No resource to look after wrecks or marine pollution

Bikoi 1 wrecking on the reefs near Tulaghi townships undersea water supply pipelines now for months. PHOTO by MANEBONA BARNABAS.
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IT has been said that Solomon Islands Maritime Safety Administration (SIMSA) has no resource to look after wrecks or marine pollution in the country.

The explanation was made known for some time as continuous queries over calls for the removal of MV Mbikoi Company’s ship wreckage between Tulaghi Island and big Ngella mainland continues seeing that authorities, the owner and provincial government have now ignored to address this issue for quite a while now.

Locals are concerned over oil leakage and such strongly reminding authorities to not use Central Islands Province (CIP) as a wreckage site.

According to SIMSA during first response over this concern, even though they are mandated through the Shipping Act of 1998 and the Shipping (Marine Pollution) Regulations 2010 to do so, they have been trying since 2014 to establish and recruit Marine Pollution Officers.

“Although the positions were established in 2015, we have not been successful in recruiting officers due to the freeze on recruitment when the DCCG went into power, so we have not been successful.”

It is understood that this is part of the reason why SIMSA is trying to become an authority where all revenue that comes from shipping taxes and levies would be paid to the new authority.

This will enable them to recruit more staff and have the resources to go to wreck sites and develop a marine pollution response capability.

“At present, SIMSA has nothing with which to respond to oil spill incidents, nor the ability to enforce wreck removal.

“There is a draft Wreck Removal Regulation but SIMSA has not had a Legal Officer for more than a year, consequently there is nobody to guide it through drafting and being brought into law.”

Island Sun is still yet to pursue on what has been the latest update of SIMSA for response capability on removals and checking over the countries ship wreckage sites.