Marine Pollution Prevention – High Priority for Caribbean States 
Prime Minister Stephenson King confirmed the commitment of the Government of Saint Lucia to protect the coastal and marine environment from land and marine based sources of pollution, when he opened a national seminar on the ratification and implementation of Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78). Prime Minister King stated that “we as a people, as much as we continue to promote our country as paradise, must also ensure…that we protect our environment, not only the land, but also the sea.”
The seminar was held on November 12th aboard the MV Freewinds berthed at Point Seraphine and was attended by over 100 participants, which included policy makers, environmental officials, maritime administrators, waste management authorities, and students from the Leon Hess Secondary School, the Ciceron Secondary School, and St. Mary’s College.
An important outcome of the discussions during the seminar was the decision by several governmental agencies to take the necessary actions required to have the Wider Caribbean Region declared a “Special Area” in respect of pollution by garbage from ships. They also agreed to adopt a more coordinated approach to implement national obligations of relevant multilateral environmental agreements.
The event was organized by the Regional Activity Center / Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Information and Training Center for the Wider Caribbean Region (RAC/REMPEITC-Caribe), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) through its Caribbean Environment Program (CEP), and the M/V FREEWINDS. It was co-hosted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Economic Planning, Investment and National Development
“Special Areas” are particular bodies of water which, because of their oceanographic characteristics and ecological significance, require protective measures more strict than those applicable in other ocean areas. Within “Special Areas” that are in effect internationally, the only authorized garbage discharge from vessels is food waste, except under emergency circumstances.
Additional pollution prevention seminars have been planned during the port visits of the M/V FREEWINDS to the following islands: Barbados on November 14; Dominica on November 16; Saint Kitts on November 19; and Antigua on November 21.