The Madang Provincial Government has yet to establish a Provincial Small Craft Registration Board.
According to a media release by the National Maritime Safety Authority (NMSA) General Manager, Paul Unas, despite offers of assistance by the Authority and numerous assurances from the provincial government over the last two years, a board is yet to be established.
Unas made these remarks when commenting on a media article regarding the delay in the endorsement of the Small Craft Act (SCA) by the Madang Provincial Executive Council.
The SCA came into force since 2015 and NMSA has been actively encouraging the Madang provincial government to meet its legal obligations by establishing a Provincial Small Craft Registration Board.
NMSA has already supplied the provincial administration with equipment and resources for the administration and enforcement of the Act.
“NMSA has a supporting role and provides training, equipment, funding for awareness activities and infrastructure improvement upon request from the provincial administrations at no cost to them. The main difficulty with the SCA implementation is that it relies on the provinces to appoint personnel, provide resources and having a commitment to the maritime safety of their people.” Unas said.
Mr Unas said Provincial officers have received training from NMSA in anticipation of the Provincial Small Craft Registration Board being established by the Provincial Executive Council.
The Authority has initiated a program whereby free maritime safety equipment is distributed to registered boat owners through their respective Provincial Small Craft Registration Board.
There is a possibility that boat owners in Madang may miss out on receiving such equipment due to the failure of the Provincial Government in establishing a Small Craft Registration Board.
NMSA is only providing an oversight role in ensuring that these provinces effectively implement the SCA at the provincial levels.
Currently, the Authority is conducting Small Craft Training to train Provincial Small Craft Officials to administer and enforce the SCA.
The training is comprised of three modules covering Small Craft Registry operation, Small Craft Inspections (for seaworthiness) and enforcement of the Act.
The training that is carried out by NMSA is expected to draw provincial officials from the respective provinces including Small Craft officers (board members, the register and inspectors), police officers and Local Level Government managers.
Mr Unas said the implementation of the SCA is the responsibility of the provincial administrations by law as it clearly states in the Act itself.
“It is also their responsibility under the “The Determination Assigning Service Delivery Functions and Responsibilities To Provincial and Local-Level Governments.” Unas added.