An in­ter­na­tional mar­itime frame­work to pro­mote the fu­ture sus­tain­abil­ity of our oceans

The Malta Business Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

“We are con­sid­er­ing propos­ing a thor­ough study to cre­ate a con­sol­i­dated in­ter­na­tional mar­itime frame­work to pro­mote a sus­tain­able fu­ture for our oceans. To­day’s frag­mented ap­proach where dif­fer­ent UN agen­cies deal with over­lap­ping is­sues in a dis­jointed man­ner makes lit­tle sense,” said the Min­is­ter for For­eign Af­fairs and Trade Pro­mo­tion, Carmelo Abela dur­ing the Nau­ti­cal In­sti­tute’s Tech­ni­cal Sem­i­nar and AGM held at the Cava­lieri Art Ho­tel in St Ju­lian’s.

Ad­dress­ing the in­ter­na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tive body for mar­itime pro­fes­sion­als in­volved in the con­trol of sea-go­ing ships, the min­is­ter thanked them for choos­ing Malta, “a coun­try with a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the world’s most re­li­able and ef­fec­tive cen­tres for mar­itime ser­vices; a coun­try that is de­ter­mined to keep striv­ing to reap the full po­ten­tial of its mar­itime vo­ca­tion”.

Malta is also a coun­try that hosts a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions, in­clud­ing the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Law In­sti­tute, the In­ter­na­tional Ocean In­sti­tute and the Re­gional Ma­rine Pol­lu­tion Emer­gency Re­sponse Cen­tre for the Mediter­ranean Sea. “How­ever, we also con­tinue to strive to con­sol­i­date our po­si­tion as one of the lead­ing play­ers in the highly com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment of the global ship­ping in­dus­try.”

Min­is­ter Abela spoke about Malta’s long and rich mar­itime trade his­tory and its ge­o­graph­i­cally-strate­gic po­si­tion be­ing as im­por­tant to­day as it has been over the cen­turies. “Malta’s ac­cess to the EU’s sin­gle mar­ket since mem­ber­ship has only strength­ened its im­por­tance in the heart of the world’s great­est ship­ping routes: the Europe-West Africa-Mid­dle East tri­an­gle.”

The min­is­ter also ex­plained why Malta has shown no­table in­ter­na­tional lead­er­ship in this sec­tor, re­call­ing Malta’s tabling of the UN pro­posal which re­sulted in the adop­tion of the 1982 Con­ven­tion on the Law of the Sea.

“Be­cause of this ini­tia­tive, Malta is con­sid­ered the pioneer of this Law of the Sea and its out­comes. Our first Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions, Dr Arvid Pardo, for­malised this pro­posal, which gave birth to the doc­trine that states that the seabed, the ocean floor and the sub-soil are ‘the com­mon her­itage of mankind’, to only be used and ex­ploited for peace­ful pur­poses and for the ben­e­fit of mankind as a whole.”

Malta also prides it­self in hav­ing the largest in­ter­na­tional ship reg­is­ter in the EU and the sixth largest one in the world, with flag in­tegrity and com­pet­i­tive reg­is­tra­tion fees.

“Our har­bours are the third largest tran­ship­ment and lo­gis­tics hub in the Mediter­ranean, and they in­clude a fully-equipped grain ter­mi­nal and ware­hous­ing fa­cil­i­ties,” the Min­is­ter ex­plained.

“This en­ables the stor­age, and con­se­quent ship­ment, of mer­chan­dise. Ef­forts to fur­ther bol­ster the sec­tor in­clude a €55-mil­lion in­vest­ment to build a Mediter­ranean Mar­itime Hub, to serve as the re­gional cen­tre of ser­vice sup­port for the ma­rine, oil, and gas in­dus­tries.”

He also spoke about the im­por­tance of yacht­ing within the mar­itime sec­tor stat­ing, “With nine yacht mari­nas across Malta and Gozo, our is­lands have be­come a des­ti­na­tion for yachts, and also su­per yachts”.

The min­is­ter fur­ther ex­plained how Malta has be­come a cen­tral at­trac­tion and des­ti­na­tion for cruise lin­ers. “Tourism from cruise lin­ers mak­ing a stop in the Grand Har­bour has be­come an all-year-round ac­tiv­ity, boost­ing our tourist ar­rivals to un­prece­dented records, while putting Malta firmly on the map of Mediter­ranean tourism itin­er­ar­ies.”

The Malta Freeport, the first tran­ship­ment hub in the Mediter­ranean re­gion, also en­joys pos­i­tive in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion as a re­li­able and cred­i­ble port. “It is equipped with 21 quay­side cranes, state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties and con­tainer-han­dling equip­ment, top-notch tech­nol­ogy, as well as ful­ly­trained per­son­nel and an un­matched qual­ity ser­vice com­ply­ing with the rel­e­vant ISO stan­dards.”

And through reg­u­lar ser­vices op­er­at­ing from Malta Freeport, clients reach 135 ports world­wide, 64 of which are in the Mediter­ranean and the Black Sea. “Malta Freeport is cur­rently op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity. An ex­ten­sion was ap­proved last March, and this €60-mil­lion in­vest­ment will in­crease the Freeport’s han­dling ca­pac­ity from three mil­lion Twenty-Foot Equiv­a­lent Units per an­num to four mil­lion.”

He con­cluded by say­ing Arvid Pardo, Father of the Law of the Sea, does not only rep­re­sent our past achieve­ments, “he also in­spires all of us to keep striv­ing in our ef­forts to make a mean­ing­ful im­pact in to­day’s world.”

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