“Government is responsible for search and rescue costs”
The Solomon Islands Maritime Authority, SIMA Act 2018 has clearly outlined who is responsible for meeting search and rescue costs.
Advisor to the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration, SIMSA, Captain Timothy Harris told an SIBC interview.
But with SIMA now enforced, Captain Harris said the responsibilities are stated clearly.
“It is clearly stated who is responsible for paying for search and rescue because if you remember last year there was an incident whereby we wanted to scramble a helicopter but they wouldn’t because their bill had not been paid for for the last time that it was scrambled.
“It became very important that we do make sure that anytime that we have to use these resources the Government pays for it and not us”.
The SIMSA Advisor added, any vessel facing difficulty at sea but fail to report its situation will be prosecuted under the new maritime law.
“In the future any vessel that gets into difficulties under the law must let us know. If they don’t let us know we will be able to prosecute them.
“Jona and I had a discussion the other day about the fact that we don’t have any legal officers here, another problem we’ve had in recruitment from the Public Service Commission so that will enable us to prosecute vessels.
“If they don’t let us know that there’s something wrong then they can be prosecuted and when we look to see and find out what is wrong they’re not necessarily going to be prosecuted, but at least we can find out what happened and why it happened”.
By: Rickson Bau