LOCAL ship operators were left speechless when Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) through their Harbour’s Division office issued a new rule on pilotage for ships with a length of 40m and above.
The new regulation will see SIPA pilots taking charge of the boat when arriving and departing the Point Cruz wharves.
The new rule comes into effect today.
Speaking to the Solomon Star yesterday Director of Fairwest shipping Chacha Bule Amoi said the new rule will affect ship owners.
In a letter addressed from the Harbour Master of SIPA J.Kulabule dated 14th of March, 2016 which was cited by the Solomon Star it said: “Please be advised that as of Friday 18th of March 2016, domestic ships with the length overall (LOA) of 40 meter and above will be boarded by SIPA pilots, when coming to berth and leaving berth.”
As such, the Harbour’s Division needs to be provided with the ships arrival and departure times, at least one hour before arrivals and departures, it added.
It further stated that the following domestic ships fall into the 40m and above category are as follows; Anjeanette (56.7), MB Makulata (40.1), LC Dragon (46.7), LC Phoenix, Marama Senikabuta (65), MV Express Pelican (44.7), Atlantic Puffin (45.5), Albatross (40.62), Chanella (41.55), Neptune Gale (56.54), Fair Glory (55.5), LC Pemandu (43.89), Wayline 8 (42.47), Meutek (42.47), Arnavon (43.99), Onogou (54), Pacific Ace (42.8), MV Lauru 1 (44.9), San Macos (45.37), Nusa Tupe (46), Ocean Grace (40.23), Solomon Venture (46), Derek 9 (46.83), Florence (47.1), Power 88 (42.51), Kosco (42.80), Solomon Ruby (46), Solomon Pearl (46), Solomon Emerald (46), Solomon Opal (46), Solomon Jade (46), LC Muva II (46.40), LC Meutck 4 (42.87), Kafe (43.50), LC Zaraly (58.56).
In response to this new regulation from the SIPA management, Mr Amoi who spoke on behalf of grieving ship owners said, this new system will definitely affect local shipping operators in the country, considering the costs of running such business is quite expensive.
He said, ship owners have spent a lot to the deteriorating wharves in Honiara, compared to the wharves in the provinces, which are better than the ones in Point Cruz, but they never spend any money when berthing.
Furthermore, he questioned the SIPA management if they can guarantee any damage sustain by their ship when berthing under the control of SIPA captains.
Mr Amoi, revealed that they spend almost millions to the fees imposed by SIPA new reform, and this new regulation on berthing will certainly has a negative recursion to the already struggling shipping businesses in the country.
He said, all ship owners are appealing to the SIPA Board to do away with the new rules applied here, as it kills the local ship masters, who strives to provide regular shipping services to the people of Solomon Islands.
He concluded that this new rules is normally for foreign vessels and they did not understand why it has to be applied on local ship owners.
The Ports management could not be reached for comments last night before this edition went to press.
By AATAI JOHN