Maritime Law Specialist Aims To Surface Marine Issues

Mrs. Agatha James Andries

Mrs. Agatha James Andries

Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
May 27, 2009 (SKNIS)

St. Kitts and Nevis now has a public specialist in Marine Law with the return of Mrs. Agatha James-Andries who recently graduated from the Maritime Law Institute in Malta.

Mrs. James-Andries, who is a Ministry of Social Development Senior Child Care Probation Officer as well as the Ministry’s Legal Advisor, said that she first became interested in marine law when she took her university course in public and private international law.  She said this course included aspects of Marine Law and she excelled in the subject.  As such, when the offer came up to go to the maritime law educational facility she was sought out as a likely candidate.

The Probation Officer said that in Malta the course members studied the laws of the sea and shipping laws.   She said subtopics falling under the laws of the sea included safety and security at sea, while shipping laws included safety of passengers and their luggage.  Mrs. Andries explained that the all the laws were base on international conventions and it was up to the different countries to incorporate the conventions into their local laws.  She said that in St. Kitts and Nevis they are mainly found in the Merchant Shipping Laws.

The Social Development Legal Advisor revealed that she had drafted the 2006 Bunkers Convention for St. Kitts and Nevis as her drafting project at university.  She said that bunkers is the type of oil that is carried on a ship for its own use or to assist other ships.  She noted that before she drafted the law, there was no compensation if there was a spill of this kind of oil.  The process is now moving forward, the legal advisor informed, since it is moving toward ratification.

Mrs. Andries stressed the importance of the sea noting that it is still a viable means of travel, and home to sea creatures, making it a means of livelihood for many.  However, she did note that while the course focuses on the sea, what takes place on land, has an impact particularly when it comes to pollution.  The Legal Advisor said that 99.8 percent of what ends up in the sea is caused by man and originates on land.  She emphasized that it is the duty of man to protect both the land and sea.

Truly passionate about her new field, Mrs. Andries said that she thoroughly enjoyed the course, and was pleasantly surprised when she received the Regional Marine Emergency Centre Award at the graduation ceremony.  At the same time, she has not forgotten about her first love, her social development work.  The Senior Child Care Probation Officer said that she represents the department in court when necessary and continues to do mediation exercises with husbands, wives and children.  Along the same vein, she is willing to do lectures and other types of presentations in maritime law because she feels that the subject is very important.

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