Govt Drafting Omnibus Maritime Law Supported By Norway

The Philippines
and Norwegian governments have signed an agreement for the latter to provide a
$300,000 grant for the drafting of an omnibus maritime and merchant marine
modernization bill.
    Elena H.
Bautista, Transport undersecretary for maritime affairs, said the envisioned
bill will consolidate all existing maritime laws, and modernize them with the
incorporation of standards prescribed by the latest international conventions.
    Among
others, she said this effort should finally improve the safety standards of the
industry. “We want to show the world how serious we are in averting
maritime disasters in the country,” she said.
    She added
that the recent tragedy involving the sinking of the M/V Princess of the Stars,
and the public outcry it spawned, should ensure the smooth passage of the
envisioned bill in Congress.
    As part of
the agreement, the Philippines
received a $300,000 grant from the Norwegian government which will be used on
resources needed to draw up a comprehensive new law, including the hiring of
foreign maritime consultants, not necessarily from Norway.
    Norwegian
Ambassador to the Philippines Stale Torstein Risa said the grant would
“fund [research on] the entire spectrum of the maritime industry” of
the Philippines.
    Norway, itself considered a global
maritime power, employs about 32,000 of the 250,000 Filipino seafarers now
working abroad.

 

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