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Seychelles to revise law governing maritime sector after international audit

Victoria, Seychelles | June 15, 2016, Wednesday @ 10:26 in National » GENERAL | By: Patsy Athanase and Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 2145
Seychelles to revise law governing maritime sector after international audit

File Photo: Seychelles Patriot -- one of the Seychelles tankers operating worldwide. (Seychelles Petroleum Company) 

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has to revise a number of laws governing the maritime sector, the most important one being the Merchant Shipping Act of 2014, a top official said Monday.

The revision is part of a preliminary report of a week-long audit by a delegation of three members of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Seychelles became a member in 1978.

“Revision of this law (Merchant Shipping Act) is a never ending process. IMO is continuously introducing new regulations and standards and we have to take all these into account and revise our laws to reflect those standards,” the director general of the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA), Captain Joachim Valmont, told SNA.

Nine organisations involved in the island nation’s maritime industry were assessed including ports, coast guard, environmental organisations and lawmakers.

The audit comes a year after Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, was whitelisted by the IMO at the 95th session in London.

The island state meets the requirements of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW), which came into force in 1984.

Valmont said once a country is whitelisted, it has to ensure that the standards are maintained and weaknesses identified, rectified promptly.

IMO, a United Nations agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships, has identified some areas which Seychelles needs to address to be fully compliant with the STCW Convention.

These include improving communication of information to IMO and record-keeping to reflect the organisation’s requirements.

The audit’s final report will be given in two weeks, and Seychelles will have to provide a Corrective Action Plan on how to address its shortcomings.

“It is a tough task ahead, but we have to honour our commitments towards IMO,” said Valmont.

Seychelles has three months to review all the weaknesses identified in the audit.

Valmont said although non-compliance would not lead to Seychelles' removal from the white list, there might be repercussions on the nation’s vessels when sailing in international waters.

An IMO team will re-assess Seychelles again in two years.

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Tags: white list, International Maritime Organisation, IMO, audit, Merchant Shipping Act, Captain Joachim Valmont, Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration

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