A CHIEF of Purinabangara, Katupika District in South Choiseul has called on responsible authorities to impose license to boat owners who provide transportation between Western and Choiseul province seas.
Chief Rence Zama made the call after the boat that carried nine people went missing on January 15 in the waters between Western and Choiseul provinces.
The boat was found but without the nine people.
Zama understands most transport owners in Western and Choiseul provinces don’t have sea transport license.
The boat left Gizo after 10am and headed off to Posarai in South Choiseul. It failed to arrive at Posarai on the expected time.
Zama who was working with the Arnavon Conservation Park said the boat left Gizo when the West wind was in rage.
“The Arnavon rangers have 10 check points on 10 different islands where they usually check when they heard people missing from Western and Choiseul waters.
“I was directing one Posarai search and rescue boat to check the 10 check points in West Isabel for the missing boat while my son, who is a ranger from Arnavon was on the other boat also searching for the missing boat.”
Zama said during their search they discovered the boat at Sibau Island, one of the check point in West Isabel.
“Every boat that went missing between the waters of Western and Choiseul provinces must end up at the 10 check points,” he said.
He added that when people were missing on Vella La Vella, Kolombangara, New Georgia and Choiseul province their boats, properties and dead bodies must end up at the 10 check point islands.
Therefore, he called on authorities to impose sea transport licenses to boat owners before they can provide sea transport.
“The marine responsible authority must give licenses, life jackets and other marine equipment to transport owners,” he said.
Zama said the boat owners must equip their boats and listen out for weather updates from Solomon Islands Meteorological Services and radio before travelling.
By LACHLAN S. EDDIE