President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. pushes for a bill that seeks to give teeth to Palau’s capability to implement provisions of international conventions, treaties, and agreements relating to maritime organization in which it is a signatory.
In his transmittal letter to the Palau National Congress, Remengesau expressed that there is a need to amend Titles 7 and 27 of the Palau National Code to be able to comply with the mandates of international agreements or treaties that the country has entered into.
Remengesau cited in his letter that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries, and Commerce (MPIC), the cabinet office responsible for the maintenance, operation, engineering, and design of government-owned facilities including land, sea, and air transportation and others, currently lacks legal authority over provisions of the international treaties signed by the country surrounding the subject.
“In order to ensure that Palau is able to fulfill its obligations under all of the international conventions, treaties, and agreements to which it is a party, it is necessary to amend Titles 2 and 7 of the Palau National Code,” Remengesau stated.
With the proposed bill, it is also suggested that the Division of Marine Transportation be made into a bureau.
The bill will give the MPIC a more specific power to supervise over all domestic and foreign vessels operating in Palau’s waters and those that call into Palau’s ports.
It also seeks to authorize MPIC to promulgate regulations that will ensure all vessels entering Palau’s territory follow the requirements set under international treaties that Palau has signed.
If the bill becomes a law, the MPIC will also be tasked to regulate and manage maritime transport sector, ensure safety and improvement of sea transportation systems and ancillary maritime services, and be “responsible for the oversight of the Palau International Ship Registry (PISR), and to promulgate policies relating to ports, harbors, waterways, shipping, and maritime qualifications, among others.
The House of Delegates, during its 10th special session held on February 18, had passed the bill on first reading. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)