TWO new decrees will be submitted to Cabinet for endorsement next month.Maritime Transport Decree (MTD) and Ship Registration Decree (SRD) will replace the Marine Act 1986.
Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF) manager for standards and compliance John Tunidau said the proposed decrees would address loopholes in the marine industry. He said the decrees were in its final draft stage and was vetted by the Solicitor General's office.
He said the changes to the proposed legislations would mean that all vessels chartered on Fiji waters should be registered, surveyed and certified. "Under the SRD all ships and boats will need to be registered," Mr Tunidau said.
"This will allow us to tag boat and ship owners, know how many ships are operating in our waters and update our information data."
He said all the necessary information about ships and boats was crucial particularly in the event of mishaps. According to Mr Tunidau, the two decrees were formulated after public consultations and maritime industry stakeholders.
"Under these new decrees, any ship and boat owner who gives false information when registering will be fined $10,000," Mr Tunidau said. He said there were instances where there were many maritime mishaps and incidents regarding vessels however the new laws would ensure that they complied with the safety standards.
The new legislation, coupled with the MSAF's new zero tolerance policy, would allow for full effectiveness. MSAF's zero tolerance policy is applied internally as well across the maritime industry with the intention of purging the industry of corrupt practices.
In another development, deputy secretary for Transport and Energy Malakai Tadulala said this year's celebration was bigger and better than that of previous years.
He said the hive of activities that were held to mark the day?long celebrations was indicative of government's commitment to strengthening the administration and operations of the industry. "We're going big on safety and we're tightening up security," he said.