Shipping laws reviewed

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 09th Febuary 2012

A REVIEW of the Merchant Shipping Act is underway by the National Maritime and Safety Authority (NMSA) with concerns raised to penalise boat owners breaking the laws.
NMSA executive manager (operations) Capt Narur Rahman confirmed yesterday that the law had been under review since last year and that they were still in the process of making the necessary amendments.
“It is being revisited. It is not easy coming up with an Act. It is a long process but we are going to ensure all international shipping standards will be enforced,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.
His comments came after concern was raised by a former employee of Rabaul Shipping who said the laws needed to be revisited so that such things like the purchase of shipping vessels, either new or secondhand, were properly addressed.
Narur said shipowners had a “tendency of reluctance” to do scheduled safety checks.
The former employee, Pascal Yali, said the economical lifespan of a ship, barge or boat was equally important as many were currently sailing the waters without the basic safety requirements such as small red buckets and axes at strategic locations on the vessel, fire extinguishers, life rafts and qualified trained people on board who knew how to react during disasters.
“In the past, it was very strict.
“If you did not have the buckets and axes at strategic locations, you had your boat on dry dock until they are fitted and allowed to sail,” Yali said.
“Boat owners are now only interested in making money.”