A Memorandum of Co-operation (MOC) was signed among several Agencies under the Voluntary IMO Member State Audit Scheme (VIMSAS) at the Offices of the Ministry of Transport and Works on September 6, 2011.

Among the Agencies signing were, Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard (JDFCG), the National Land Agency (NLA), Marine Police Division of the JCF, Maritime Authority of Jamaica (MAJ), Meteorological Office of Jamaica (MET Office), National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), the Ministry of Health and Spectrum Management Authority (SMA). Under this arrangement, an audit of Jamaica’s Maritime Administration will be conducted during the period September 10-19. This will involve the assessment of Jamaica’s ability to give full and proper effect to the IMO mandatory instruments which cover the areas of ship safety, certification and the protection of the marine environment.

The MOC incorporates the national strategy which will govern maritime regulatory activities and will serve for normal co-operation activities relating to shipping in Jamaica’s maritime space in the areas of vessel safety and security, security in port facilities and port areas, protection of the maritime environment from vessel source pollution, the inputs for signing of international conventions including the Maritime Labour Convention which Jamaica is actively pursuing for ratification, training and capacity building and the general exchange of ideas .

In presenting a message on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Alwin Hales, Ms. Valerie Simpson, Director of Policy noted that the IMO had adopted a number of International Conventions relating to shipping and that Jamaica had signed and ratified most of them. Continuing, she said, “But the very identification of deficiencies or non-conformities in the pre-audit/preparation stage, has also been extremely useful for Jamaica to rectify many of said deficiencies prior to the audit…”

"Today, the plan to come together for the signing of the MOC among ministries, departments and agencies is indeed a historic event, which demonstrates, to the IMO and the international shipping and maritime community, and the country itself, that Jamaica has the institutional arrangements in place and capabilities to discharge its maritime obligations. In pointing out the necessity for VIMSAS, Ms. Simpson noted that all the MDA’s play an important role in ensuring that ships calling at Jamaican ports or transiting waters on the Jamaican shores, can do so safely and without incident and at the same time comply with the internationally accepted standards for the safety of life at sea and the protection of the fragile marine environment from vessel source pollution."

Various officials signed the MOC on behalf of their entities after which a copy was presented to Ms. Simpson on behalf of the MTW and the other retained by the Maritime Authority of Jamaica through Rear Admiral Peter Brady, Director General of the Authority. Ot hers speaking at the signing, were Rear Admiral Peter Brady, Mrs. Claudia Grant, Deputy Director General of the MAJ and Mr. Bertrand Smith, Director, Legal Affairs, MAJ.