BY JOHN HOUANIHAU
THE Solomon Islands Maritime Authority held its first-ever open forum on Tuesday at the Solomon Islands National University Marine School Campus at Ranadi, East Honiara.
The Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA) administers the Solomon Islands maritime sector, inspecting vessels, coordinating maritime search and rescue, preventing and coordinating a response to pollution from ships, and providing safety of navigation services.
The milestone event offered local seafarers, ship operators, and regulators, selected high school students, and members of the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Marine Academy including the Solomon Islands Maritime Transport Association (SIMTA) maritime training opportunities on maritime regulations safety & pollution prevention, the safety of navigation, environment protection and response, and other maritime policies.
The theme of this year’s open forum is ‘Where Maritime Journey Begin’.
Speaking at the event on Tuesday this week, Solomon Islands Maritime Transport Association President and Ship Operator, Selwyn Riumana said the forum is basically to get partners together to understand the regulations and understand where they need to partner.
“Although the marine industry is the lifeblood and plays an important role in this country Solomon Islands, it has always been forgotten by the government.
“But this is the core Industry that can move everything from place to place, so we need to come together and pave the pathways to work together.
“SIMA is the authority, SINU is the trainer and SIMTA is the implementers or the employers and the sea fearers are the beneficiaries,’’ he told ENVIRONMENT MEDIA.
SIMTA President said that all of these four bodies must work together.
“So this is the importance of this forum, that we come together and understand our roles and functions in this important or lifeblood industry in the country.
“This is the first ever open forum in Solomon as they never had one before.
Meanwhile, Dr. Teorae Kabure, the newly appointed Director of the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) Marine Academy also told ENVIRONMENT MEDIA that the purpose of the forum is to gather all maritime stakeholders which include the training provider, the regulators, and ship owners to address their issues and problems and discuss them together so that everybody is happier at the end of the day.
“Because in the past ship owners often stay on their own, seafarers on their own as well as the training providers like us the Maritime Academy on our own. That is the main purpose of the open-day forum, to bring us together and discuss the issues we faced.
“The forum put everyone together to discuss and understand what is going to happen or needs to be done for the future of the shipping industry in the Solomon Islands.
“This is the first-ever forum to be organized by Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA), Marine Academy of the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) together with seafarers and Solomon Islands Maritime Transport Association.
“The participants at the forum include SINU, SIMA, SIMTA, and the ship owners, together with some high school students with the likes of Panatina Community High school and Betikama Adventist College,” Dr. Teorae Kabure said.