MAJOR REDUCTION IN OPERATING FEES FOR SHIPPING INDUSTRY ANNOUNCED

Caption:?CEO of Maritime Safety Authority, Neal Slack and the Ministry of Works, Transport & Public Utilities permanent secretary, Francis Kean.

Ship and boat operators will see a major reduction in ship operating fees with the implementation of the new Maritime Transport and the Ship Registration Decree next year.

A joint conference held today at Kadavu House between the CEO of Maritime Safety Authority, Neal Slack and the Ministry of Works, Transport & Public Utilities permanent secretary, Francis Kean announced the implementation date of the Maritime Transport Decree 2013 and Ship Registration Decree 2013.

December 4th?of last year saw the Cabinet endorsing the replacement legislation to the Maritime Transport Decree (MTD) and Ship Registration Decree (SRD) and approved the gazettal last July.

?The new decrees will be enforced on March 5th?2014 to allow boat operators and the Maritime Industry at large to prepare and familiarise themselves with the contents of this 2 very important decrees before we actually enable the enforcement process come March,? said Kean.

The Maritime Safety Authority has already started with their training program.

?There is a team in the west undertaking training by the police in accident investigations as well as various other skills from the Police, FICAC and also the DPP?s office which will be ongoing throughout across every officer in the organization

Mr Slack ensures the team will continue to expand the awareness program especially in the remote rural areas to inform people about the existing legislation but also educating and bringing them up-to-date with the change and transition with the new legislation.

?We are in the process of recruiting three additional teams which will involve a small craft surveyor, an awareness individual and an admin support person to support them. Now there will be a mobile operation through all the remote and rural areas to ensure that when the 5th?of March 2014 does come around, we with a sense of assurance will know that every person is being given the opportunity to hear, to be given awareness and to comply with our survey registration,? said Slack.

?The feedback has been very positive and also we highly commend the workload that has been undertaken by the staff of the Maritime Safety Authority in going out to the Maritime Provinces and all the provinces in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu,? said Kean.

?The number doubled and tripled in the different cases which indicate to us the amount of operators that are out there that needs to come on board and get themselves complied under the relevant two decrees added Kean?.

The six months amnesty period will give the small boat operators time to organise the mandatory two items of life jackets and flares that need to be on board at all times.

The 26-year old decree will be seen replaced by the two new decrees come 5th?March 2014 and will ensure the Maritime Industry in Fiji is in par with International best practice.

MINFO