MACRA and the Department of Marine sign MOU

Lilongwe, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) and the Department of Marine Services under the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to ensure safety and security of passengers and goods that use water transport.

Speaking during the signing of the MOU on Tuesday in Lilongwe, Director for MACRA, Brian Itaye said communication system is critical in the water transport services where safety of passengers and goods is of paramount importance, adding that the MOU was aimed at ensuring efficiency of marine services.

Itaye said under the MOU, Macra will provide technical expertise to the Department of Marine Services to ensure that all ships should have wireless communication systems to communicate between vessels and shore.

He said most important was the use of radio communication for distress calling and emergency position, indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) and using Terrestrial or satellite services.

Under the MOU, MACRA and the Department of Marine Services will pull together their resources, both technical and financial, to enforce their respective acts for the improvement of services on Lake Malawi.

The fact that water transport is an important sector in Malawi is a valid reason for embracing ICTs in management and control of the vessels. The importance of water transportation system in Malawi is evidenced by the number of activities that take place on the lake, ranging from transportation of passengers and cargo, fishing activities as well as the sporting yachting marathons. All these rely on communication systems for navigation, he explained.

Director at the Department of Marine Services, Laston Makuzula, assured MACRA his department would make sure they implement all instructions in the MOU so that the outcome should be successful.

Makuzula pointed out that the Department of Marine Services is not mandated to provide radio spectrum in relation to the surveying, registration and licensing of maritime spectrum in Malawi.

In this regard, the MOU would harmonize such overlaps because MACRA has the power to provide Maritime Spectrum for safe operations of ships in Malawi.

Makuzula said the Department of Marine, being a signatory of different international bodies that regulate water transport, is required to have a functioning radio communication system as one of the safety aspects for safe navigation of ships. By signing the MOU, the department of Marine Services was fulfilling its international obligations.

The Department of Marine Services is prescribed in the Malawi Inland Waters Shipping Act which provides a legal framework for the water transport industry in Malawi.

The act empowers the department to ensure that all commercial vessels are registered, licensed and seaworthy; all ports and harbours are properly manned and secured and that all vessels manning requirements are met. The MOU will ensure that we meet all the guidelines as prescribed under the Malawi Inland Waters Shipping Act, he said

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA