The Department of Marine Services is revising Marine Act

Lilongwe, The Department of Marine Services is in the process of revising the Malawi Inland Waters Shipping Act (1995).

The Director at the Department of Marine Services, Laston Makuzula, confirmed the development to Malawi News Agency on Wednesday, citing the increase in the number of people that use water transport as the main reason for the revision of the Act.

Makuzula said his department was finalizing drafting the amendments which will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice and Constitution Affairs for recommendations. He said the amended Act will then be sent to cabinet for debate and possibly will be passed into law.

He said the current Act has loopholes that make the water transportation system not to be fully utilized in the country.

The Department of Marine Services is a regulatory arm of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, and it is responsible for all matters relating to water transport as well as issues pertaining to the implementation of policies and directions sanctioned under various Regional and International Conventions and Protocols.

As such, the department has ratified a number of international conventions as well as regional protocols, he explained.

In addition, he said Malawi, through the Department of Marine Services, is a full member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1989 and the Port Management Association for Eastern and Southern Africa (PMEASA).

In this regard, he said Malawi has to have up-to-date legislative work that matches with its international affiliations.

Recently, Portuguese Industrial Conglomerate, Mota Engil, asked for improved regulatory framework to ensure that water transport service is not flooded with unseaworthy vessels which will create unfair competition.

The regulatory framework in water transport and its enforcement regime need to be improved in terms of professionalism and enforcement to deter unsafe vessels and illegal operations to flood the market.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA