The Minister for Public Utilities and Infrastructure Hon. Jotham Napat MP recently has heralded the opening of the independent Office of the Maritime Regulator (OMR).
“It has been a long journey since 2013 when reforms planning began until now and I am very grateful to our donor partners Asia Development Bank and the New Zealand Government who have supported the Vanuatu government’s bid to increase maritime safety and regulation,” the Minister said.
The establishment of an independent maritime regulator will boost safety and security in the country’s maritime sector.
“The Vanuatu Government does not want to repeat past mistakes which lead to the Vanuatu Maritime Authority being repealed in 2007 due to political interference.
“My ministry will ensure the OMR is strong and self-sustainable in the future, and it is our government’s duty to ensure this happens,’ Minister Napat said.
The new regulator has wide ranging functions and powers to regulate the maritime industry including the regulation of the maritime sector; the registration and provisional registration of vessels; maintenance of vessels; registration of bills of sales; conveyances, mortgages, charges and liens; inspection and survey of vessels (safety certification); regulation of small craft, certification of seafarers, employment and welfare of seafarers.
Minister Napat has appealed to all vessel owners, shipping agents, slip ways owners, seafarers, and relevant authorities to work with OMR to ensure the standards of the maritime sector meet the requirement of laws and regulations relating to the sector.
“Having a sector that is safe and soundly regulated will bring confidence to investments which at large will boost our economy.”
OMR staff is now in the process of settling into their new office at Nambatu Area, close to Mormon Church.