Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR is moving closer to tightening screws on importers of second-hand sea vessels and curbing violation of marine transport regulations, following the approval of the Isles Maritime Transport amendment bill by lawmakers.
The bill is now awaiting presidential assent. After a relatively heated debate, the law makers unanimously approved the Zanzibar Maritime Transport Act No.5 of 2006 amendment Bill, as they emphasized on accountability and maintenance of vessels.
Mr Ismail Jussa Ladhu (CUF- Mjimkongwe), Ms Asha Bakar Makame (CCM-women), Mr Jaku Hashim Ayoub (CCM-Muyuni), and Hija Hassan Hija (CUF-Kiwani) led other legislators in supporting the amendments, but raised concern over lack of attention by authorities in observing the laws.
The legislators said that laxity in implementing the laws is partly to blame for the recent fatal marine accidents in Zanzibar. But, responding to the lawmakers, the Minister for Infrastructure and Communication, Mr Rashid Seif Suleiman, vowed to see to it that laws and regulations are observed.
Rashid said that the amendment aims to provide better conditions for administration of maritime transport and ensure the implementation of regulations, and also "intends to provide coordination between the two marine institutions: ZMA and SUMATRA.
According to the amended Maritime Transport Act, "No ship of more than 15 years of age or above shall be registered and licensed for the purpose of carrying passengers in Zanzibar."