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ENBP steps up to SCA roll out - Papua New Guinea National Maritime Safety Authority

East New Britain Small Craft Registry and Board is way ahead in terms of implementing the Small Craft Act 2011 throughout the Maritime Provinces in the New Guinea Islands region. (NGI)

And its provincial administration allocates a yearly budget of K100,000.00 to roll out the SCA within the province.

This was revealed during the 2-day NGI small craft implementation review workshop in Kimbe, West New Britain Province recently. The workshop was officially launched by the Secretary of Transport, Mr Roy Mumu and NMSA’s GM/CEO, Mr Paul Unas as well as First Secretary to the Minister for Transport, Mr John Tuka.

The two-day workshop which was organised by the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) Small Craft Officer-NGI region, Ben Elvis, provided an opportunity for the participants to provide a comprehensive report of their respective provinces’ achievements & challenges as well as the difficulties & constraints.

The workshop was told that East New Britain Province had launched its Small Craft Registry and Board in 2019. Soon after, the provincial executive council had directed the provincial administration to allocate K200,000.00 yearly specifically for search & rescue and the administration as well as the coordination of the Act within the province.

Since the commencement of the registration, 14 inspectors have been inducted and gazetted to roll out the SCA and 108 applications have been issued to boat owners for the two districts of Kokopo & Rabaul whilst awareness have only been conducted in Gazelle & Pomio and 10 boat owners voluntarily registered after the continuous awareness on various medium.

Small Craft Registrar, Aimo Kalaivi said: “Since the launching of the Registry & Board, there has been improved adherence to the sea safety rules & regulations by the general public. This has been proven as boat owners and operators are voluntarily coming to the Registry wanting more information about the SCA and even registering their boats.”

He said the Registry had initially planned a massive roll out of the SCA this year. However, this did not eventuate due to COVID-19. We had planned to bring registration to where the boats were, at boat stops. In doing so, we make it convenient for the boat owners and operators.

Mr Kalaivi said allocated fund have greatly helped to establish a fully functional and well-resourced office with two staff.

ENBP SCA Board member, Don Tokunai and whose also Director, Disaster & Emergency Division in the province said there’s fair representation on the Board as there’s a wide representation of police, disaster, boat owners as well as women/children.

He said the ENBP SCA Registry and its Board are committed to promoting sea safety culture to the people of ENB and anticipates to do more to see boat owners, operators and passengers comply with this Act.

While West New Britain province provided a report on the how its registry and board had progressed the implementation of the SCA in terms registering small crafts, issuing load regulations for cargoes as well as passengers and distributing of life jackets only to those boat owners and operators who are registered under its provincial Small Craft Registration Board.

Both Manus & New Ireland provinces also provided their respective review on the SCA report.

Since the gazettal of the SCA in 2015 and its roll out, to date, 12 out of the 15 Maritime Provinces have establish their respective Small Craft Registration Boards & Registry Offices.

Of the 12 provinces, eight provinces of West Sepik, East Sepik, Oro, Milne Bay, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, West New Britain & East New Britain have actually commenced registration whilst the other four provinces of New Ireland, Manus, Western & National Capital District are yet to be in operation due to being recently established by their Provincial Executive Council (PEC) and Administration.

The other three remaining provinces to fully implement this legislation are Madang, Central & Gulf provinces.

NMSA, with funding from Australian Aid, through the Transport Sector Support Program, has provided in 14 provinces, training, administrative support, office refurbishment, IT, safety equipment, and community awareness activities. Since the Act was gazetted over 600 small craft officials and police have been trained in administering and enforcing the Act. Over 20 community awareness sessions have been conducted and 10,000 small craft safety brochures, posters and booklets distributed. A boat operator in Milne Bay Province was convicted of a serious Small Craft offence and sentenced for 5 years under the SCA.

The workshop was told that despite assistance from NMSA, some provinces still face with difficulties & constraints either with their respective administration or PEC to establish their registries and boards in order to fully implement this law.

The Southern regional workshop will be staged on the 10 & 11 of next month in Alotau, Milne Bay Province.

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