MEMBERS of Parliament have unanimously endorsed the ratification of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel, 1995, which aims at further promoting safety of life and property at sea.
The convention seeks to protect the marine environment by establishing agreed international standards of training, certification and watch keeping for personnel employed in fishing vessels.
Tabling the convention, Minister for Energy, Dr Medard Kalemani, who represented Minister for Works, Transport and Communications, Mr Isack Kamwelwe, said by ratifying the convention, Tanzania would join 33 other countries which were members of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that had so far ratified it.
“This convention aims at administering training and quality of certificates offered to 24-metre long fishing vessel personnel, both local and expatriates,” the minister said.
The minister noted that as of 1994, fishing was perceived as one of the risky jobs globally as it caused deaths at an average of 24,000 seafarers yearly.
This was 10 times of the deaths caused by merchant ships.
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), until 1977, it was observed that seafarers were spending more hours at work without taking into consideration of working conditions and tools.
The ministers said this was a result of lack of inspectors and trained assessors on fishing vessels.
Dr Kalemani said the ratification of the convention would allow training institutions to offer globally recognised deep sea fishing training and certificates at local colleges located in Bagamoyo in the Coast Region, Nyegezi in Mwanza, Kibirizi in Kigoma Rorya-Mara and Mikindani in Mtwara.
The minister further emphasised that delays in ratifying the convention were denying Tanzanian seafarers qualifications to be employed by international seafaring organisations.