From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Deputy Aviation Minister Blasts SLPA & Maritime Administration
By Bampia Bundu
Sep 28, 2010, 17:06

The Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation, Hon. Osmond Hanciles on Saturday, 25th September 2010 charged both the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) and the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA) for what he termed “negligence”.

He blasted both institutions during an address marking World Maritime Day at the British Council Auditorium at Tower Hill in Freetown which the two institutions were supposed to have jointly organized.

Hon. Hanciles noted that it was “gross negligence” on the part of the two institutions not to have sent any representative to the ceremony as it was supposed to be their responsibility to organize and commemorate what he called such a “wonderful day”. Senior officials of both institutions it was observed had abandoned the organization of the day’s commemoration in the hands of young and inexperienced Sierra Leone Maritime graduates. In his apparent anger blasted further, “It is shameful and a demonstration of sheer negligence of responsibility on the part of senior officials of both institutions to allow the young and inexperienced graduates to take the lead in celebrating such an important day,” he charged. He said even though the celebration could be done by government, it was the duty of those the day has direct impact on to be seeing taking the lead.

He informed that celebrating World Maritime Day started in 1978, and that it has since been recognized as a very important day, as it focuses on the activities of those that have to do with sea transport and management.

This year’s celebration is on the theme; ‘The Year of Seafarers 2010’ and it aims at addressing the problems and safety of seafarers. He disclosed that the International Maritime Organization (IOM) which is leading the celebration worldwide has outlined certain targets to effect and improve the standards of all seamen in the world.

Furthermore, the minister expressed dism
ay over the two key institutions-SLMA and SLPA- for not improving the career and standards of Maritime graduates. He expressed dismay in noting that there are over 300 sea vessels flying the Sierra Leone flag but only 5% of Sierra Leonean seafarers are being employed on those vessels. He however assured the young graduates of government’s support in enhancing their career and welfare.

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