Kiribati Marine Division drafting new law on missing boats
The Kiribati Marine Division is drafting a new law to prevent missing boats.
The Kiribati Marine Division is hoping a new law currently being drafted will prevent more boats from going missing at sea.
The Marine Division has recorded 11 missing vessels so far this year and all but one has been found.
The Director of Marine, Ruoikabuti Tioon, told Beverley Tse why so many people have been lost at sea.
RUOIKABUTI TOON: One of the reasons behind lots of boats going missing at sea is that most fisherman, they are not well-prepared. They ignored the safety instructions already conveyed to them by this ministry, by the Marine Division. And they do not take into account the weather forecasts from the meteorology units. They are not very cautious about what to take with them on board the fishing boats when they go out fishing.
BEVERLEY TSE: And so there is some information available giving them advice on how to be prepared. Why are they not taking this advice?
RUOIKABUTI TOON: This ministry, for the past years, they have constructed a lot of awareness campaigns through the fisherman, taking into account the danger when getting lost at sea and the difficulties they're going to face. But maybe the information is not yet absorbed by the fishermen themselves.
BEVERLEY TSE: Is there also an issue with these boats being quite small and not really safe, considering the ocean's size and the strong seas?
RUOIKABUTI TOON: Mm-hm. Yeah, the fishermen, they have been encouraged - especially the boats that are very small - not to fish very far away from the island. And they're encouraged to fish in the lagoon. And in our Act, our current Shipping Act, the vessels that are more than 10 metres they are supposed to be licenced, but now we are looking in our law - we are still working on it - to consider the boats that are under 20 metres. It is under the power of the minister to impose laws for these small vessels.
BEVERLEY TSE: So on the topic of that law, what will this include and how does that law work?
RUOIKABUTI TOON: It will include the distance, how far they can fish from the island. It will also include all the safety aspects, including that the fishermen need to be licensed, they need to have a licence, how to maintain or repair the small outboard motor engine.
BEVERLEY TSE: And how far through the draft are you with this law?
RUOIKABUTI TOON: We have been assisted by the SPC and now we're just finished with our STCW recreation. We are now working on our new marine law that will incorporate the safety of all vessels.
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