PRESS RELEASE:-Castries, Thursday August 18, 2016 – The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) Division of Maritime Affairs in collaboration with the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) and MESO American & Caribbean Sea Hydrographic Commission (MACHC) Capacity Building Work Programme conducted a Regional Maritime Safety Information (MSI) Training Seminar from August 16th to 18th August, 2016.

The intensive three day training program was designed to provide practical guidance for those persons who are involved with the drafting of radio navigational warnings or with the issuance of Maritime Safety Information for the high seas under the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

Simply put, Maritime Safety Information consists of navigational and meteorological warnings, search and rescue information and other urgent safety-related information.

During the course participants improved and gained knowledge of the World-Wide Navigational Warning Service and general Maritime Safety Information and engaged in practical exercises to demonstrate their proficiency in the subject areas including charting.

The course was facilitated by two international resource persons Bill Van-Den-Bergh of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office and Christopher Janus retired Commander in the US Navy Reserve.

Twenty four (24) participants from eighteen (18) Caribbean, Central and South America countries participated in the seminar.

Mr. Christopher Alexander, Director of the Maritime Division explained that “This seminar indicates internationally that Saint Lucia and the participating nations now have expertise to issue out maritime safety information warnings in keeping with the obligations of international conventions which they are partied to.”

SLASPA was happy to collaborate with the international agencies in holding this regional seminar and it is expected that participants will apply the knowledge and skills acquired to improve maritime safety information in their countries as initial feedback from participants were positive and encouraging.

Mr. Janus at the closing ceremony stated that, “the foundation has been established and participants on returning to their respective countries are expected not only to train others but also to establish a centralized place to collect time critical information and disseminate it to the appropriate authorities to allow vessels to be informed which would enable them to navigate safely.

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