Order for ship owners to follow cyclone warnings

The Office of the Maritime Regulator has called on ship owners to keep their vessels safe in the current cyclone season.

The Maritime Regulator, Hickson Siba, says ship owners need to take responsibility for any cyclone damage to their ships, if they don’t take proper measures to secure their vessels.

“I am appealing to ship owners to identify safe places to anchor their ships in case a cyclone enters Vanuatu territory,” Mr Siba said.

He says, “We can’t predict the movement of a cyclone but we have learnt lessons from Cyclone Pam and Harold and I want to ensure ships are safe during this cyclone season.”

“When our meteorological office issues a bad weather warning for ships not to sail out into marine waters, it means ships and small banana boats must stop travelling and should find secure places to dock.”

Mr Siba says to ensure the safety of passengers and crew, ship owners, captains and crews must follow advice from the authorities during a cyclone.

“Ship owners must always respect the safety of passengers while they are onboard,” he said.

Mr Siba says the Office of the Maritime Regulator is very aware that a large numbers of people are travelling by boat to the outer islands during this festive season.

“We are heading into the festive season and many people are travelling to spend holidays on their home islands with friends and families,” he said.

“So, we have asked ship and small banana boat owners to carry the exact number of passengers permitted and no more than that.”

He says all ships and banana boats must have safety equipment on their vessels; and crews and captains must not consume alcohol or kava while on duty.

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