A BILL to establish Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA) as a financially self-sufficient organisations with sufficient resources to carry out its functions was tabled for second reading in Parliament, Monday.
The Bill is going to replace the current Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA).
Ministry of Infrastructure Development, Stanley Sofu, who tabled the Bill said when the Bill becomes an Act it will commence in two separate parts so that everything necessary to ensure SIMA is ready for operation can be done before the existing Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) is abolished.
“SIMA will be brought into existence so that it can enter into contracts before commencement of the rest of the Act.
“The regulatory organisation is established as a body corporate with a range of maritime regulatory functions and has jurisdiction in relation to all vessels inside Solomon Islands waters; to Solomon Islands vessels on the high seas and Solomon Islands seafarers elsewhere,” he said.
There is three categories in SIMA Bill namely policy matters, administration matters and technical matters.
Sofu said the power to hand down policy is vested in the Minister, the power to deliberate on organisational and administration matters is vested in the Board.
However, he said the power to run the day to day business of SIMSA concerning implementation and technical matters is vested in the Director and authorised officers.
Furthermore, Sofu said under the current SIMSA Act (2009), SIMSA was given responsibility for maritime infrastructure (other than Aids to Navigation) such as wharves and jetties.
He said this has been removed from the SIMA Act and placed as a function of Ministry of Infrastructure Development such that these matters are no longer the concern of SIMA.
“SIMA will monitor the economic performance of franchise operators; and review the franchise shipping scheme to propose modifications to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness,” he said.
Moreover, Sofu said this change of maritime legislation will;
a) transform the Solomon Islands’ ability to develop a more effective and commercially orientated maritime industry;
b) have a positive impact on shipping services for development of the economy throughout the Provinces;
c) encourage more visits of cruise liners to boost the tourist industry;
d) give greater safety and comfort to domestic passengers travelling by sea; and
e) satisfy the international maritime community’s demands for conformity to international conventions for international shipping.
By EDDIE OSIFELO