At the request of MPIIC Minister Charles Obichang through Palau Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Steven Kanai, the IMO Secretary General, Kitack, Lim granted the technical assistance to the Republic of Palau and sent a three-member Capacity Building Technical Mission to Palau from 2-6 July 2018.

The Mission was headed by Captain Nurur Rahman, and supported by a maritime lawyer, Attorney Brenda V Pimentel, and Pacific Community-IMO Technical Cooperation Officer, Mavis E. V. Joseph, who is also a maritime lawyer.

Their main mission was to assess Palau’s needs in developing a safe and effective maritime sector, and to assist Palau in getting prepared for IMO Member State Mandatory Audit due in November, 2019.

The local recipient of the grant assistance was the Palau Maritime Working Group, comprised of representatives from Bureau of Marine Law Enforcement, Division of Marine Transportation, Bureau of Communication, the Ship Registry, PALARIS, National Weather Service, EQPB, Division of Foreign Labor, and Chaired by the Palau Permanent Representative to the IMO, established under Executive Order 388 in 2016, which mandate is to “design and propose, under the guidance of MPIIC Minister, legal framework establishing Palau Maritime Administration in which all necessary components and functions of the Administration are directed toward full compliance with maritime laws of the Republic of Palau as well as instruments of International Maritime Organization to which Palau is a party.”

The Palau Maritime Working Group, accompanied by a team of lawyers from the Office of the President, House of Delegates, The Senate, and the Attorney General’s Office via EQPB,  held its meetings with the IMO Mission Team at the Palau International Coral reef Research Center Conference Room for the entire week, with a dinner reception at the Palau Royal Resort hosted by the Palau International Ship Registry, and a boat ride on the last day (Friday) to assess aids to navigation around Koror and its southern lagoon, made possible by the Bureau of Marine Law Enforcement and Division of Marine Transportation.

“The result of the Mission’s work with the Palau Maritime Working Group and the team of lawyers was a great success.  Now we can see very clearly thenecessary reforms in our maritime laws and organizational structure in order to strengthen our maritime sector as a Flag State, a Port State, and a Coastal State.  We are now more comfortable than ever in our preparation for the IMO Member State Mandatory Audit in November, 2019,” said Maritime Working Group Chairman Steven Kanai. (PR)