The Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) recently held its graduation ceremony in Kingston, Jamaica. Seaboard Marine’s Stephen Bell, Vice President of the Caribbean, and his father, Robert Bell, a long-standing member and former president of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), conferred the annual Robert Bell Award. The award, a scholarship meant to bolster the shipping industry, was given to Gavae Burton for his outstanding performance in port management.

Robert Bell has been working in the shipping industry since the 1950s. As part of a lengthy career in the maritime sector, the senior Bell has been an executive with Kirk Line and Seaboard Marine. He also served as the president of the SAJ in 1974 and 1975.

Several Caribbean countries have benefited from the contributions of Robert Bell. He was instrumental in the transportation of containers to St. Lucia, and assisted Bermuda with the organization of their maritime operations and labor management. He also helped develop labor practices and container management systems for Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and St. Maarten. Robert Bell currently serves as a consultant to Seaboard Marine.

In 2014, Robert Bell received an honorary award from Derrick Kellier, the Labor, Social Security and Agricultural Minister of Jamaica, for his impactful contributions to the shipping industry in Jamaica.

The junior Bell followed in his father’s footsteps of contributing in the improvement of the Caribbean maritime sector. He became the general manager of the Caribbean Shipping Association from 2003 to 2008. Now as Seaboard Marine’s Vice President of the Caribbean, Stephen continues with the Bell contributions to the Caribbean shipping industry.

Stephen Bell said, “With this award, we can continue to have a lasting impact on strengthening both Jamaica’s and the Caribbean’s presence in the shipping industry. The student we select every year will showcase themselves as a leader in this industry, ready to lead the next generation. Gavae Burton is most deserving of this inaugural award.”

The Caribbean Maritime University is the premier educational institution of choice for higher learning, training, research, and maritime consultancy in the Western Hemisphere. Established initially to train professional seafarers, CMU has extended its reach globally and is today recognized as a center of excellence for tertiary maritime and logistics education in the Caribbean.