Ships berthing at Point Cruz. Photo credit: SPC.

Ships berthing at Point Cruz. Photo credit: SPC.

All fishing vessels operated as passenger and cargo boats in the country should now cease operations as of 1st January this year.

Head of the Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) Safe Boats Operation, Derek Saru told SIBC News in an interview.

He said all such vessels should now cease operations after being notified by SIMSA’s Acting Director Captain Tim Harris since 2016.

Mr Saru says any vessel owner or vessel ignoring the notice will be detained.

“Any ship or ship owner you still ignore the order we will have to give you a detention order so that detention order demands that you have to cease from an operation that’s all, so we are looking at all ships playing on the same playing field. If you want your ship to become a passenger ship then you have to meet the requirements of a passenger ship. If you want your ship to become a cargo ship, then get it to meet the requirements for a cargo vessel so for those who are still interested in converting a fishing vessel into a cargo ship we will not allow that anymore.”

Meanwhile, Mr Saru said the Safe Boat Operation has found that most vessels in the country have been undermanned while most crew members are unqualified.

“During this operation, we found that most of the ships have been undermanned and even most of the crew they have no certification of competency onboard a ship. Even some they have no basic sea safety onboard but then you know, they are still employed onboard those ships. We tend to know that it’s not our problem, it’s the operators problem that he or she has to ensure that those people are trained and then you have to employ people who have qualifications onboard a ship and you operate it more safely, it’s your responsibility.”

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