The Government is set to table in parliament a bill that will work as guideline in rescue operational activities for marine accidents to ensure accidents are attended to promptly, Minister for Infrastructure Harrison Mwakyembe has said.
He told The Guardian that the bill will enable marine transport stakeholders to know the importance of the rescue operations and what actions they should take whenever accidents occur.
Speaking in an inclusive interview in Dar es Salaam, Mwakyembe said the bill would be tabled during the parliamentary session scheduled for February next year, noting that there are discrepancies in the general understanding of marine rescue operations among stakeholders in the country.
The government’s decision has been prompted by marine accidents in the Indian Ocean involving MV Spice Islander in September 2011 and MV Skagit three weeks ago. Mwakyembe said Tanzania faces a big challenge because of lack proper understanding of the issue, coupled by absence modern rescue facilities.
He disclosed that his office was currently working with a team of local experts on important elements for inland and marine transport sectors.” I want to ward off all these obstacles which exist in the transport sector because of the improper guidelines.
“If there could be proper policies that are followed, many people would have been rescued on time from the scenes of accidents,” he said.
The minister was speaking during the official opening of the hangar house, an aircraft engineering workshop for Precision Air recently at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam.
In another development, Mwakyembe pledged to revive the operations of air transport sector which for years has been staggering for lack of effective control. He called on Tanzanians ‘to give him three month maximum’ to ensure the country has an effective Air Tanzania Company Ltd (ATCL) again, which he said had not been performing well owing to poor managerial skills.
ATCL has been in operation for about 35 years. “I have seen the need to work tirelessly to make sure ATCL comes back to normal operations as people would not be happy to see it collapse,” he said, asking the public to be patient and let him accomplish the task.
He stated that Tanzania’s air transport needs to be revamped to be able to compete with other international airlines operating in the country, with a view to promoting the national economy.
On contractual agreements which have hampered the entire air operations, he said currently his office was scrutinising and reviewing them to see if there are any irregularities that would be addressed.
He said the government shall not allow any further contractual agreements likely to endanger the entire operation.