Guyana’s Maritime Administration Department (MARAD) on Thursday evening kicked off the 24th Annual Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) Port State Control Committee Meeting, which will run for a three-day period.A section of the gathering at the launching of the 24th Annual Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) Port State Control Committee MeetingThe CMOU will see the Caricom member states along with Aruba, Bermuda, Cuba, Curacao, the Netherlands, France, as well as representatives from intra-governmental organisations such as the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the IMO and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and a few commercial shipping interests discussing measures that can be taken to improve the working and living conditions of seafarers in the Caribbean.The meeting is geared at addressing issues related to the inspection of ships, to verify the requirements of international contention and that they are manned and operated in accordance with these rules.It also aims to eliminate substandard vessels in order to ensure safety at sea and cleaner oceans.A representative of the Public Infrastructure Ministry highlighted the urgency in which Guyana is working with its fellow member states to protect its waterways as the country is presently gearing for the booming oil and gas sector.“I believe that this meeting is truly significant since it is taking place at a time when our nation is focusing on the development of the oil and gas sector which predictably will change its social economic landscape. Given the reality that the exploration of petroleum is taking place in Guyana exclusive economic zone, it is obvious that there would be an intensification of shipping activities in the country as well as in our international and internal waters, this new development, of course, will see new challenges relative to shipping and shipping-related activities” the Ministry’s representative noted.He revealed that the Government of Guyana is also looking to improve the maritime legislative framework so that Guyana could be better prepared to develop the oil and gas industry.In order to further the aims of the CMOU, MARAD’s representative in his remarks noted that the department must continue to consult and cooperate with the other authorities.“We must continue to consult, cooperate and exchange information with the other authorities in order to further the aims of the memorandum. It is very heartened to see that this organisation has grown to when it was eighteen but has now become twenty with more states to be added. This increase in membership will provide continuous promotion of the values and objectives of the CMOU to member states, thereby encouraging them to be involved and encouraging new members to join the organisation” the MARAD representative posited.Guyana is a founding member of the CMOU for Port State Control in the Caribbean Region. It was established on February 9, 1996, in Barbados.Other founding members include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, the Netherland Antilles, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.This is the second year that Guyana is hosting the meeting, the first time being in 2002.