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NMSA warns of boating during bad weather

The National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) has strongly warned small boat owners, operators and passengers particularly in the Southern region to reconsider any sea voyage during this recent severe weather conditions.

The Authority’s General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Paul Unas issued this warning after the continuous heavy downpour and strong winds experienced in these affected areas over the weekend which resulted in a number of boating incidents.

NMSA Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) had recorded serial reported incidents of this current severe weather. Incident in Apiope village, Gulf Province saw 28 survivors and 2 still missing, incident between Madang and West New Britain saw 3 survivors with 3 persons missing  while in Musa village in Popondetta a banana boat capsized with 2 adults still missing and 3 surviving teenagers.

Mr Unas said small boat owners, operators and passengers’ must take extra precaution and may need to reconsider planning boat trips during this time.

NMSA has invested large amounts of safety at sea awareness at national and provincial levels through print, TV and radio. These include requiring improvements to boat design and free distribution for life jackets. For this current weather, provincial small craft boards have be notified and asked to get the alert through their provincial networks.

Mr Unas said: “Safety is the responsibility of the boat owners, operators and passengers. Sea voyage should not occur in severe weather conditions. Boats should not be overloaded. Safety equipment and extra fuel should be carried always.”

He said: “No matter what laws and standards are put in place, people will continue to be lost at sea if dinghies continue to be overloaded, run out of fuel, travel in bad weather, consumption of alcohol by boat operators or passengers, etc. These bad decisions that directly cause loss of life at sea are made by the operators of the dinghies and the passengers who decide to travel with them.”

NMSA reminds governments of the 15 maritime provinces of their responsibility to ensure a high level maritime safety is enforced on people who rely on the sea for their livelihood and sustenance.

These provinces must take full responsibility and ownership to ensure the Small Craft Act (SCA) 2011 is effectively implemented and administered to improve and promote sea safety for small boat owners, operators and passengers, especially those who use the sea as their main way of transportation.

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