The newly established Solomon Islands Maritime Time Authority has launched its Cooperate Plan this morning for the next three years with some stunning stories that highlighted the need for the establishment of the authority to deal with growing sea related issues.
One of the revelations today is the number of reported cases of missing boats at sea and— most of the were from those travelling on banana boats between the provinces.
The biggest sea ordeal last year was the Taimareho 1 with 27 people missing and three others from Temotu who had also gone missing on a banana boat.
According to Ernest Legumana who is the Senior Pollution and Safety Response officer – there were 31 cases involving boat incidents at sea in 2020. Of that, 29 were successful cases with two fatal ones.
He revealed that 15 of the cases involved boats from Central Islands Province. This is about half of all the reported cases last year.
Legumana said the CIP had more boats that encountered problems than any other provinces as shown in the records.
He told SBMOnline that the two most regular problems the boats in the CIP encountered were fuel shortage and engine problems.
However, he said despite that there were no fatal incidents last year recorded in the province.
One of the members of the advisory group of SIMA Joy Ririmae said with less shipping services to the provinces— CIP people revert to small boats to travel between the islands and Honiara.
SIMA under its new set-up is planning to put in place regulations that boat owners must meet before they travel out into the sea.
SIMA is currently in transition from it previous status as Solomon Islands Maritime and Safety Administration.
Under the new SIMA Act 2018, SIMA is now been given power to deal with maritime issues and even prosecute boats and their owners,