To ensure safety of Sierra Leoneans at sea, the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) is hosting a workshop in Freetown in collaboration with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to discuss ways of improving maritime legislations.
The five -day event, which commenced on Monday, brought together stakeholders in the maritime sector to proffer recommendations on improving the efficacy of current legislations, drafting of new ones and protection of marine environment.
Mohamed S. Kamara, who spoke on behalf of the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma, underscored the potential value in the maritime domain.
According to him, the consequences would be devastating if the country's waters and resources were not protected.
He disclosed plans by the ministry to table before parliament ten Maritime Conventions for approval, with the International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue 1979 being one of them.
"We are mindful of the fact that no matter how much we can do by ourselves on the national level it is never enough. It is for the reason the minister offers his thanks and appreciation to the Secretary General of the IMO," he said.
Mr. Kamara expressed the ministry's delight for the tremendous technical assistance to it by the IMO in a bid that the country fully implements and complies with obligations under relevant International Maritime Convention.
He disclosed that they have secured the services of a consultant to review the SLMA Act of 2000 as amended, to draft regulations in support of the Merchant Shipping Act 2003 as amended, and a new Maritime Zone legislation.
In his remarks, Executive Director of SLMA, Wurroh Jalloh said: "The issue of legislation is not easy. We need to have the parliament and other people from international community to have it passed into law. There is a lot of improvement in the SLMA Act."