PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The 2016 Annual General Meeting (AGM) is scheduled for April 6th at 6pm.
The boundaries of the Marine Park are between 18̊ ̊N and 17 ̊-57.0 N and 63 ̊-01.03 W and 63 ̊-04.05 W, in an area better known as “the Proselyte Reef Complex ". This area includes the island’s most ecologically and economical important marine habitat, including extensive coral reef areas and seagrass beds. The Man of War Shoal Marine Park, officially established on the 30th of December 2010, is a home and migratory stop over or breeding site for 3 IUCN Red List Species, 10 CITES Appendix I species and 89 Appendix II species.
It is an area with a relatively healthy population of marine mammals including migratory whales and dolphins, numerous species of shark, sea turtles and numerous fish species.Studies conducted by the St. Maarten Nature Foundation have shown that biodiversity in this area, particularly coral reef density, is high and the economic goods and services which the ecosystem provides are in excess of fifty million dollars annually.” It has been shown that no-fishing areas have resulted in an increase in fish stock. Therefore it is also in the interest of fishermen to adhere to the no catch rules of the Marine Park,” continued the Foundation.
During a patrol on Saturday morning the Foundation assisted a fisherman locate his fish traps which were placed legally outside of the Marine Protected Area.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – On Friday, March 18, a number of passengers on-board Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship was infected with an infectious virus. The vessel was boarded outside Port St. Maarten and was boarded by a Port Control Team that also included officials from the Ministry of Public Health and the Shipping & Maritime Authority, to gather further information with respect to the on-board virus.
While onboard, the Port Control Team were informed of additional cases, and based on this information and after further evaluation, it was decided in the interests of public health that the passengers and crew should not disembark. The causative agent at the time of inspection was unknown and the Captain was advised to return to homeport for vessel sanitation procedures.
The cruise ship industry from time to time suffers from the spread of gastrointestinal illnesses, and the Norovirus is a very contagious virus and the one that is most prominent. You can get the virus from an infected person, from contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up.
The Norwegian Gem which was outside Port St. Maarten left after the decision of the Port Control Team was made.
Norovirus outbreaks on cruise ships are common, and according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), outbreaks are found and reported more quickly on a cruise ship than on land.
The Norwegian Gem was the newest cruise ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet until the debut of Norwegian Epic. The vessel came into service in 2007 and has a gross tonnage of 93,530; is 965 feet in length; has 15 decks; carries 2384 passengers and 1154 crew.
The Norwegian Gem is the fourth of Norwegian’s Jewel class.
PORT ST. MAARTEN – Port St. Maarten officials are currently attending Seatrade Cruise Global in Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center in Florida which is from March 14-17.
Seatrade Cruise Global is the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry, which brings together buyers and suppliers for a four-day conference and three-day exhibition. The conference draws more than 11,000 registered attendees, over 800 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists. Experts, leaders and thought-makers of the cruise industry from the world’s largest cruise companies are the highlight of the conference.
The conference programs offer attendees a comprehensive roster of panel discussions and workshops featuring experts, leaders and thought-makers from the cruise industry.
On Monday the conference touched on Shorex and the Rise of Voluntourism. The latter is one of the fastest growing areas of travel with cruise lines and tour operators meeting these trends by offering volunteering opportunities or “social impact” travel. Conference attendees learnt how ports can adapt and cater to the voluntourism trend.
The second topic covered on Monday was Seasonality and its Impact on Deployment. The cruise industry is challenging the conventions of seasonal deployment. How far can the cruise season in traditional areas be extended and what are the challenges that this strategy throws up for cruise liens and destinations?
The two aforementioned are very interesting to the Port St. Maarten delegation attending the conference which includes Port Management and Supervisory Board of Directors.
Port St. Maarten will be discussing with cruise stakeholders during the four-day conference onshore developments; inland passenger and crew spending; deployment of vessels; and homeporting.
Homeporting would have a positive spin-off for the destination whereby cruise passengers would be spending two to three days prior to boarding the vessel for their cruise and upon return.
On Tuesday port officials attended the State of the Global Cruise Industry, which looked at the Cuba, expansion in Asia and other geo-political issues affecting the cruise industry. The world’s chief executives of the largest cruise companies including Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Line, and MSC Cruises, examined the aforementioned.
There was also a presentation and panel discussion related to the State of the Industry: Upscale Cruising. Panelists examined how upscale operators are meeting costly technology demands, such as free Wi-Fi, and how they’re differentiating their brands in today’s market.
The third workshop was on Global Ports and Terminals: Globalization Examined. This focused on the particular challenges of creating the right shore side facilities to match the needs of larger and more sophisticated ships, and how are they being addressed by the world’s leading cruise ports.
The other topic addressed on Tuesday was Cybercrime on the High Seas: How Cyber Attacks Occur and What You Can Do About Them. This presentation featured an expert on maritime cyber threats and an IT security executive from one of the major cruise lines discussed the latest attacks on maritime organizations, the threat actors who might target the shipping industry, and the specific methods that cyber criminals could use to target ships and their supporting networks.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - A male Gypsy taxi driver with initials H.C.C. operating in the vicinity of the A. C. Wathey Cruise Facility was arrested on Thursday March 17th at approximately 11.40 a.m. when he was approached by a police patrol and who were in the process of writing him a fine for illegal parking.
The suspect became very aggressive, using profanity and very insulting towards the officers.
At one point the suspect threatened one officer letting him to know he will be dealt with when he, the suspect, meets him alone on the road.
The officers decided to arrest the suspect who immediately started resisting the arrest.
The officers managed to put the suspect in handcuffs and took him to the police station for further investigation.
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The U.S. Coast Guard said a man from Michigan fell overboard north of Puerto Rico and swam roughly seven hours until he reached the U.S. territory.
Authorities on Tuesday said David Thompson was travelling to the Dominican Republic aboard his 49-foot (15-meter) boat when it was hit by a large wave. They said Thompson then swam until he reached Montones Beach in the northwest coastal town of Isabela on Monday.
They said he remains hospitalised. Thompson did not immediately return a message for comment.
The Coast Guard said it recovered Thompson’s boat in the Mona Passage that separates Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic. (AP)
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - After the destruction caused by Hurricane Gonzalo, the dock at the Red Cross St. Maarten was no exception to the hurricane’s fury.
The dock was used by persons with private boats and a small fee was charged, so one can imagine how challenging it has been for the organization as this was a source of income.
After assuming new management, one of the goals among many, was to restore the dock, and thanks to the many volunteers of the Red Cross St. Maarten and the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine this was accomplished on March 12th, 2016.
Red Cross is an internationally known organization, whose goals are to "to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found, to protect life and health, and ensure respect for the human being, in particular in times of armed conflict and other emergencies, to work for the prevention of disease and for the promotion of health and social welfare, to encourage voluntary service and a constant readiness to give help by the members of the Movement, and a universal sense of solidarity towards all those in need of its protection and assistance". We at Red Cross St. Maarten are proud to be celebrating our 40th Anniversary this year, with activities geared to promoting and bringing awareness to the general public on the importance of not only giving back to the community but being able to save lives.
Stay tuned for further announcements as we celebrate this milestone in recognizing the importance of the organization and the possibility to going forward by giving back.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – The St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) is working with the Sint Maarten Civil Aviation Authority to make sure that boaters are aware that there have been many complaints from concerned stakeholders about vessels with high masts mooring just outside of the yellow buoys in Maho Bay to observe the landing aircraft at the Princess Julianna International Airport.
The Civil Aviation Authority is concerned because sailboats’ masts are posing a hindrance to landing aircraft on runway 10 and the Department of Civil Aviation, Shipping and Maritime Affairs has on several occasions had to call the Coast Guard to escort vessels from the area in question.
While vessels are currently allowed to navigate and anchor outside of the yellow buoys in Maho Bay, the Civil Aviation Authority would like boaters’ cooperation in staying clear of the approach area for airplanes landing at Princess Julianna Airport, especially if they are sailboats because of the potential danger their masts pose to the aircraft. If boaters do not cooperate with this request the Civil Aviation Authority will be forced to move the yellow buoys further out in the bay.
The Board of the SMMTA has forwarded an official letter from the Sint Maarten Civil Aviation Authority to all of its members by e-mail and thanked Mr. Louis Halley of the Department of Civil Aviation, Shipping and Maritime Affairs for working with the SMMTA and all stakeholders to help resolve this issue.
“The SMMTA appreciates the open lines of communication with Mr. Halley and his team and we will do our best to help get the message out about not anchoring in the approach area for landing aircraft.”
GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The National Disaster Management Organization on Sint Maarten, through the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) in Cay Hill which is located at the Fire Department, will be participating in a regional Exercise called Caribe Wave Lantex 16 on Thursday, March 17.
The purpose of the exercise is to assist tsunami preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and Adjacent regions, including US and Canadian east coasts.
Caribe Wave Lantex 16 is a Caribbean Tsunami Warning Exercise. Sint Maarten’s ODM will focus on information exchange and cooperation with French Saint Martin along with the physical evacuation of the lower parts of a beach front resort.
Dummy warning messages will be issued to test communications with Tsunami Warning Focal Points and Emergency Management Organizations within the Region.
The exercise scenario will focus on a powerful earthquake just north of Venezuela that will trigger a tsunami throughout the Caribbean region. The effects on Sint Maarten/Saint-Martin will be a tsunami wave with a height of maximum three meters, as well as a second earthquake off the coast of the Dominican Republic an hour later. This means all beachfront properties will be effected under the exercise scenario.
Part of the exercise includes the organization of an evacuation of the lower levels of a beachfront hotel, namely Simpson Bay Resort and Marina, which is participating in exercise. The resort has responded with great enthusiasm and is fully cooperating with the exercise. ODM takes this opportunity to thank the resorts management for their participation.
The Intergovernmental Coordination Group for Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE EWS) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the US National Tsunami Hazard mitigation Program, are the entities involved in carrying out the tsunami exercise on March 17.
Sint Maarten is a member of the ICG/CARIBE EWS.
The tsunami warning exercise is being conducted to assist tsunami preparedness efforts throughout the Caribbean region. Recent tsunamis, such as those in the Indian Ocean (2004), Samoa (2009), Haiti and Chile (2010), and Japan (2011), attest to the importance of proper planning for tsunami response.
Historical tsunami records from sources such as the NOAA National Geophysical Data Center show that over 75 tsunamis with high validity have been observed in the Caribbean over the past 500 years.
These represent approximately 7-10 per cent of the world’s oceanic tsunamis. Earthquake, landslide, and volcanic tsunami sources have all impacted the region. Since 1843, almost 3,500 people have lost their lives to tsunamis in the Caribbean.
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