Govt to ensure progress of state’s shipping industry

Lee in a photo call during the awareness programme on International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) for Sarawak at Baitul Makmur II.

KUCHING: Sarawak will ensure the shipping sector is well administered and continues to progress, Transport minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin said.

He said since the formation of the state Ministry of Transport, efforts had been taken to resolve some of the issues pertaining to shipping sector.

“These issues were addressed, and a decision has been conveyed to the higher authorities. For example, the lifting of Cabotage Policy in Sarawak, including exemption for single hull tankers, to operate in rivers in Sarawak as well as seafarers sign-on and sign-off standard operating procedures (SOPs) during COVID-19 pandemic for Sarawak and so on,” he said.

He said this when officiating at the awareness programme on International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Member State Audit Scheme (IMSAS) For Sarawak at Baitul Makmur II today.

The IMO IMSAS is a treaty obligation intended to provide an audited state member with a comprehensive and objective assessment of how effective it administers and implements mandatory IMO instruments covered by the scheme.

Numerous mandatory IMO instruments covered in the scope of the scheme, include Safety of life at sea (The 1974 Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) 1974 and its 1988 Protocol), Prevention of pollution from ships (the MARPOL Convention) and Standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for seafarers (STCW 1978).

Load Lines (LL 66 and its 1988 Protocol), Tonnage Measurement of Ships (Tonnage 1969) as well as Prevention of Collisions at Sea (COLREG 1972) are also part of the IMO mandatory instruments.

“The roles lie with everyone in ensuring compliance with international maritime standards.

“The IMO has the responsibility to develop technical safety, security and pollution prevention standards related to maritime transport while the governments have the duty to implement and enforce these standards.

“The recognised organisations have a duty to be impartial and exercise due diligence. Meanwhile the shipping companies are responsible for applying the same standards to individual ships and the shipboard personnel play the task of putting into operation the various safety and anti-pollution measures applicable to the ship,” he said.

As part of the ratification process, Lee said parties to conventions had accepted the obligation, under applicable international law to fully meet their responsibilities and to discharge their obligations as prescribed in the instruments.

He said Malaysia as a state member of the treaty would be audited sometime in June 2023 on effectiveness of its administration and implementation of the mandatory IMO instruments covered by the scheme.

In line with this, he said the Sarawak government believed it was also important to be prepared to implement and strategise the administration which demonstrated compliance with the mandatory IMO instruments under the scheme.

“Thus, the state Transport ministry has been proactively engaging and getting feedback from the relevant stakeholders both from the government agencies and the private sector to be updated on the new development of maritime related matters which is pertinent to Sarawak,” he added.

At the same time, he pointed out that the maritime sector statewide had contributed immensely to the economy of Sarawak.

“I also would like to note that out of the 100 shipyards currently in operation across Malaysia, 59 are located in Sarawak.

“In Sarawak, five shipyards are in Kuching, 40 in Sibu, one each in Bintulu and Limbang, including 12 in Miri.

“Compared to other states in Malaysia, most of the shipyards and shipbuilding activities are dominant in Sarawak. Hence, the state is a significant player in Malaysia’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry,” he said.

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