Foreign ship captain face trial

The National Maritime Safety Authority is warning those in the shipping industry to comply with the maritime laws of this country when conducting business in the country.

This warning follows the Alotau Committal Court committing the captain (Indonesian) of the MT. Seaborne 1 and the shipping manager (Malaysian) of Seaborne Shipping PNG Limited to stand trial in the National Court.

The MT. Seaborne 1 was inspected last July 2022 in Madang by NMSA and found to have a number of detainable deficiencies Including not having appropriately qualified crew on board as in accordance with the Minimum Safe Management (MSMD) document and did not also have necessary distress or emergency flares on board.

NMSA, Manager for Investigations & Enforcement, Joseph Pyawan said the named ship escaped from the detention without notifying NMSA; which triggered an investigation into the unlawful act.

"We caught the tugboat eventually at a jetty in Alotau town, after it sailed from Madang to Sera, In West Sepik, then to Butula in Morobe and to Alotau, Milne Bay Province.”

Mr Pyawan said both men were rounded up by the Alotau Police and charged under section 331 of the Criminal Code Act. The maximum jail term for such offences are 14 years' imprisonment.

On 1st May 2023, the Alotau District Court found sufficient evidences and committed the captain and the shipping manager to stand trial in the National Court.

NMSA General Manager and CEO, Paul Unas reiterated the warning, urging owners of all vessels operating in the country to comply with the maritime laws of the country and adhere to NMSA mandated regulations and the relevant certification process and validation to avoid such scenarios.

"We are not here to punish you or force you out of business, we are making sure all ship owners or agents comply with the NMSA mandated legislations to avoid any shipping incidents which may result in loss of life at sea or damage to our pristine marine environment,” he said.

Unas added that failure to comply with lawful directives would result in severe penalties imposed on the owners.