- Published on Monday, 27 August 2012 00:39
- Written by EDITOR
- Hits: 918
IN his address to the nation last month, President Jakaya Kikwete touched on the sensitive subject of marine safety, which was appropriate at a time when the nation had just buried its dead and was nursing the injured from the MV Skagit tragedy.
Expressing his deep concern over the succession of ferry boat accidents in the country’s Indian Ocean waters, Mr Kikwete spoke on the need for the country to have its own marine guard to oversee rescue operations in a speedy and professional manner when such disasters strike.
The president further saw the need for responsible maritime authorities to effect more regulation compliance and control in the purchase of ferry boats to ensure that they pass through the necessary checks prior to being licensed to operate in our waters.
In all accidents that have involved boats and ships for both passengers and goods, investigation had pointed to the use of outdated and defective vessels, some of which were completely unfit for use.At least things are now happening and the president’s assurance to the nation to ensure more marine vessel safety is being worked upon by relevant authorities.
To start with, the government is working on plans to harmonise maritime acts in both the Mainland and Zanzibar to ensure maximum safety at sea.Mainland and Zanzibar are partners in the Union of Tanzania and the sea has been the major transport mode for both passenger and cargo movement between the two parts of the united republic.
There is, therefore, greater need for more cooperation and harmonization in sea transportation between them.Announcing the plans, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Engineer Omari Chambo explained – and rightly – that it is only through such cooperation between authorities responsible for marine transport, both on the Mainland and in Zanzibar, that tragic accidents like the MV Skagit one could be avoided.
The Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA) on the Mainland and the Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA) oversee marine transport on the Mainland and in Zanzibar respectively.It is a good and appropriate move. All the officials entrusted with this task should ensure that the exercise comes to immediate fruition. The spate of accidents on our waters shows that there is something amiss in the control machinery. Let this be rectified.