WMU Moderates “Maritime Lebanon: Safety and Security of Shipping” Webinar

Screenshot courtesy of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development

As part of the “Maritime Lebanon” webinar series run and commissioned by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the World Maritime University (WMU) engineered and moderated the second webinar offering delivered on 13 July 2021 under the theme “Safety and Security of Shipping.” 

Dr Aref Fakhry, WMU Associate Professor, moderated the webinar that brought together a panel of four speakers from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), the Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transport, and a local ship agency and surveying company, Admiral Ship Management. The webinar took place just prior to the first anniversary of the Beirut port’s devastating explosion, which happened on 4 August 2020. The disaster led to at least 207 deaths and 7,500 injuries, an estimated US$15 billion in property damage, and left an estimated 300,000 people homeless. 

The webinar featured an open and frank discussion on the challenges facing Lebanon in the implementation of international conventions and regulations aimed at the safety and security of ports and shipping. WMU alumnus, Capt. Hassan Chaaban (MSc 1987), Technical Advisor at the Directorate General of Land and Maritime Transport of the Lebanese Ministry of Public Works and Transport, presented several challenges facing Lebanon including obsolescent or inexistent laws and regulations, insufficient human resources in maritime agencies, and the need for internal oversight and accountability mechanisms. 

Remarks from His Excellency, Mr Kitack Lim, IMO’s Secretary-General, were conveyed to the webinar by Mr Joseph Westwood-Booth, Senior Deputy Director of the Subdivision for Marine Technology and Cargoes, Maritime Safety Division of the IMO, who indicated that the situation at the port of Beirut had been closely monitored since the explosion. Mr Westwood-Booth highlighted that the momentum caused by the disaster could be beneficial in reassessing internal processes and encouraged Lebanon’s active participation in various IMO meetings.

Mr Fabrizio Pirelli, Project Officer for Technical Assistance to European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries at EMSA, spoke first-hand about the findings of a gap analysis recently completed by WMU staff on behalf of EMSA. “One major gap impeding the transposition of international conventions [in Lebanon] is the absence of a strategic plan for the maritime sector,” Mr. Pirelli explained. 

For his part, Capt. Jamil Sayegh, CEO & Principal Consultant/Surveyor, Admiral Ship Management, acting as Lloyd’s agents in Lebanon, gave a candid appreciation of the implementation issues surrounding the application of safety and security standards in Lebanese ports and on board Lebanese-registerd vessels.  

The webinar was the second in a series highlighting different aspects of the maritime sector in Lebanon. The webinar series is designed as a platform for transparent discussion by experts on the potentials and challenges facing the maritime sector, including coordinated border security management in Lebanon. The discussions are expected to support the development of a National Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) in Lebanon. The series’ first webinar, designed and moderated by WMU, was held on 27 May 2021. It highlighted the prerequisites for sound maritime governance in the Lebanese national context and the importance of maritime and marine management in Lebanon as well as the need to further integrate international actors in this domain, the fundamental role of civil society and the private sector, and the absolute necessity of implementing existing laws and international Conventions.

WMU has been supporting ICMPD in the development of Lebanon’s National Integrated Maritime Policy and the webinar provided the opportunity for wider exposure to the project. WMU’s role will be instrumental in providing expertise to direct the national maritime policy-building process.

To view the recorded webinar, click here.

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