Bert Smith Takes Helm at Maritime Authority of Jamaica

Maritime Authority of Jamaica
Bertrand (Bert) Smith, Director General, Maritime Authority of Jamaica.

Published May 18, 2024 12:03 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: Maritime Authority of Jamaica\

The Maritime Authority of Jamaica now has a new leader at the helm. Bertrand “Bert” Smith has been appointed Director General and has vowed to deepen international and regional partnerships.

Taking up his appointment, Mr. Smith said: “Partnerships will play a big role in the modernisation of the Jamaican shipping industry and the promotion of sustainable shipping in our waters and the MAJ looks forward to deepening its partnerships with private and public stakeholders in the local and international shipping industry”. 

Mr. Smith is already familiar on the international maritime stage. He has led Jamaican delegations at regional and international level and is the current head of delegation to two major IMO Committees, namely the Legal Committee and the Marine Environment Protection Committee.  He also represents Jamaica at the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds and at maritime-related ILO meetings. 

He currently serves as Member of the IMO Panel of Experts on the STCW Convention and his expertise in maritime law led to his engagement by the IMO and in the Caribbean region on matters related the implementation of  IMO treaties and merchant shipping legislation respectively.

Looking forwards he commented: “With a strong Board of Directors, a capable and professional staff, and the excellent foundation laid by Rear Admiral Brady, the MAJ is in a great position to address the ‘3Ds’ of shipping: decarbonization, digitalisation and data protection, while also building the local maritime cluster and providing leadership for the Caribbean region at the IMO”.

Mr. Smith is an Attorney-at-Law and a graduate of  the Norman Manley Law School and the World Maritime University in Sweden with expertise in maritime and international law. Prior to his appointment on April 2nd he served as the MAJ’s Director, Legal Affairs and was a member of the senior executive team. Mr. Smith is only the second Director General of the MAJ since its inception in 1999. He succeeds Rear Admiral Peter Brady.

Bert Smith has been the primary driving force for modernising Jamaica’s maritime legal framework including the ratification and implementation of a number of IMO and ILO Conventions and the promulgation of legislation to regulate shipping in Jamaica.

He currently chairs national committees responsible for the implementation of the MARPOL and Ballast Water Management Conventions and is spearheading Jamaica’s efforts to accede to the International Convention on the Facilitation of Maritime Traffic. 

Mr. Smith also served as the Attorney for the MAJ’s mega yacht and commercial ship registries, advising on a wide range of matters including ship and mortgage registration and seafarer claims and  is the current Chair of the Maritime Law Committee of the Jamaican Bar Association.  

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