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NMSA concern over boat law delay

The National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) is equally concerned over the delay by the Madang Provincial Government to establish a Provincial Small Craft Registration Board.

Despite all offers of assistance by the Authority and numerous assurances from the provincial government over the last two years, a board is yet to be established.

NMSA General Manager/CEO, Paul Unas made these comments when commenting on a media article regarding the delay in the endorsement of the Small Craft Act (SCA) by the Madang Provincial Executive Council.

Since 2015 when the SCA came into force, NMSA has been actively encouraging the Madang provincial government to meet its legal obligations and establish a provincial Small Craft Registration Board. NMSA has already supplied the provincial administration with equipment and resources for the administration and enforcement of the Act.

Mr Unas said Provincial officers have received training from NMSA in anticipation of the small craft registration board being established by the Provincial Executive Council.

“However, despite numerous assurances from the Madang provincial government over the last two years, the board is yet to be established,” he said.

NMSA has begun a program of distributing free maritime safety equipment to registered boat owners through provincial small craft registration boards. It is unfortunate that boat owners and users in Madang Province may miss out on receiving such equipment due to the failure of the provincial government to act.

NMSA is only providing an oversight role in ensuring that these provinces effectively implement the SCA at the provincial levels. Currently, the Authority is conducting Small Craft Training to train Provincial Small Craft Officials to administer and enforce the SCA. The training is comprised of three modules covering Small Craft Registry operation, Small Craft Inspections (for seaworthiness) and enforcement of the Act. These trainings are expected to draw all provincial officials from the respective provinces including Small Craft officers (board members, the register and inspectors), police officers and Local Level Government managers.

Mr Unas said the implementation of the SCA is the responsibility of the provincial administrations by law as it clearly states in the Act itself. It is also their responsibility under the “The Determination Assigning Service Delivery Functions and Responsibilities To Provincial and Local-Level Governments.”

He said: “NMSA has a supporting role and provides training, equipment, funding for awareness activities and infrastructure improvement upon request from the provincial administrations at no cost to them. The main difficulty with the SCA implementation is that it relies on the provinces to appoint personnel, provide resources and having a commitment to the maritime safety of their people.”

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