BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO
A NEW State-Owned Enterprise was launched in Honiara yesterday.
Previously known asSolomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA), it has now changed to an SOE called Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA).
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Development Manasseh Maelanga said the transitional plan to transform the organisation was introduced following a reform project in 2008 to 2010.
Maelanaga said after a long legislative process and debate in parliament, they have passed the much-awaited Solomon Islands Maritime Authority bill in September 2018.
“I am happy to officiate today and officially launch SIMA Corporate Plan,” he said at the launching.
“I have witnessed the last 12-months performance of the SIMA and actions undertaken by the Board and its Director to have the organisation in full power on the 1st of January,” he added.
“I take the opportunity of this opening to congratulate Robert Bokelema, Chair of SIMA with its Board members, and the Director of SIMA, Thierry Nervale, for a major achievement moving from a department in my Ministry to an independent authority.
“I know there were many challenges and issues that have been addressed to adopt SIMA’s financial and management systems and to recruit new staff.
“This achievement is also because of the strong and consistent support from Australia which has been a genuine friend of SIMA and an engaging partner.
“ADB, which also provided great support to prepare for the establishment of an independent maritime authority in Solomon Islands. Thanks for that support.”
Maelanga said now in place is the institutional framework for a modern maritime administration governing a profitable and efficient maritime sector.
“It is all about supporting the economic recovery and sustainable development of this country; but also, to ensure all maritime operators apply our laws, prevent pollutions and ensure safety for all at sea.”
He added this is not an easy journey to reach, however, “we must continue to remind us of SIMA’s Corporate Plan’s vision of a transformative decade of safety at sea, resilient and clean maritime services and mobility in Solomon Islands”.
“This decade must bring major changes towards safety, cleanness and efficient shipping services that will have to operate carbon-free vessels in the next 20-30 years.
“This is the price of our resilience to climate change and sustainable development.
“We must think about our maritime future and recall our vision, but let’s use today’s event to first celebrate SIMA as an independent authority, that is now established and in full power since the 1st of January 2021,” he said.
Chair of the SIMA Robert Bokelema said the event yesterday was a wonderful opportunity to introduce SIMA and launched its corporate plan and together look at their vision of a transformative decade of safety at sea, resilient and clean maritime services and mobility in Solomon Islands.
“It is also an opportunity to engage the necessary dialogue wit all maritime operators to ensure we speak the same language, are engaged together in the same direction and pursuing the same objectives of a clean seas, safe sea travels and efficient shipping services,” said Bokelema.
Chair of SIMA Advisory Committee Joy Isihanua Ririmae said this change is a call to our Government and partners to assist the development of safe and profitable shipping services, resilient maritime infrastructure and sustainable maritime employment.