PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Over the course of three days, February 22nd to February 25th of this year, St. Maarten underwent another Bi-annual Country Assessment.
Two facilities were assessed, namely, the A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facilities and Chevron Bulk Station. The facilities were found to be in satisfactory compliance and no major non-conformities were found.
There were some recommendations made, which the local ISPS Committee will be working diligently to implement in order to correct the non-conformities and increase the level of compliance.
International Port Security Liaison Officers (IPSLO) Steven J. Boyle, David Otani and Chaning D. Burgess, along with Mario Biabiany in his capacity as the St. Maarten RSO (Recognized Security Organization) and Claudius Carty of Shipping & Maritime Affairs/ISPS Committee, visited the aforementioned facilities and conducted said assessments.
The IPSLOs, in U.S. Coast Guard Activities, engage with over 150 partner nations, territories and countries worldwide. The U.S. Coast Guard’s International Port Security (IPS) Program was established in 2003 to reinforce implementation of the ISPS Code as part of the U.S. Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA).
Through the assessment of ISPS Code implementation and other anti-terrorism security measures in foreign ports and through bilateral discussions to share and align port security practices, the Coast Guard IPS Program seeks to reduce risks to ports and ships, and to the entire maritime transport system.
As an internationally accepted blueprint for maritime security measures, the ISPS Code serves as a sound foundation from which countries can build their own domestic maritime security system.
Through its IPS Program, the U.S. Coast Guard is committed to assisting those nations that have not fully implemented the ISPS Code. They are also committed to furthering their engagement and security dialogue with their maritime trading partners that are moving beyond the ISPS Code through advancements in their maritime operational capabilities, maritime situational awareness, and maritime governance.
These efforts require international cooperation between the maritime industry and all flag and port states. By exchanging port security-related information and sharing best practices, we can better protect the international maritime transport system through the application of adequate and proportionate security measures.
Ultimately, vessels arriving in the United States from foreign ports with adequate security measures are less likely to be targeted for port state control actions. This reduces potential delays and facilitates safe and secure maritime trade.
In the Photo L-R : Chaning D. Burgess, Louis Halley, Miguel de Weever, David Otani, Steven J . Boyle, Claudius Carty.
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - Port St. Maarten Management wishes all participants and visitors to the 36th Annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta a safe and enjoyable event.
The Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority would like to advise motorists in connection with the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta activities in the Simpson Bay area during the next few days, to avoid passing through the aforementioned area if heading to the Airport/Maho/Beacon Hill/Low Lands, and/or for those heading to Cole Bay/Philipsburg, to use the Causeway Bridge instead. This would help with lessening traffic congestion in the Simpson Bay area.
Additional bridge openings in connection with the regatta are as follows: Friday, 8.00AM; Friday, 6.00PM; Saturday, 8.00AM; Sunday, 8.00AM.
Secondly, motorists are advised to pay attention to the bridge STOP LIGHTS and BOOMS, and to respect and observe the aforementioned once they have been activated alerting motorists that the bridge will be opening. This is in the interests of safety for motorists.
At the Walter Plantz Square, there will be a “Special Fireball Friday” dance party which starts at 5.00pm and roll on to 1.00am.
Come Rock your night away with the ladies of sound DJ Colayshan, DJ Lil R and non-other than House DJ, the party Rocker DJ EM!!!
There will be performances by Singing Olivia, Keila Michelle, Roxxy, Lolita and Guest Performance by The one, the only Shadowman!
At the Walter Plantz Square, you will also have the opportunity to patronize three restaurants – Irie Gardens, Lay Back Bar & Grill, Oranje Café - that would have great drink specials along with great dinning all night. It’s Walter & Heineken - Make sure you are there; can you say WALTER!!!!
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The Essilor Vision Foundation is committed to eliminating poor vision and its lifelong consequences, and to providing underprivileged people the opportunity to live a better life through better sight.
Since 2008 the Essilor Vision Foundation has provided more than 690,000 screenings to individuals in need with the help of many partners.
As part of a collaborative initiative with the Kidz at Sea Foundation, Essilor’s Dr. Howard Purcell with 8 team members arrived on St. Maarten on Monday February 29th to conduct eye exams for the Kidz At Sea participants as well as participants of other affiliated Foundations at the Milton Peter College (MPC).
On March 1st and 2nd approximately 100 eye exams were performed. First at MPC for the youth participants and then the doctor and his team moved to the White and Yellow Cross.
Due to the very limited time of the visit, the patients most in need were coordinated via the Ministry of VSA and the White and Yellow Cross to receive an eye examination and prescription eye glasses if needed.
All exams performed by Essilor Vision Foundation and all glasses needed are provided free of charge to the patients, including prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses (frames and lenses) if needed.
This generous increase of care and support to The Kidz at Sea Foundation and by extension the greater St. Maarten Community is overwhelming and we cannot describe how fortunate we are to have Essilor onboard with us as we sail the 36th annual St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.
Students that have trouble with their studies because of poor vision have been granted a brand new opportunity to see a brighter future. For the Elderly and rehabilitative patients, life just got a little bit sweeter.
Minister of VSA Emil Lee commented, "I am so impressed with the generosity of Essilor Vision Foundation to the people of St Maarten.
Their contribution of time, energy and expertise has helped to improve the quality of life for many of St Maarten's most vulnerable especially our elderly that are in the care of the White and Yellow Cross.
Besides helping to check so many students at Milton Peters College and patients of the White and Yellow Cross, the team from Essilor made time for some of the neediest of our people. A special thanks to Dr. Howard Purcell, Ellen Haag, Laura Healy, Roni Kennison of Essilor and to St. Maarten’s Lorraine Talmi, Garth Steyn, Bregje Boetekees, and Peggy-Ann Dros for their contributions to making this possible.”
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – On February 25, 2016 an article appeared in the local media in which the Sint Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA) misinforms the general public about the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) N.V. As the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies values truth, transparency, and integrity, the latter would like to set the record straight.
Who is SLAC?
SLAC is a company that was incorporated in 2002 by Sint Maarten Economic Development Corporation N.V., a fully owned company of the Country Sint Maarten, formerly the Island Territory of Sint Maarten (the Government). In 2009, the Government decided to transfer the shares of SLAC to the Sint Maarten Ports Authority N.V., which is part of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies.
What does SLAC do?
SLAC’s main tasks consist of:
- operating and maintaining the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge in Simpson Bay
- collecting the bridge fees for the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge
- collecting the mooring fees in the Simpson Bay Lagoon
- supporting the Government in creating policies for the management and administration of the Simpson Bay Lagoon
- maintaining the shipping lanes and mooring facilities in the Simpson Bay Lagoon
- monitoring activities of vessels and persons in the Simpson Bay Lagoon, including possible waste and fuel disposals, and report any incidents or irregularities to the competent authorities of the Government
- advising the Government on development matters of the Simpson Bay Lagoon
- operating the Simpson Bay Causeway
On what legal basis does SLAC perform these tasks?
On the basis of a management agreement that was entered into in 2003 between SLAC and the Government; the Ordinance Harbour Fees, and the Ordinance Bridge Fees. SLAC operates the Simpson Bay Causeway based on an agreement with Simpson Bay Causeway N.V., which is part of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies.
Does SLAC receive any funds from Government?
No, it does not. Its sole source of income is the collection of bridge fees for the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge and mooring fees for the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Does SLAC determine the bridge fees and mooring fees?
No, it does not. SLAC collects the aforementioned fees, but does not determine the fee structure or the amount that vessels need to pay for passing the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge or to moor in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. This is done by Government via the Ordinance Harbour Fees, and the Ordinance Bridge Fees.
What does SLAC do with the fees it collects?
The collected fees are used to operate and maintain the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge; and to maintain the shipping lines and the mooring facilities in the Simpson Bay Lagoon. This includes repayment of large capital expenses incurred in connection with the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge.
Does SLAC make a profit?
No, it does not. The fees it collects are insufficient to properly operate, maintain, repair and replace the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge, and pay for other required expenses. The J.S. Lejeuz Bridge is near the end of its life cycle. This is one of the main reasons why the Simpson Bay Causeway was constructed, to guarantee continuous traffic flow in Sint Maarten once the J.S. Lejeuz Bridge needs to be replaced.
Does SLAC compete with the marina industry in the Simpson Bay Lagoon?
No, it does not. SLAC does not operate a marina in the Simpson Bay Lagoon; SLAC does not own any marina slips; SLAC does not provide goods to vessels that make use of private marina’s in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Does SLAC in any form or shape regulate the marine business in the Simpson Bay Lagoon?
No, it does not. Its role is limited to collecting bridge fees and mooring fees and supporting and advising the Government on matters relating to the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Who regulates the marine business in the Simpson Bay Lagoon?
The Government regulates the marine business in the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
Does SLAC have any environmental control over the Simpson Bay Lagoon?
No, it does not. Its role is limited to reporting any incidents to the competent authorities of the Government.
Who is currently the competent authority for environmental matters concerning the Simpson Bay Lagoon?
The Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) of the Government of Sint Maarten.
Is the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies subject of any civil inquiry investigations by the Public Prosecutor?
No, it is not. The Public Prosecutor has requested the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies to provide information in view of possible civil inquiry investigations, and full cooperation has been given. To this date the Public Prosecutor has not seen any reason to file a request for any civil inquiry proceedings against the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies.
Is the managing director of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies subject to any investigations or security screening?
No, he is not. There are no investigations into the managing director, and in 2015 he successfully passed the mandatory screening by the Sint Maarten Security Service. He is the only managing director of a port or marina in Sint Maarten that has to date successfully passed such screening.
Are managing directors of commercial marina’s also subject to security screenings?
Yes, they are. Security screenings are to be performed in respect of designated confidential positions within the vital sectors of Sint Maarten. One of the sectors that has been designated as of vital interest to Sint Maarten is the sector of commercial sea harbors. This includes managing directors of all commercial sea harbors in Sint Maarten. To the knowledge of the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies, such managing directors have not complied with their statutory duty to undergo and pass such security screenings.
The Port St. Maarten Group of Companies expects that in the future, the SMMTA, of which the Port St. Maarten Group of Companies is also a member, will refrain from further incorrect statements about one of its members, Port St. Maarten Group of Companies and SLAC in particular.
COLE BAY, St. Maarten – On March 1st the Save Our Sharks Project of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance will launch a petition calling for better protection of sharks in the territorial waters of Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, Saba, the rest of the Dutch Caribbean and the Netherlands.
On a global scale, sharks are threatened by overfishing and destruction of their habitat. By signing the petition, people can show their support for shark conservation and encourage decision makers to protect these critical yet misunderstood creatures. The petition asks for the strengthening of legal instruments, implementation of concrete protective measures in all waters, a permanent ban on shark finning and fishing on St Maarten and improved international coordination with regard to sharks in the wider Caribbean.
Tadzio Bervoets, Manager of the St. Maarten Nature Foundation and Chair of the Save our Sharks Project commented that harks are not frightening or dangerous, and they play an essential role as predators to keep the sea healthy; “Unfortunately 25% of all shark species are threatened with extinction worldwide, therefore, we are now asking all inhabitants of the Kingdom to speak up for protection of these extraordinary animals. Shark populations around St. Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba and St. Eustatius have declined and we need these top predators to maintain the health of the reef and fish stocks around the island. They also add direct economic benefits through the amount of dive-tourist sharks attract.”
The petition is part the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) Save our Sharks Project, a shark conservation initiative of the nature organizations collaborating in the DCNA), and is funded by the Dutch National Postcode Lottery.
During Sint Maarten Shark Week which is to be held from the 18th to the 26th of June, the petition will be presented to the Council of Ministers of Sint Maarten. During Shark Week a range of activities organized in both the Netherlands and on all six islands will take place focusing on sharks and their importance to the well-being of our oceans and seas.
The petition can be signed online on: http://saveoursharks.nl/en/events/petition/
For any sailors interested in rubbing elbows with this amazing group of sailors, entries are still being allowed and competitors will be able to enter during registration as well, which takes place on Tuesday March 1st through Thursday March 3rd 2016.
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