Zanzibar — DESPITE the recent saga about Iranian ships flying a Tanzanian flag and interception of a ship loaded with cannabis worth millions of US dollars in Italian waters, the Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA) says it will continue registering foreign ships.
Zanzibar was in the spotlight in recent months following 36 Iranian oil tankers flying the Tanzanian flag contrary to US, EU-led economic sanctions slapped on the country for its nuclear programme.
A ship named Gold Star, also registered by Zanzibar, was recently seized with a large amount of drugs off the Italian coast, raising alarm on how Zanzibar was not careful in licensing ships.
The ZMA director, Mr Abdi Omar Maalim, said here that his office would continue doing business with international ships, maintaining that the past saga had nothing to do with registration. "Some people are using the incidents to denigrade us," he lamented.
"We have been doing our work well according to international laws. The Iranian tankers and the Gold Star ship violated the terms of the agreement and all have since been deregistered.
We have to move on," Abdi emphasised. He said Philtex, the ZMA agent in Dubai, has been doing a good job, adding; "We are planning to open up ship registration branches in Singapore and Greece.
The business is good for our economy." Maalim said since the establishment of ZMA in 2009, it has managed to register 179 international ships and 207 vessels in the country, collecting thousands of US dollars in registration fees.
He said Zanzibar was currently the only country registering multiple international ships in the region, adding: "We have got to exploit the opportunity."