The National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) is committed to effectively roll out the Small Craft Act 2011 in the 15 Maritime Provinces in Papua New Guinea to ensure safety standards at sea are adhered to by owners of small crafts.

Effective implementation of the Act in all 15 Maritime Provinces is one of the key objectives of NMSA’s operations, in particular, the safety program that aims to improve safety while traveling at sea.

NMSA provides the overall leadership to ensure the Act is effectively implemented by the respective provincial governments through the establishment of Provincial Small Craft Registration Boards. The Provincial Small Crafts Registration Boards are tasked to promote safety by ensuring that owners of all small crafts who ferry passengers are registered, licensed and monitored.

During the Consultative Implementation and Monitoring Council’s (CIMC) Sea Transport Sub-Committee meeting held recently, NMSA revealed that the number of incidents at sea was lower than the previous years after the roll out of the Act.

The Act empowers Provincial Governments to enact safety guidelines and rules for small craft operators and their passengers; gives them the power to prosecute those not complying with the Act; and planning on infrastructures that can confine or provide designated berthing bay for the small craft to maintain order.

The subcommittee heard that 14 out of the 15 Maritime Provinces in PNG have all implemented the Act in collaboration with the NMSA. The only province that has not implemented the Act is Madang Province though numerous calls were made to the Honourable Governor and his administration highlighting the importance of setting up the Provincial Small Crafts Registration Board.

The Subcommittee while commending the efforts of NMSA, expressed its disappointment that Madang has been experiencing the highest sea incidents according to statistics presented by the NSMA including loss of many innocent lives in the last few years, yet it does not see this as important and life saving measure. Therefore the Subcommittee called on the Honourable Governor, Peter Yama, the Open Members of Parliament for Madang Province and the Madang Provincial Administration to set this up immediately before the elections as a gift to the people of Madang.

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