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Better conditions for Seychellois mariners and seafarers expected |18 July 2014

Better conditions for seafarers in the offing

It is expected that the working conditions of our mariners and seafarers will soon be improved and more young Seychellois will be encouraged to make a career in the maritime sector now that amendments to the law have been approved.

The National Assembly this week unanimously approved amendments to the Merchant Shipping Act 1994 proposed by the Minister for Home Affairs and Transport Joël Morgan through a Bill he tabled before the House.

Presenting the Merchant Shipping Amendment Bill 2014, Minister Morgan said it seeks to replace section 5 of the Merchant Shipping Act so as to legally establish the Seychelles Maritime Safety Administration (SMSA) in place of the Port and Marine Service Division.

Minister Morgan explained that the aim of the amendment is to ensure our legal framework meets the requirements and standards of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in relation to the functions, duties, training and certification for mariners and seafarers.

“Once the amendments are approved Seychelles will submit its documents to the IMO during the course of this month so it could be included on the IMO white list early next year,” Minister Morgan said.

He noted that the process is receiving the support and guidance of the Colombo International and Nautical College (Cinec) with which the SMSA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in December last year.

Minister Morgan explained that it is important for Seychelles to be on the IMO white list as this will be very beneficial, first and foremost for our seafarers and mariners as well as for our country in general.

“Seychelles has a fleet of five tankers serving on international routes as well as other vessels flying its flag and they are all subject to harsh inspections and control at any port they stop which feature on the IMO white list. To feature on the list means our vessels will be automatically exempted from those stringent inspection measures,” Minister Morgan pointed out.

Furthermore, he added that it is an opportunity for Seychelles to show its commitment to international maritime conventions and agreements it has signed.
Other than that the IMO white list status the amendments will also provide for new definitions of the Marine Accident Investigation Board to put it in line with international norms and requirements as per IMO recommendations.

“At present the board is recognised locally for helping the SMSA investigate cases of maritime accidents and other incidents at sea. But now that Seychelles is in the process to be IMO white listed, it is paramount that it respects the maritime body’s regulations when conducting maritime accident investigations , as well as other  matters related to maritime security,” Minister Morgan explained.

He added that this is in line with IMO resolution MSC 255 1984.
Meanwhile, Minister Morgan noted that the role and function of the Marine Accident Investigation Board locally will remain the same as the SMSA needs to cover vessels operating locally.

The members who intervened on the Bill pointed out that the amendment will bring about better working conditions, better remunerations for our mariners and seafarers, bring more efficiency in the development of a sector which is very important for our economic development , create a climate for more opportunities and encourage more young Seychellois to take a career in the maritime sector.





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