The primary role of the Operations Department is to enforce the Authority’s laws, regulations and International instruments to which Belize is a signatory to under the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This is completed through our marine enforcement patrols, Port State control inspections, boarding and clearance of vessels engaged in international voyages, marine casualty investigations.
Belize has an international obligation under the Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to provide accurate hydrographic information to mariners to enhance navigational services and navigational aids. The Authority has seen an unprecedented increase in the detection of violations against our laws which is due to our emphasis on law enforcement.
The department is also responsible for:
- Inspection of all vessels that are registered and licensed in Belize.
- Conducting annual inspection & verification of the port facilities to enforce the requirements of the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code.
- Reviewing of any development which has the potential to impact the environment or safety of navigation. This involves reviewing any proposed over water structure and representing the Authority on the various committees which conduct public consultations, Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), and site inspections.
The Hydrography Unit is responsible for facilitating bathymetric surveys in order to properly chart the territorial waters of Belize. This includes the maintenance of accurate charts for safe navigation, which in turn serves to minimize damage to Belize’s unique marine environment and corals resulting from groundings and unsafe anchorage.
Stakeholder’s Meeting: 09 January, 2018:
A stakeholders meeting hosted by the Belize Port Authority (BPA) in collaboration with the Commonwealth Maritime Economies Programme was held on 8 January, 2018. The meeting was to update stakeholders on hydrographic surveys to be completed by Fugro Geo Services Inc. With the update of Belize’s nautical charts this will allow for Belize to meet its international obligation, identify areas of trade, and provide updated information to mariners navigating in Belize’s territorial waters.
Stakeholders in attendance were from the ports, non-government agencies and shipping stakeholders.
The Commonwealth Marine Economies (CME) Programme aims to support the sustainable growth of Commonwealth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) within the Caribbean and Pacific Ocean regions.
UKHO conducts seabed mapping in Belize to support marine economy
22 January, 2018. Following a stakeholder meeting with the Belize Port Authority and wider government earlier this month, priority areas will be surveyed, capturing sonar data of Belize’s main ports and approaches. High-frequency mapping sonars are being used which have no negative impact on its diverse ecosystems and marine life. The survey is expected to continue throughout February and will focus on areas including Belize City, Big Creek and Commerce Bight.
Information from the survey will be used to update nautical charts of the region, as well as helping Belize to meet its international maritime obligations, including respective elements of the Implementation of IMO Instruments Code (IIIC). These updated charts will reduce navigational risk and improve the safety of ships, cargo and crew. Data will also support a range of environmental and scientific applications, enabling Belize to better manage the marine environment in these areas.
By supporting safe navigation in the region, it is expected to bring economic benefits to Belize, by encouraging access for its growing cruise ship sector and maximizing the efficiency of trade by enabling ships to confidently increase cargo-carrying capacity.
All data will be made available to the Belize Port Authority and wider government once it has been processed and validated by teams at the UKHO. The data could also bring environmental benefits to the state, by facilitating the sustainable management of fisheries and other marine resources, as well as supporting coastal protection and management.
This work forms part of the CME Programme, a programme delivered on behalf of the UK Government by the UKHO, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). The programme aims to support the sustainable growth of Commonwealth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) by making the most of their natural economic and environmental resources 2018. Read More…
Aids to Navigation
The Belize Port Authority is the agency responsible for the maintenance of all aids to navigation within the territorial waters of Belize.
The Safety and Security Department vision is to provide safety at sea by providing all the necessary aids to navigation for the safe passage of vessels transiting or calling the territorial waters of Belize.
District Offices were established by the Belize Port Authority (BPA) to offer maritime and port services directly to local communities; and, to enforce BPA’s Laws. District Offices such as Punta Gorda and San Pedro facilitate the cross border passenger trade between Belize and its neighbours Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala.
The district offices in Placencia, Punta Gorda, Big Creek and San Pedro offer a range of support services.
- Vessel inspection
- Facilitation and invigilation of applicants sitting the Master’s Examinations
- Vessel clearances
- Boarding and Clearance
Punta Gorda Office
Big Creek Office
Punta Gorda Office
Big Creek Office
Punta Gorda Office
Big Creek Office
Port State Control
Port State control (PSC) is the inspection of foreign vessels in local ports to ensure that visiting vessels comply with the Conventions and Codes of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Maritime Labour Convention of International Labour Organization (ILO). These international conventions were developed to protect the safety of life, preserve property, protect the marine environment and ensure Seafarers’ well- being. The aim of PSC is to eliminate sub-standard shipping in order to ensure safer ships and cleaner oceans.
As a Member State of the Caribbean Memorandum of Understanding (CMOU) on port State Control, Belize participated in the first Concentrated Inspection Campaign (CIC) organized by the CMOU Secretariat which occurred during the period of 01 September to 30 November 2013. This campaign focused on MARPOL, Annex 1 which deals with oil pollution prevention. Member States inspected oil filtering equipment systems on board ships and investigated how sludge was disposed of.
The Authority has pledged to abide by the MOU and the consensus of its Committee by performing Port State Control (PSC) inspections of foreign ships in our national ports to verify that the condition of the ship and its equipment comply with the requirements of international regulations and that the ship are manned and operated in compliance with these rules.
The port State control officers have continously input inspection information into the Caribbean Maritime Information System (CMIS). This ensures that as many ships as possible are inspected but at the same time prevents ships from being unduly detained or delayed.
Currently the Authority has seven (07) trained port State control officers. The Authority recognizes that port State control (PSC) remains an effective entity in ensuring that un-seaworthy and substandard ships are kept away from the seas and that ship operators fulfill their responsibilities in accordance with international conventions.
Port State Control continues to have a significant impact on shipping, their method of operating and their maintenance.