Turks and Caicos Officials attend annual Red Ensign Group (REG) Conference
TCI delegates Michelle Fulford Gardiner, Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Maritime, Heritage, Disaster Management and Gaming Henry Wilson, Acting Director Department of Maritime & Shipping and Delton Jones, Acting Director, Ports Authority returned this week from Annual Red Ensign Group (REG) conference, held this year in Stanley, Falkland Islands, Feb. 4th to 6th.
The Conference was attended by approximately 60 participants representing 13 UKOTs and Crown Dependencies. The U.K.’s Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has delegated authority from the Secretary of State to ensure that the REG Registers maintain the highest international maritime standards in accordance with their obligations under international Conventions and in accordance with U.K. policy. The MCA fulfils this role through routine monitoring visits to each REG Register. Coastal State Forum to be included, for the first time, at the Red Ensign Group (REG) Annual Conference. The Forum was established in recognition of the greater emphasis the International Maritime Organization, and Maritime Coastguard Agency, is placing on coastal States and will provide a platform for stakeholders to share and discuss issues around compliance with international maritime obligations.
This year’s agenda focused heavily on;
- IMO Instruments Implementation (III) Code (progress of the OT’s and CD’s, IMO Audit & monitoring as well as REG participation in JMC, 2020)
- Common Issues in meeting compliance of III Code – Enforcement
- Updates on CSSF Maritime Legislative Review
- Importance of Hydrography surveys, UKHO/OTs
- Maritime Security & Resilience
- Communication Strategy
- Marine Incidents/accidents & Casualty investigations
The Turks & Caicos Islands have been asked to Chair an ad hoc working group of Category 2 states on developing procedures, after a motion was put forward by the Turks & Caicos Islands Delegation, as it relates to addressing the numerous marine accidents occurring year round, and at a heighten level in the winter months. We have experienced accidents with Haitian Sloops, supplies & building material vessels running a ground, pleasure vessels on reefs, inter-islands passenger vessels incidents i.e. Ferry services, and fishermen lost at sea. The Ad Hoc Working Group will review processes in place and share success stories towards the development of a marine casualties/investigation Manuel.
Hon. Ralph Higgs, commented that the Turks & Caicos is poised for the development of a robust Marine Industry, that will enhance international trade relations, whilst opening up a niche market catering to yachting tourism. These efforts will set the stage for what is to come in a well regulated manner.