furthermore, there is clear need to improve and standardise services and facilities of ports and harbours in the West and Central African sub-region, in order to provide more efficient services to ships and other forms of transportation. 

Exchange of current and relevant information is also vital, and we encourage PMAWCA member states including the Gambia to always share such information.

The current Banjul meeting provides a forum for exchanges among members deliberating on common problems.

We urged the participants to do justice to the issues under discussion so as to improve the standard of our ports.

"If you actually had a coast guard, you would have effective enforcement in our northern waters. Good fences make good neighbors. As far as maritime issues are concerned, a good fence is a coast guard."

Kim Beazley