Resilient in the face of COVID-19

Lyna Mohamad

The maritime industry was commended for its resiliency and adaptability during the COVID-19 pandemic by Minister of Transport and Infocommunication Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Awang Haji Mohammad Yusof (pic below) in his statement at the 32nd Regular Session of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Assembly yesterday.

The minister said seafarers, port workers and shipping agents were assigned as critical frontline workers and were among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccinations when Brunei Darussalam’s vaccination programme began in April 2021.

He highlighted the need for high quality education, training and promotion of careers at sea to produce competent and qualified seafarers to keep vessels safe, protect the environment and keep international trade moving.

The minister said there is active work towards becoming a party of IMO instruments and implementing them to enforce and better regulate the ports and maritime industry through legislation. The 32nd IMO Assembly commenced on December 6 via video conference and was officiated by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

Ambassador of the Philippines to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Antonio Manuel R Lagdameo chaired the meeting.

The assembly’s plenary session was preceded by the Heads of Delegation Meeting to nominate the President and Vice-Presidents to the 32nd IMO Assembly. The assembly will discuss the IMO Council reformation, amendment to the IMO Convention, IMO Strategic Plan for 2018 to 2023, IMO budget approval and adoption of assembly resolutions.

Sixty-six Heads of Delegation of IMO Member States, including Brunei Darussalam, delivered General Statements during the assembly, which touched upon efforts to enhance initiatives undertaken in the maritime industry in terms of safety of shipping, maritime security and maritime environment.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunication (MTIC); Haji Mohammad Nazri bin Haji Mohammad Yusof was also present at the assembly along with Haji Mohammad Salihin bin Haji Aspar, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary (Transport); Captain Abdul Mateen Abdurrahman Liew, Acting Chief Executive of Maritime and Port Authority of Brunei Darussalam (MPABD) and senior officials from MTIC and MPABD.

The 32nd IMO Assembly will continue on December 10 with election for the new IMO Council for the period 2022-2023 as well as the Technical Committee Session Meetings until December 15.