The Solomon Islands Maritime Authority has issued 10 detention orders to ships from sailing to the provinces most of them for excess of passengers and/or overloading of vessels.
Director of NDMO Thierry Nervale said “We started the Operation Safe Boat on 10 December, so far, we have conducted 71 pre-departure inspections,” he said.
Nervale added SIMA’s vessel inspectors are working from 8am to 11pm (sometimes later) every day including public holidays.
He confirmed that 10 detention orders have been issued by SIMA, most of them for excess of passengers and/or overloading of vessels.
The director also admitted that many of the 71 departing vessels had their departure delayed due to difficulty in managing passengers and cargo loading.
The SIMA Operation Safe Boat will end on 15 January and Nervale warns that they will also be waiting for ships and detail any one overloading on her return to Honiara.
He also informed the travelling public and ship owners that marine officers at SIMA will be present when vessels return from provinces after the Christmas break.
Appeal to Travelling Public
Meanwhile Nervale encourages people to obey SIMA and ship owners and just don’t walk into ships without ticket.
He said the problem is people just walk into ships without tickets and refusing to leave once they are told to leave because boats are overloaded.
“Whatever efforts SIMA, ship owners and crews make, often the travelling public just rushes on board vessels obliging SIMA to detain the vessels,” he said.
“I hope we could pass the message to the travelling public that SIMA is working for their safety and ensure travels back home do not end in a disaster with lives lost as we experienced in the past,” he said.
For any incident, call SIMA’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) on 977.